Archive for APR

2015-2016 APRs & CPRCs

Congratulations to the FPRA members who received credentials this year*!
*as of the FPRA 78th Annual Conference

2015 – 2016 APRS

  • Ginger Broslat, APR (Ocala Chapter)
  • Cristina Calvet Harrold, APR (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Rebecca Crisafulli, APR (Space Coast Chapter)
  • Alayna Curry, APR (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Francesca Donlan, APR (Southwest Florida Chapter)
  • Julie Primrose Hall, APR (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Dayna Harpster, APR (Southwest Florida Chapter)
  • Rhonda Leiberick, APR (Central West Coast Chapter)
  • Alyson Lundell, APR (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Laurie Michaelson, APR (Gainesville Chapter)
  • Randall Mitchelson, APR (Southwest Florida Chapter)
  • Leslie A. Moland, APR (Northwest Florida Chapter)
  • Joanna Newton, APR (Tampa Bay Chapter)
  • Gabrielle O’Boyle, APR (Southwest Florida Chapter)
  • Jenn Petion, APR (Gainesville Chapter)
  • Stephanie Pettis, APR (Northwest Florida Chapter)
  • Scott Schroeder, APR (Gainesville Chapter)
  • Tiffany Whitaker, APR (Southwest Florida Chapter)

2015 – 2016 CPRCs

  • Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC (Ocala Chapter)
  • Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC (Ocala Chapter)
  • Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC (Ocala Chapter)
  • John Fleming, APR, CPRC (Capital Chapter)
  • Barbra Hernandez, APR, CPRC (Tampa Bay Chapter)
  • Jordan Jacobs, APR, CPRC (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Alyson Lundell, APR, CPRC (Orlando Area Chapter)
  • Chad McLeod, APR, CPRC (Tampa Bay Chapter)
  • Karen Morgan, APR, CPRC (Tampa Bay Chapter)
  • Jay Morgan-Schleuning, APR, CPRC (Capital Chapter)
  • Gordon Paulus, APR, CPRC (Pensacola Chapter)

FPRA 78th Annual Conference – Agenda for Monday, August 8

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Monday, August 8

7:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration Desk Open, Stirling Hall Foyer

7:40 a.m. – 8:25 a.m. Past Presidents’ Council Meeting, Stirliing Boardroom

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome, Annual Meeting and APR & CPRC Recognition, Stirling Ballroom

9:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Opening Session: Leadership + Communications: The New Competitive Advantage, Stirling Ballroom

10:25 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. Breakout Sessions 1A – 1D, Stirling Salons

10:25 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. Counselors’ Network Session 1, Salons H-G

11:45 a.m. – 1:35 p.m. Presidents’ Luncheon, Stirling Ballroom

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions 2A – 2D, Stirling Salons

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Fireside Chat: Communications Professionals: The North Star of Any Organization, Stirling Ballroom

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. State Board Meeting,Salons K-I

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m Live Music and Networking,Market Salamander Grille

Click here for map of InnisBrook property.

Click here for map of conference venue.

2016 Welcomes an Updated APR Exam

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Considering becoming Accredited in Public Relations (APR)? No better time than 2016! Getting your APR shows your commitment to the PR profession, designates you as a competent PR leader, gives you an opportunity to challenge yourself and provides you with a professional designation that can be meaningful to both current and future employers.

The APR process, especially the computer-based Exam, is always being tweaked – but every several years, a major review takes place. This review was just completed and resulted in some important realignments starting in 2016. The good news? The updates mean you’re being assessed on a streamlined set of objectives more relevant to your daily practice.

 

Two-step process

There are two main steps to becoming an APR: a Readiness Review (RR) and a computer-based Exam (CBE). The Readiness Review is an opportunity for APR candidates to present a comprehensive PR plan in a portfolio format to a panel of three APRs. The CBE is a multiple-choice Exam of about 140 questions that assesses the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in various areas. All of this work is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which includes representatives from eight PR associations – including FPRA – that banded together in 1998 to offer the universally accepted APR professional credential.

For the past year, the UAB has been comparing what PR practitioners actually do with what is assessed on the CBE. The result was a realignment of the KSAs to better reflect what we, as PR professionals, face every day. For the past several years, the KSAs fell into ten categories, with 43 learning objectives. Starting in 2016, the KSAs will cover six categories with a total of 31 learning objectives.

 

Differences in Organization and Emphasis

There’s quite a bit of overlap between the older KSAs and the 2016 update, but they are organized and emphasized a little differently. The 2016 Exam assess KSAs in these proportions: RACE or RPIE (33%); Leading the Public Relations Function (18%); Managing Relationships (15%); Ethics/Law (13%); Managing Issues and Crisis Communications (13%); Understanding Communications Models, Theories and History of the Profession (8%).

Because of this update to the KSAs, Exam questions needed to be revised to ensure they covered all the right areas in the proper proportion. This revision process was quite extensive, field-testing dozens of new Exam questions through a Beta Exam process, engaging the expertise of a psychometrician, and hours of analysis and review by various UAB work groups. This summer, more than 100 PR professionals around the country took the Beta Exam, which included both old and new questions – and many more questions than are typically on the CBE. Those Beta results were analyzed and the result was the updated Exam, which will launch in 2016. Many thanks to the PR professionals who went through the Beta process so this update could become a field-tested reality, including 5 FPRA members who received their APR as a result.

 

Steps to Follow

If you feel you’re ready to take the next step in your professional development by pursuing your APR, here’s what to do:

  1. Submit an application to the UAB with the $385 fee (FPRA provides a $100 rebate to candidates who sit for the exam (and pass) within 30 days of completing the Readiness Review or the chapter’s APR study session). You have one year from acceptance of your application to complete the entire process, so wait to apply until you are ready. You must be a professional member of FPRA (or one of the other UAB organizations) to get your APR.
  2. Study – with a cohort, online, with a mentor, using resources offered through FPRA and the UAB.
  3. Schedule and participate in the Readiness Review, where you submit information in advance and present a comprehensive PR plan in-person to a panel of three APRs. They ask you questions to assess your knowledge, skills and abilities that cannot be judged in the computer-based Examination.
  4. Complete the computer-based Exam. This multiple choice, taken at a professional testing facility in your area, Exam uses questions and scenarios to assess six areas considered critical for public relations professionals.
  5. To maintain your APR, you must complete a maintenance form every three years outlining your professional activities, pay a $50 fee and remain a member of one of the participating organizations.

 

When You’re Ready…

APR is considered the professional credential for public relations practitioners. Its purpose is to unify and advance the public relations profession by identifying those who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgment in the field. When you are at a point in your career when you have served as a strategic communications advisor, have a broad range of knowledge and skills, and are ready to prepare for an oral presentation and computer-based exam to demonstrate your PR knowledge, skills and abilities – pursue your APR!

Detailed information about the process is available at www.praccreditation.org. To find out more about FPRA support options, contact your chapter’s Accreditation Chair or Vice President of Accreditation and Certification Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC, at rgerds@rtix.com.

Congratulations new APRs!

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Congratulations to the following public relations professionals who earned professional public relations accreditation and received the designation of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR):

 

Francesca DonlanFrancesca Donlan, APR
Communications Manager
Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau
Southwest Florida Chapter

 

 

 

Dayna HarpsterDayna Harpster, APR
Editor of Expressions Magazine
WGCU Public Media at Florida Gulf Coast University
Southwest Florida Chapter

 

 

 

Jenn PetionJenn Petion, APR
Director of Community and Government Relations
Partnership for Strong Families
Gainesville Chapter

 

 

 

Scott SchroederScott Schroeder, APR
Vice President of Operations
Liquid Creative Studio
Gainesville Chapter

 

 

 

Tiffany WhitakerTiffany Whitaker, APR
Director of Business Development and Client Services
Pushing the Envelope, Inc.
Southwest Florida Chapter

 

 

 

Accreditation is offered through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) to members of participating organizations, including FPRA. Though five years of public relations practice was previously required, ALL members are eligible regardless of years of experience. However, the objective, multiple-choice, computer exam does test a variety of knowledge, skills and abilities, so members interested in seeking accreditation need to be prepared in a variety of skill areas.

For more information on Accreditation and Certification, as well as any available chapter or State Association rebates, please contact your local Accreditation and Certification Chair or Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC, VP Accreditation/Certification at rgerds@rtix.com.

Demystifying the APR Computer-Based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations: From Blueprint to Publication

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“The Examination is outdated!”

Have you heard that? Thought it? Said it? All of the above? We have too. “We” being the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB); and we have begun the very lengthy process to significantly update the Examination to ensure that all questions are current, relevant to the profession, accurate and valid. I’ll walk you through the process of how we are doing that, but first let me dispel the misconception that the Examination hasn’t been updated in years. We actually update the Examination in small ways throughout the year. More on that in a minute.

Let me start with the framework for the questions. We have a document called the blueprint. The blueprint lists each of the KSAs — the areas of knowledge, skills and abilities — that a candidate needs to successfully pass the Examination. And each of the KSAs has specific learning objectives — specific statements about what we are going to ask a candidate in this area.

For example, under the current KSA of RPIE, one of the learning objectives is Audience Identification and Communication. What we are trying to determine here is if the candidate can identify appropriate audiences and the opinions, beliefs, attitudes, cultures and values of each, and if the candidate can prioritize and properly sequence communications to different audiences.

Under the current KSA of Ethics and Law, one of the learning objectives is Integrity. Here the questions are going to be written to determine if the candidate recognizes and deals professionally with ethical and legal issues.

The current blueprint has 10 KSAs and a total of 43 objectives. Each objective has approximately three to five questions on the Examination. The proposed changes reduce the number of KSAs to six, and once approved, the number of objectives also could be reduced; however, the number of questions on the Examination will fluctuate very little, if at all.

Once we know what areas are going to be tested, we begin the process of item-writing, literally soliciting potential Examination questions. We seek input from subject matter experts and invite them to submit potential questions. In the past, questions were submitted by “the usual suspects” — current and former UAB members, those who had participated in the past, and Accredited friends and colleagues that we persuaded into volunteering a few hours of their time. In an effort to expand this pool of usual suspects, we’ve put a link on the Mentors/Teach section of the UAB website (PRAccreditation.org) that allows all practitioners to submit potential questions.

Item-writing sounds easier than it is, which perhaps is why the group willing to participate has remained small over the years. Each question needs to be supported through a reference in one of the books on our bookshelf. That not only validates the questions, but ensures that each question can be legally defended if we ever were challenged by someone who didn’t pass the Examination. To defend a question and its answer by saying, “Well, everyone knows that,” doesn’t quite cut it.

Once questions are written, they go through a technical review process. We assemble a panel of six to eight APRs to review each question and the answer options. We want to ensure that each question meets its objective; that it is clear and unambiguous, that it is challenging enough so that a person who is qualified to pass the Examination will answer it correctly, but a person who is not qualified to pass the Examination usually will not answer it right. We want to ensure that the correct answer is clearly right and the wrong answers are clearly wrong but not implausible. If a particular answer is too ridiculously incorrect, then no one will choose it. Likewise, providing choices with two answers that both could be right would not make a good question.

Each technical review session is booked for two hours, and we typically complete four to six questions per hour. (If this interests you, the volunteer line forms to the right.)

Once the questions are written and reviewed, they go into the testing cycle as beta questions. About a quarter of the Examination’s questions in any administration are in the beta phase. The candidate answers the question, but the answer — right or wrong — does not factor into his or her final score, because we don’t know yet if it is a statistically valid question. Of the 194 questions on the current Examination, there are 54 beta questions.

After at least 100 administrations of the Examination, our psychometrician conducts an in-service analysis of the entire Examination to provide statistics on how each question scored. The technical review panels are convened again to review the beta questions, but this time we have statistics behind them. For example, if few of the people who passed the Examination got a particular question correct, then that question is probably poorly structured or simply too hard; or if many of the candidates who failed the Examination got a particular question right, it’s probably too easy; or if most of the candidates who took the Examination did not select answer option D for a given question, that could be a bad distractor or a bad wrong answer. The technical review team might tweak the question a little bit — make the wrong answers more wrong, the right answers more clearly right, reword it entirely or throw out the question.

If a question is edited enough to influence how the next candidate would answer it (more than just making AP Style or similar corrections), it goes back into cycle again as a beta question. If it tests well, it can become a scored question.

This process of statistical validation occurs after at least 100 individual administrations of the Examination for all questions, not just the betas. A question that could have tested well for years, and many 100-application cycles, could begin to show poor results, perhaps because it’s no longer relevant or the aspect of the profession that it addresses has changed to the point that the question no longer is accurate. That question would be flagged for the technical review and be subject to revision. This is what I referenced when I mentioned early on that we do review and update the Examination in small ways on an ongoing basis. The Examination is always in a state of review and revision and being updated in small ways.

So if the Examination is always in a state of review and revision, what’s the excitement about this year?

The excitement is that we are proposing fundamental changes to the KSAs for the first time. When the KSAs change, the objectives must be revised. When the objectives change, all the existing questions must be realigned with new objectives so that their statistics match. Some questions might not align with a new objective, so they would need to be eliminated. And there could be new objectives that don’t have enough questions in the bank, so they would need new questions.

In addition to this realignment, the UAB’s Examination work group conducted an exhaustive review last summer of all of the scored questions to determine if they are current, relevant and accurate. Many that have been testing well were determined to need updating or serious rewriting; and when we make changes to a question, we’re back to beta (see above).

We’re talking about a significant number of new questions being offered this year, and with considerably more than one-fourth of the Examination having new, untested questions, we’re no longer looking at the existing Examination. We’re looking at an entirely new Examination, which translates to a full-on beta.

So once we get to this point of having a full beta Examination, we submit that new Examination to the testing center, which needs 90 days to prepare it for testing. This is called the publishing phase. Once it’s been published, we need another cycle of 100 candidates to take the beta Examination. Unlike the “regular” Examination in which none of the candidates have earned their APR, we need about 50 already-Accredited candidates to take the beta Examination to help validate the questions. Once we’ve completed the 100-application cycle, our psychometrician conducts another in-service analysis, we convene new technical review panels and tweak the questions, and we republish. Again. In between these phases, we also set the cut score, which is the threshold at which we determine what will be a passing score.

During the beta-test phase, the current Examination still will be available for candidates to take. Once the beta Examination is ready to be republished as the new APR Examination, we will have a temporary blackout window in which the Examination will not be available. This likely will be in the fourth quarter of 2015.

There are considerable steps in the process, some of which are controlled by the UAB (item-writing, technical reviews) and some which are not (in-service analysis, publishing). We’ve set an ambitious goal of having all of this completed in 2015 so that a new Examination can be ready by January 2016. And this just covers the Examination itself. In order for candidates sitting for the new Examination to prepare adequately, we need to update our study guide, the online course, Accreditation chair resources, and so on …

Hopefully I’ve demystified at least a few aspects of the Examination for you and shed some light on why we can’t just put out a new Examination sooner than 2016. In the event I’ve gone further and inspired the writer/editor in you to want to be part of the item-writing or technical review processes, please let me know. The invitation is open, and the UAB welcomes you to participate in this process.

 

Kathleen M. Giery, APR, CPRC
Chair, Universal Accreditation Board Examination Work Group
gieryk@lifequest.ufl.edu