The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) recently worked with a certification expert to develop a construct statement for the ABPD initial certification process. A construct statement defines the trait(s) that cannot be directly observed but are assessed by an examination within a credentialing program.1 Construct statements are valuable because they give clear direction to all aspects of the certification program, but especially to what is to be assessed by the certification examinations and to the fundamental considerations in their development and use. The following is the construct statement for ABPD’s initial certification: 

“The ABPD initial certification process assesses the habitual and thoughtful use of specialized knowledge and skills, clinical reasoning, communication, and professionalism required of entry-level pediatric dentists for safe and effective practice to benefit the individuals, families, and communities served.”

After the construct statement was approved by the ABPD Board of Directors, ABPD policies and procedures surrounding initial certification and examination development were evaluated for inconsistencies with the construct statement. ABPD will be making updates to the policies and procedures to ensure the construct statement is supported. ABPD will continue to use this construct statement to guide the initial certification process and will develop another construct statement to evaluate the current continuing certification process and guide its changes. 

The use of a construct statement by ABPD for both initial certification and continuing certification reinforces ABPD’s commitment to excellence through a certification process that inspires lifelong learning and supports ABPD’s mission that every child, every adolescent, and every individual with special needs deserves quality care.


1 ICE Terminology Task Force. (2020). Basic Guide to Credentialing Terminology, 2nd Ed. Washington, DC: Institute for Credentialing Excellence.