National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


Crane Operators Respond to Nationwide Survey

Fifth in a series profiling NCCCO Test Integrity

December 2011 - Crane operators around the country are confirming that the content of CCO written examinations is relevant to their daily work and a fair reflection of the tasks they are asked to perform on a regular basis

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is in the process of surveying mobile, tower, and overhead crane operators to ensure that the content of CCO written certification exams reflects today’s safety issues and regulatory requirements. NCCCO is undertaking this process proactievly as a means of validating the integrity of its exams and to identify any adjustments that may be necessary to reflect the current industry environment.

The NCCCO Written Exam (Mobile Crane), Tower Crane, and Overhead Crane Exam Management Committees each developed more than 70 survey questions. NCCCO made the Job Task Analysis (JTA) surveys available on-line to thousands of crane operators, including both those who are CCO certified and others knowledgeable about current industry conditions.

To date, more than 2,000 crane operators have responded to the survey. “We are absolutely delighted with this response,” said NCCCO Program Manager, Joel Oliva, noting that this represented a rate of over 30%. “And the comments received are overwhelmingly positive and constructive.” The questions ask respondents to rate how important each knowledge area covered by CCO exams is to safe crane operations and how frequently they use this knowledge.

To keep pace with changes in the industry, NCCCO conducts JTAs for each of its certification programs every five to eight years; this is the third time NCCCO has gone through the JTA process for CCO mobile crane operator exams and the second time for CCO tower crane operator and overhead crane operator exams. NCCCO is currently analyzing the thousands of survey responses and reviewing the data obtained with the appropriate exam management committees.


The first step in this analysis is to assign each knowledge area a “criticality number” calculated by multiplying the importance rating by two and adding to it the frequency rating. This criticality rating is key to determining whether the number of questions in each content domain is appropriate or if the makeup of the exams needs to be updated.

“The committees of subject matter experts will then make final decisions as to what adjustments, if any, are necessary,” says Oliva. “In that case, new questions will be added to the exams as appropriate and outdated questions will be retired.”

Read the other stories in this series:

NCCCO Audit Process Puts Examiners to the Test

NCCCO Management Committees Continually Monitor Test Performance Statistics

CCO Code of Ethics Reflects Certificants' Commitment to Safety

NCCCO Commissioners Represent Diverse Industry Stakeholders