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MSL-BC® Development Timeline

March 2017

The MSL Society conducted the first phase of a Job Task Analysis (JTA) initiative to identify specific job duties and requirements for MSL professionals. Utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the field, as well as expert guidance from a Psychometrician employed by a professional testing organization, we met in person to create a content outline for the certification examinations by means of thorough consideration and identification of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual in the field of medical science should demonstrate regardless of employer type, therapeutic area of concentration, or geographic location. The JTA is a process which contributes to test validity by ensuring that the critical aspects of the job become the domain of content which the test measures. During this first phase of the JTA, a list of job-related tasks was generated and refined.


December 2017

Phase two of the JTA involved validation of the list of job-related tasks defined in phase one, by a broader group of SMEs representative of the overall occupation through a validation survey process. Individuals who participated in the survey indicated whether or not they agreed that each job task listed is actually used in the field, as well as whether the listed activities are important to the job, and how frequently they are conducted as part of the job. After survey responses are received and the survey was closed, the data was carefully analyzed by a group of SMEs to determine what the examination should specifically measure with regard to on-the-job competency areas, which were then built into the examination program’s test specifications.


February 2018

The MSL Society hosted two back-to-back in-person meetings where in the first session SMEs wrote the actual questions that will be used for the official MSL certification examination, based on the feedback of the validation survey, and the second session was to review the newly written questions. Both meetings resulted in the creation of what is referred to as an Examination Blueprint. 

March 2018

Exam Question Webinar Review:
Following the Item Review meeting, a 3-hour webinar was held with those in attendance of the Exam Question Writing and Review Meetings to review and approve the final MSL-BC® exam questions.


May 2018 - July 2019

Learning Management System:
The last step has been a lengthy process to identify and develop the technology to administer the exam. We began working with Crowd Wisdom, an LMS developer to develop the software to support the MSL-BC® for online live proctored exam. This was completed in July 2019 and we are now launching the pilot program.


July 2019 - November 2019

Pilot Exam:
A total of 68 MSLs and MSL leaders from 8 countries completed the exam under the same conditions as expected on the official exam. The exam was proctored remotely and live through ProctorU. Participant backgrounds included a wide range of years of experience, varying levels of education, and represented pharma, biotech, medical device and other healthcare companies.

November 2019

Standard Setting Score:
The Standard Setting Study was conducted on November 8, 2019 and led by a psychometrician with a group of MSLs and MSL leaders who had previously participated in either the Item Writing or Item Review Meetings. During the Standard Setting Study, all items on the examination were systematically discussed and evaluated based on the typical minimally qualified candidate which ultimately determined the final passing score.

February 2020

The MSL Society launched the first-ever professional board certification for MSLs and MSL Leaders – The Medical Science Liaison-Board Certification (MSL-BC®).