Role & Function Study

Role & Function Study 

To ensure that the CDMS certification examination content continues to cover the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent practice, the Commission for Case Manager Certification (the Commission) conducts a Role & Function Study (job task analysis) every five years.

This is an evidence-based research study of the knowledge, skills, and activities disability management specialists are performing in the field. The Commission validates and improves the CDMS® certification exam with data from this study to ensure it is reflective of the current state of disability management as a practice.


The last CDMS Role & Function Study was conducted in 2019. The study commenced with bringing together CDMS subject matter experts (SME) and staff from the Commission and the certification examination testing company, Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. (SMT) for a facilitated workshop in Tampa. SMEs participated in preliminary research which included the review of the current task/competency list and development of a survey rating scale and demographic questions. SMT used the results and input from the SMEs to develop an online survey.

The research was conducted via online survey deployment from February 1, 2020, through August 31, 2020. The Commission extended the deadline to participate in the CDMS Role and Function Study through the end of August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission’s goal was to reach a representative sample of disability management specialists to identify the essential activities and important knowledge areas required to effectively perform in this role. The invitation to participate in the survey and the notices of the extension were sent out to CDMS certificants and non-certified disability management professionals. Participation was conducted through an online survey which was designed to define the practice of a minimally-competent, entry-level disability management specialist and create a blueprint for developing the Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS) examination. All respondents were required to currently be working in the field of disability management. Data collected from the survey were analyzed to:

  • Develop a profile of the CDMS and the environment in which they practice
  • Identify essential tasks within practice domains and the importance of being able to perform the task competently
  • Review assigned weights to each of the four practice domains and determine the distribution of content on the exam
  • Uncover additional tasks or knowledge that were identified by the respondents
  • The Role & Function Study is conducted to validate the essential competencies required for practice by a board-certified disability management specialist (CDMS). The 2019 Role & Function Study did not identify any new content tasks as defined in the four knowledge domains. However, it did eliminate two (2) tasks and based on the decisions of the SME panel and research results, the CDMS content outline and weight distribution was updated to reflect different weights for each content domain as shown below. 

  • In addition, the length of the CDMS examination will be shortened from 175 to 150 items  of which 125 will be scored. 

The Board of Commissioner approved the new blue print based on the CDMS Test Development Committee’s recommendation in January, 2021. The new blue print will be implemented during the March 2021 CDMS exam administration and therefore, candidates will NOT receive immediate pass/no pass notification at the exam center. Delayed notification regarding exam candidates’ results is in alignment with certification best practices related to the implementation of a new exam blueprint.

A standard-setting study is conducted whenever a new exam blueprint is introduced to establish a
cut score for the exam. A cut score for the exam is used to determine the pass/no pass delineation. Therefore, it is necessary to wait until all candidates who test in the March 2021 administration have completed their exam.

New CDMS Exam Blueprint