Applied Knowledge Assessment

ICMA co-developed the assessment to help members and others assess their knowledge for the purpose of professional development planning.

The first guideline to Tenet 8 of the ICMA Code of Ethics commits members to routinely assess their professional skills and abilities. To help members fulfill this responsibility, ICMA partnered with the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University to develop the Applied Knowledge Assessment.  This instrument was developed for the local government management profession and is based on the ICMA Practices for Effective Local Government Leadership. It is designed to identify professional strengths and pinpoint opportunities for professional development.

What Can You Tell Me about the Assessment?

The Applied Knowledge Assessment is required before you complete the credentialing application; you are also welcome to complete it even if you do not plan to apply for the credential. It is made up of multiple-choice questions that tap your knowledge of local government principles and practices and your ability to apply them to management situations. The assessment is not a test. There is no passing or failing score. It simply provides feedback to guide you as you structure a continuing professional development program. You complete the assessment online and receive immediate results showing the overall score, the score for each core content area, and, for comparison, the mean scores of a large number of individuals who have completed the instrument.

How Does This Assessment Relate to the Voluntary Credentialing Program?

The first step in the voluntary credentialing process is to complete the Applied Knowledge Assessment. Note that you will be asked to create a profile and establish an Assessment login and password, which are different from your ICMA login and password.

How Is This Different from the Multi-rater Assessment Requirement of the Voluntary Credentialing Program?

To maintain the ICMA credential, members must complete a different assessment (a multi-rater assessment) at least once every five years. The first one is due five years after entering the Voluntary Credentialing Program. 

Credentialed Managers have the option of 1) choosing from a list of preapproved multi-rater assessment tools; or 2) completing another multi-rater assessment of their own choosing. If a manager does want to choose his or her own assessment, information on the assessment tool selected can be sent to for pre-approval.

These two elements are important to the pre-approval process:

Please be aware that the list of preapproved assessments is not an indication of endorsement. It is simply a list of assessments for which members have already received approval and no further review is required. If you would like to use a different one or need assistance in developing an "in-house" instrument, please contact

How Do I Submit Completion of the Multi-rater Assessment for the Credentialing Requirement?

Upon completion of the assessment, send an email to that includes the name of the assessment tool used, the date of completion, and the job functions of the participants (direct reports, support staff, supervisor, etc.).

How Much Do They Cost?

For members and ELDP applicants, the ICMA Applied Knowledge Assessment costs $75. For non-members, it costs $125.

Multi-rater assessment prices vary, and multi-rater assessments are not sold by ICMA.

How Was the Applied Knowledge Assessment Developed?

The Applied Knowledge Assessment was developed by ICMA and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, with extensive involvement of members. During the year-long development period, ICMA members in several parts of the country participated in a series of focus groups to help craft questions for the Applied Knowledge Assessment. In addition, 250 members participated in the validation of that assessment by mail or in person at the Orlando annual conference.

How Many People Have Taken these Assessments?

Since the Applied Knowledge Assessment became available in the summer of 1999, over 5100 members and others have purchased it.

How Can State Associations Use AKA Results?

State associations can request a state summary of AKA results by contacting These aggregate summaries help states plan professional development activities for their members.

If you have further questions concerning the assessment instruments, email


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