July 2011 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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July 2011 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A. General questions about NIC program enhancements
B. The first step: NIC Interview and Performance Examination scoring format enhancements
C. About the NIC, advanced levels and specialty credentials
D. The NIC exams, tentatively called NIC I and NIC II
E. Employment- and client-related questions
F. Taking the NIC examination

A. General questions about NIC program enhancements

Q-A1.  Why is RID making changes to the NIC?
A-A1. In late 2009, the NAD-RID NIC Task Force convened to conduct a comprehensive review of the NIC program. This review was initiated to look at all aspects of the certification system and determine if there are psychometrically sound alternative approaches that are feasible, practical, and supportable; to identify changes necessary to keep up with ever-evolving best certification practices; and to address specific concerns expressed by members, the Deaf community and other stakeholders regarding the NIC program.

As a result of extensive research and evaluation, the Task Force developed a series of recommendations that were approved by both the NAD and RID Boards of Directors. These recommendations provide for a multi-phase enhancement process to keep the NIC current, reliable, valid, and relevant for practitioners, the Deaf community and other consumers of interpreting services.

Q-A2. How will this be better than the current NIC? 
A-A2. The enhanced credentials will allow for greater accuracy in the assignment of interpreters and consumers, and reflect the significant changes that have taken place in the interpreting profession and Deaf community during the past 10 years.

The new scoring system being implemented this fall will increase scoring consistency and allow RID to provide NIC Interview and Performance Examination results substantially faster. Implementing technological advances and streamlining administrative processes will increase the validity and reliability of the scoring process and reduce exam scoring time, and it is expected that these changes will resolve the concerns raised about the clarity, consistency, reliability, and speed of NIC Interview and Performance Examination scoring.

An enhanced NIC credential will represent the state-of-the-art in certification strategy and technology and reflect current realities and demands in the profession and Deaf community since the NIC Knowledge exam was first offered.

B. The first step: NIC interview and Performance Examination scoring format enhancements

Q-B1. How will this be better than the current NIC? 
A-B1. After two years of extensive research and evaluation, the NIC Task Force developed a series of recommendations that were approved by both the NAD and RID Boards of Directors. These recommendations provide for a multi-phase enhancement process to keep the NIC current, reliable, valid, and relevant for practitioners, the Deaf community and other consumers of interpreting services.

The first step in implementing those recommendations is an enhancement to the NIC Interview and Performance Examination scoring format. New scoring techniques and technologies will be applied to current exam content for increased scoring accuracy, reliability, and speed. This enhancement will include awarding a single-level NIC credential to candidates who attain a certain overall score. This is being done to move toward the goal of greater clarity to the meaning of the NIC credential.

Q-B2. Will the NIC Advanced and NIC Master credentials be awarded once the new NIC scoring process is implemented?
A-B2. In keeping with certification best practices, only one certification should be granted per exam. Attaining certification demonstrates an individual’s ability to meet a specific level of competence. Therefore, best practices indicate that only one certification should be earned with each exam.

The NIC enhancements process will begin with an initial profession-wide survey to assess areas of specialization in interpreting. This will be followed by a larger, comprehensive Job Task Analysis (JTA) survey. The results of these studies will guide the development of two new exams, tentatively called the NIC I and NIC II. These exams will assess candidates at an entry level and a higher level, respectively, and will form the basis for certification at these levels. Specialty examinations designed to assess specialized knowledge and skills will be developed in the future, based on the results of the pre-JTA survey.

Q-B3. How will the single-level NIC awarded after the new scoring format is implemented compare to the NIC, NIC Advanced Will the NIC Advanced and NIC Master previously awarded?
A-B3. Changing the NIC to a single-level exam will move toward the goal of greater clarity to the meaning of the NIC credential. This will allow for greater accuracy in the assignment of interpreters and consumers, and reflect the significant changes that have taken place in the interpreting profession and Deaf community during the past 10 years. This is just the first step in the NIC enhancements process.

Q-B4. I currently hold the NIC Advanced/NIC Master. How does the new single-level NIC credential affect my certification? Will I keep my certification when the single-level scoring goes into effect?
A-B4. For now, there will be no change to the current credentials you hold when the new, single-level NIC credential is implemented. You will retain those credentials as long as you meet the requirements of the Certification Maintenance Program.

Q-B5. With the shift to the single-level NIC, I’m concerned that consumers will question the qualification of my NIC Advanced/NIC Master. How can I explain the change in credentials awarded by RID?
A-B5. Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing consumers, as well as those in and connected to the interpreting field, will benefit from credentials that more accurately represent the skill level of those who hold the credential.

The upcoming changes to the NIC credentials will allow for greater accuracy in the assignment of interpreters and consumers, and reflect the significant changes that have taken place in the interpreting profession and Deaf community during the past 10 years.

C. About the NIC, advanced levels and special credentials

Q-C1. Some of my clients have commented that all the different interpreter certifications are very confused to them. Is there any plan to address this as part of the new NIC program? 
A-C1. The NIC Task Force has recommended that a review be conducted in the long term to consider a transition or consolidation of older RID certifications and labels to a select few newer certifications, but this is farther down the road and will require greater member-wide feedback related to this recommendation.

Q-C2. What will happen to the current specialist certifications, (Specialty Certificate: Legal and Speciality Certificate: Performing Arts), in the new NIC paradigm? 
A-C2. For now, there are no plans to change the current RID credentials, including specialty certifications.

RID is beginning the enhancement process by updating the NIC credentials and examinations. The results of both the pre-JTA and JTA will provide the direction needed to update existing specialty certifications and/or develop new specialty credentials.

Q-C3. Will any new speciality certifications be introduced? 
A-C3. Specialty examinations designed to assess specialized knowledge and skills will be developed in the future and will be determined from the initial profession-wide survey (pre-JTA) assessing areas of specialization in interpreting, which will be launched shortly after the RID national conference.

D. The NIC exams, tentatively called NIC I and NIC II

Q-D1. When RID begins single-level scoring, will they be using a new NIC exam format? How will it be different from the current exam? 
A-D1. There will be some minor changes to the examination administration process; however, LTAs and examination candidates will be given clear direction about such changes in advance of the exam administration. These changes will not affect how you study for the exam. Implementing technological advances and streamlining administrative processes will increase the validity and reliability of the scoring process. The scoring revisions will take advantage of new testing techniques and technologies to increase the accuracy and reliability of the scoring process and ensure that all scores reflect the competency of applicants.

The exam content will remain the same. However, the new scoring process being implemented will include an improved scoring algorithm, continuous rater monitoring, reduced potential for bias in scoring, and faster score turnaround.

Q-D1. How and when will the NIC Interview and Performance Examination content change? 
A-D1. An initial profession-wide survey assessing areas of specialization in interpreting will be launched shortly following the RID national conference. This will be followed by a comprehensive Job Task Analysis (JTA) survey to gather and evaluate data in order to analyze the interpreting field’s current practices in order to identify core knowledge areas, essential work functions, and required skills. It may examine tools, equipment, and materials used on the job, and important interpreter behaviors essential for success.

As part of the crucial Job Task Analysis that will shape future NIC enhancements, RID will survey thousands of RID members, non-member interpreters, representatives from the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing communities, and others. The results of this survey will help define the content of future examinations.

The results of these two surveys will guide the development of the RID certification program, including two new exams, tentatively titled NIC I and NIC II. The NIC I would identify interpreters with entry level skills and the NIC II would identify interpreters with a higher level of skill. Specialty examinations designed to assess specialized knowledge and skills will be developed in the future.

Throughout the NIC enhancements process, RID will seek guidance and input from subject matter experts from the interpreter and Deaf communities.

As developments progress, RID will continually assist stakeholders in understanding and addressing the enhancements to the NIC program by focusing on greater communications and education about the NIC exam and the certification program overall.

Q-D4. I’ve heard that RID will be able to provide exam results more quickly in the future? How much faster? What will make that possible? 
A-D4. The new scoring process being implemented this fall, which will incorporate technological advances and streamlined administrative processes, will increase scoring consistency and allow RID to provide NIC exam results substantially faster. Once test runs have been completed using the new scoring system, we will be able to give a more specific timeline for results processing.

E. Employment-and client-related questions

Q-E1. What will RID do to help consumers of interpreting services understand and work with the new changes to the NIC certification? 
A-E1. RID has launched a new informational campaign: NIC…Moving Forward Together! We are dedicated to clear and frequent communications with our members, the Deaf community, and other stakeholders. This campaign kicked off with a two-hour informational NIC Task Force Forum at the 2011 RID National Conference and will continue with regular communications about the NIC enhancement process.

Additionally, we have dedicated a new and easy-to-find section on the RID Web site as a one-stop shop for any and all news related to the NIC program developments. This page, called NIC News, can be found at www.rid.org/NICNews. We will be posting a variety of information to the NIC News page, including FAQs, handouts, and other materials for interpreters and consumers of interpreting services, as well as employers and hiring parties, students and educators, regulators, etc. to learn more about the NIC program changes. We hope that all stakeholders will visit the NIC News page regularly to stay informed and involved in the reshaping of the NIC program.

Q-E2. I was told by a prospective client that she would only hire an interpreter with an NIC Advanced or NIC Master. How can I explain the new credentialing? What is RID doing to educate consumers of interpreting services about upcoming changes to the NIC program?
A-E2. RID understands the need for certified interpreters to be able to fully explain the enhancements to the NIC program to employers, consumers, etc.

As such, it is our intention to frequently and clearly communicate and define the changes being made to the certification program, so that all RID stakeholders can learn more about the new enhancements to the program. This includes regular communications about the NIC enhancement process.

For example, we have dedicated a new and easy-to-find section on the RID Web site as a one-stop resource for any and all news related to the NIC program developments. This page, called NIC News, can be found at www.rid.org/NICNews. We will regularly post updates and informational materials to the NIC News page, including FAQs, information handouts, and other materials for interpreters, consumers of interpreting services, as well as employers and hiring parties, students and educators, regulators, etc.

We expect that consumers of interpreting services will find that the enhancements being made to the certification program will make it easier to select interpreters with the skill level appropriate for their needs. Future enhancements include updating the content of the NIC Knowledge and Performance Exams and setting the NIC as an entry level certification. Additionally, the NIC certification may be renamed the NIC I and a second, higher-level certification may be developed, tentatively titled the NIC II. A little farther down the road is the development of specialty examinations designed to assess specialized knowledge and skills.

We encourage all consumers of interpreting services to visit the NIC News page regularly to keep informed about the exciting improvements taking place.

Q-E3. My hiring was conditional on earning an NIC Advanced/NIC Master but these credentials will no longer be available when I take my test. What should I tell my employer? 
A-E3. RID understands the need for certified interpreters to be able to fully explain the enhancements to the NIC program to employers, consumers, etc. We encourage you to refer your employer to the NIC News Web page and/or provide him/her with the informational materials that will be available in the NIC News page.

Q-E4. My current/future employer pays interpreters based on the NIC level they hold. How can I explain that changes to the NIC certification program to my employer(s)? Does RID have any recommendations for employers who currently base their pay structure on the three-leveled NIC certification? 
A-E4. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, RID cannot give advice or provide structured guidelines on the pay or salary of professional sign language interpreters. However, we understand your need to be able to fully explain the enhancements to the NIC program to employers, consumers, etc. As such, we will frequently and clearly communicate and define the changes being made to the certification program, so that all RID stakeholders can be educated in the new enhancements to the program. This includes regular press releases and other communications about the NIC enhancement process.

We encourage you to refer your employer to the NIC News Web page and/or provide him/her with the informational materials that will be available on the NIC News page. We trust that employers will keep informed about the upcoming enhancements taking place and make whatever changes necessary to compensate their employees fairly.

F. Taking the NIC examination

Q-F1. I have already passed the NIC Knowledge Examination and want to to take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination while Advanced and Master levels are still available. How can I expedite scheduling my exam? 
A-F1. Testing appointments are made based on the availability of the Supersites (RID testing sites) and Local Test Administrators (LTAs). A list of current Supersites is available on the RID Web site at the bottom of the NIC page.

Q-F2. I’ve already paid for the exam in an effort to attain the NIC Advanced/Master, but now I cannot take it before the change to one level. Will RID refund my exam fee? 
A-F2. RID will be happy to either refund your payment or credit the exam fee to your RID account, minus the $40 non-refundable application processing fee, within 2 years of the paid date. After 2 years, the exam fee cannot be refunded but can be credited to your account (minus the $40 non-refundable application processing fee) so it can be applied to other RID products and services. Please submit your request in writing by email to certification@rid.org or by postal mail to: RID, Attn: Cert & Ed Dept, 333 Commerce Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Q-F3. Must my exam be taken or scored before the new NIC scoring process is implemented in order to be eligible to earn an NIC Advanced or NIC Master? When will this actually happen? 
A-F3. Your exam must be taken before the new NIC scoring process is implemented in order to be eligible to earn an NIC Advanced or NIC Master. However, if your exam is taken after the new scoring process is implemented, then you will only be eligible to receive the single-level NIC.

The new NIC scoring process will be implemented in the fall of 2011. As mentioned, it is our intention to frequently and clearly communicate and define the changes being made to the certification program, so that all RID stakeholders can be educated about the new enhancements to the program.

2018-04-24T06:16:31+00:00 July 27th, 2011|Categories: From RID Headquarters, Testing and Certification Library|0 Comments
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