The questions included in this FAQ were gathered from a variety of sources, including member communications to the RID national office and questions handed in at the 2011 RID National Conference NAD-RID NIC Task Force Forum in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 19, 2011. Additional questions will be answered in upcoming FAQs, which will also be posted to the NIC News page.
A. General Questions
B. Educational Requirement
C. NIC Administration
D. New NIC Scoring Process
F. NIC Testing Policy
G. NIC Level Questions
H. Pre-JTA and JTA
A. General Questions
Q-A1. When will the new NIC scoring process be implemented?
A-A1. The enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination with the new scoring process will be implemented on December 1, 2011.
Q-A2. What impact if any, will the scoring enhancements have on the NIC Written (Knowledge) Examination?
A-A2. The changes taking effect on December 1, 2011, will have no effect on the NIC Written (Knowledge) Examination.
Q-A3. Is RID saying the current NIC Interview and Performance Examination is invalid?
A-A3. No, not at all. Any interpreter who hold an NIC credential has met the requirements for national certification. Passing the NIC Interview and Performance Examination, whether under the current paradigm or the new scoring process, acknowledges that the interpreter possesses the minimum level of competency to hold national certification from RID.
Q-A4. How will the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination affect people who currently hold RID certifications, including the NIC Advanced and NIC Master?
A-A4. For now, there will be no change to the current RID credentials that individuals hold when the single-level NIC scoring process is implemented. Individuals will retain those credentials as long as they meet the requirements of the Certification Maintenance Program.
Q-A5. We need to stop creating additional credentials! Why can’t we resolve the “alphabet soup” issue by rolling all old generalist certificates into one name?
A-A5. One of the NIC Task Force recommendations is that eventually a review be conducted for the membership to consider a transition or consolidation of older RID certifications. However, this is farther down the road in the overall enhancement process and will require greater member-wide feedback and more in-depth evaluation before any action will be taken.
Q-A6. How will consumers know which interpreters have taken the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination?
A-A6. As is the case with virtually all certification and licensure credentials across a myriad of professions, the question from the consumer perspective when hiring or assigning the professional typically is not how an individual certificant achieved the credential he/she holds but rather, if he/she holds a credential.
Passing the NIC Interview and Performance Examination, whether under the current paradigm or the new scoring process, or holding any previously-awarded credential from RID, is indicative of the same result and acknowledges that the interpreter possesses the minimum level of competency to hold national certification from RID.
Q-A7. Since this is a change in certification, doesn’t this need a membership vote?
A-A7. No. A membership vote is not required for the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination. The enhancements are a part of the ongoing review and evaluation of the NIC Certification Program. These enhancements are in line with best practices within the certification industry, which indicate that a certification program should be reviewed every 5-7 years.
B. Educational Requirement
Q-B1. Will the degree requirement remain the same after the new scoring process goes into effect?
A-B1. Yes. Examination candidates will still need to meet RID’s current educational requirement in order to take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination. The current requirement is an associate degree or higher (in any field) or meeting the requirements of the Alternative Pathway to Eligibility.
Q-B2. Do I have to meet the educational requirement to take the NIC Knowledge Examination?
A-B2. No. There are no educational requirements for the NIC Knowledge Examination.
Q-B3. Can already-certified interpreters take the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination if they do not meet the educational requirement?
A-B3. No. All examination candidates must meet the educational requirement in order to take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination.
Q-B4. Will the educational requirement still be raised to a bachelor degree on July 1, 2012?
A-B4. Yes, this educational requirement will be implemented per the motion passed by the RID membership at the 2003 RID National Conference. (Motion C2003.05) View entire motion
Q-B5. Does the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination affect the acceptance of the Alternative Pathway to Eligibility to satisfy the educational requirement?
A-B5. The Alternative Pathway will remain an option for meeting the educational requirement.
Q-B6. Will the current Alternative Pathway stay in place after the degree requirement changes to a bachelor degree, July 1, 2012?
A-B6. No. An updated Alternative Pathway is currently being developed and will go into effect on July 1, 2012.
Q-B7. I don’t think I will be ready to take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination before July 1, 2012, but I don’t have a degree. When can I apply for the updated Alternative Pathway?
A-B7. The updated Alternative Pathway is currently being developed and will be made available on the RID Web site upon completion.
C. NIC Administration
Q-C1. Will Supersites or Local Test Administrators (LTAs) need to make any changes?
A-C1. Yes. There will be some minor changes in administration for the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination. The examination administration environment and scheduling processes will remain the same, but the actual examination is shorter and will be administered slightly differently. Specifically, there will be less interaction between LTAs and candidates. Once the LTA positions the candidate and video recorder, ensures that the equipment is functioning correctly and begins the examination DVD, the LTA will not have any additional interaction with the candidate until the examination is completed (unless there is a technical or environmental issue that needs to be addressed). The LTA will follow the same wrap-up process as with the previous examination format.
Q-C2. Will the LTAs still be recording the examinations on DVDs or will they upload the videos online?
A-C2. For now, LTAs will record the examinations and mail the recordings to the national office, just as before. At some point in the future, performance examinations will be uploaded instead of mailed.
Q-C3. Will LTAs be trained on the changes in examination administration?
A-C3. Yes. RID will provide revised administration instructions and an online training session to familiarize LTAs with the changes in the examination administration process.
Q-C4. There seem to be some minor changes in how the exam is administered, but understanding these changes makes a big difference in how prepared some test takers feel when taking the exam. Will all of these changes be made available in one place?
A-C4. A clear and complete description of all aspects of the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination, including the administration process, will be provided in the updated NIC Candidate Bulletin, which will be available on the RID Web site prior to December 1, 2011.
Q-C5. Will there still be an interview portion?
A-C5. Yes. The content addressed in the previous interview portion of the NIC will continue to be tested in the enhanced NIC; however, it will be tested in a “vignette” format.
Q-C6. What is a vignette?
A-C6. Vignettes are similar to the previous NIC Interview and Performance Examination scenarios in that they contain a video-based stimulus to which candidates respond or interpret. The main difference is that vignettes are much shorter and more focused on specific critical skills.
Q-C7. How long will each vignette be?
A-C7. Each vignette will be 3-5 minutes long
Q-C8. Will the test still have five (5) ethical situations to explain and five (5) scenarios to interpret?
A-C8. The enhanced NIC will contain seven (7) vignette problems. Two (2) of the vignettes will present ethical situations to which the candidate must respond in sign language or simultaneous communication (sign and voice, simultaneously). The remaining five (5) vignettes will present ASL and/or spoken English communications to be interpreted by the candidate.
Q-C9 Before, test takers could choose which section of the exam to take first: the interview or performance. Will this still be an option?
A-C9. No. After December 1, 2011, test takers will be required to take the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination in the order presented on the examination DVD: two (2) interview vignettes followed by five (5) performance vignettes.
Q-C10. Before, test takers could choose to stand during one section of the exam and then sit during the other. Will this still be an option?
A-C10. No. In the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination, test takers will be required to either stand or sit throughout the entire examination.
Q-C11. Will the exam still take the same amount of time to complete?
A-C11. No. The examination previously took 2 – 2 1⁄2 hours to complete; when the new scoring process is implemented, the examination will take approximately one (1) hour to complete.
Q-C-12. How can the exam take half the time to complete yet still evaluate my skills accurately?
A-C12. The purpose of a certification examination is to determine whether or not an applicant possesses at least the minimum level of skill required to competently perform the job for which the candidate is seeking certification. To do so, an examination must accurately determine if a candidate is above or below a single point which has been established to represent the minimum acceptable level of competence required. This is the pass/fail point.
Unlike the previous NIC Interview and Performance Examination, the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination is focused solely on a single pass/fail point. Those portions of the previous examination that do not contribute to the measurement at that point have been eliminated. Additionally, the interview portion of the examination has been reduced from five (5) scenarios to two (2) vignettes. This has made the test considerably shorter. In addition, RID has applied the latest examination design and scoring concepts to further improve the accuracy and consistency of the examination. By focusing on a single point and “trimming away the fat to get to the meat” of whether a candidate is competent or not and by using improved measurement techniques, RID is able to measure candidate competence accurately with much less testing time.
Q-C13. Will there still be a Form A and Form B?
D. New NIC Scoring Process
Q-D1. Will the new NIC scoring process make it easier or harder to pass the NIC Interview and Performance Examination?
A-D1. The enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination is designed to accurately determine what level of performance should pass and fail the critical tasks required to become nationally certified. It is not designed to be either easier or harder than the current NIC Interview and Performance Examination.
Q-D2. Can my old NIC Examination recording be submitted to the new scoring process?
A-D2. No. The new scoring process specifically links the new scoring criteria to each vignette in the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination. The new criteria cannot be used to rate the previous NIC scenarios.
Q-D3. Will the current rubrics and weights still remain the same?
A-D3. No. The new scoring process replaces the previous scoring rubrics with criteria that are specific to each vignette problem. Each vignette problem is weighted the same.
Q-D4. Does this mean that the NIC Interview and Performance Examination will be changing to Pass/Fail?
A-D4. Yes. The final score on the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination will be pass or fail. Failing candidates will receive an indication of their level of performance compared to the level required to pass, plus some feedback on their areas of weakness.
Q-D5. How do we know that distributed scoring is an effective way to evaluate this kind of work?
A-D5. The distributed scoring process involves a greater number of raters for each candidate. Raters will be constantly monitored for consistency against established standards. This will ensure that each candidate will be rated against the same standards.
Q-D6. How quickly will results be available after taking the exam?
A-D6. At this time, we can tell you that results will be returned considerably faster than in the current paradigm. However, once we implement the new scoring process, we will then be able to provide a more accurate estimate of how long it will take to receive examination results.
Q-E1. How can I apply to become a rater for the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination?
A-E1. RID will send rater applications to current and previous raters. When the application becomes available, it will also be posted on the NIC News page on the RID Web site for others who wish to apply.
Q-E2. Are you going to hire a whole new group of raters or retrain the current raters?
A-E2. Current and previous raters, as well as all others who meet the qualifications, will be welcomed to apply to become raters for the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination. Those whose applications are accepted will be trained to rate the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination with the new scoring process.
Q-E3. What qualifications does an applicant need to become a rater?
A-E3. Interpreter Raters and Deaf Raters will be selected based on the criteria offered by subject matter and test design experts. Specific qualifications will be outlined in the application.
Q-E4. With this new scoring process, will more rater feedback be given, or is that at another point in the timetable?
A-E4. Failing candidates will receive an indication of their level of performance compared to the level required to pass, plus some feedback on their areas of weakness.
Q-E5. Will raters continue to evaluate entire test performances?
A-E5. No. Raters will only view those specific examination vignettes for which they have been trained and continue to score consistently.
Q-E6. How will the new scoring process improve the performance of raters?
A-E6. The raters will be trained in scoring specific vignettes and will be required to pass scoring consistency tests before and during scoring. Raters who do not score consistently will be retrained or replaced.
Q-E7. Will the composition of the raters change?
A-E7. Yes. The new scoring process will only require evaluations from multiple Interpreter Raters and Deaf Raters.
Q-E8. How many raters will view my exam under the new scoring process?
A-E8. The number of different individual raters will depend on the scores assigned by initial raters and the need for additional scorings. There are seven (7) vignettes and each vignette may be scored by as many as three (3) different raters.
Q-E9. How does having a variety of raters increase the efficiency, accuracy and reliability of test results?
A-E9. The scoring process will be more efficient because vignettes and scoring criteria will focus only on critical skills. The process will be more accurate because the scoring criteria is specific for each vignette, and the process is more reliable because the scoring technology will continually measure the consistency of raters and will automatically prevent divergent raters from continuing to score examinations.
Q-E10. How will the process give raters the ability to opt out of rating someone they know or have taught/mentored?
A-E10. Raters will be presented with vignettes to score in random order. If they recognize an individual examinee, they will simply close that examination without assigning a score and go on to the next vignette. The skipped vignette will automatically show up in a different rater’s queue.
Q-E11. Will raters be able to call back a vignette to change their score if, for example, they pressed the wrong button or had a change of heart?
A-E11. There is a confirmation step in the scoring process. The rater will select the score and then confirm that selection. Should a rater realize, after the confirmation, that they have made an error, they will contact Certification and Education Department staff, who will invalidate the score. This will then send that vignette back into the scoring queue for a replacement rating.
Q-E12. If you send out only pieces of the exam, how do you know if the full theme is represented in the interpretation, since the raters won’t see the whole message? How can you ensure that the raters will see complete ideas in ASL if they only see fragments in the target language?
A-E12. The focus of the examination is to determine the candidate’s ability and skill. To do so, candidates must adequately interpret a communication which contains several components. Testing experts worked with both existing NIC raters and Subject Matter Experts to identify the appropriate amount of material required to be able to assess a candidate’s competence.
Q-E13. How can you ensure a fair test and a fair rating system, since there is no single, correct interpretation?
A-E13. The scoring criteria are designed to assess whether a candidate has successfully communicated the message at the level expected of an interpreter who is competent at the level required for national certification. These criteria allow for different solutions and are not based on a single correct answer.
Q-E14. How will you ensure test taker privacy and protect the testing queue from hacking and server crashes?
A-E14. Raters will log in to a secure server and provide their credentials before being able to access the vignettes. The rating system will include industry-standard safeguards and backups.
F. NIC Testing Policy
Q-F1. If someone has already paid for the exam, can that payment be applied to the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination?
Q-F2. Will the exam enhancement create an increase in exam and/or membership fees to cover the cost of technology?
A-F2. It is possible that examination and/or membership fees may need to increase in the future to provide the necessary ongoing support and resources for RID’s programs.
Q-F3. Will people with current NIC, NIC Advanced and NIC Master certification need to retest with the enhanced NIC?
A-F3. No. Interpreters who already hold any of the NIC credentials will keep their credential for the foreseeable future, as long as they meet RID’s certification maintenance requirements.
Q-F4. I’m already scheduled to take the exam, but my exam date is after December 1, 2011. Can I take my exam sooner in order to try for the NIC Advanced or NIC Master?
A-F4. You are welcome to contact the Supersite to see if there is an earlier examination appointment available.
Q-F5. I previously held an NIC Advanced/NIC Master, but my certification lapsed or was revoked. Will I be able to test and attain certification at my previously-earned NIC level?
A-F5. If you take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination after the new scoring process has been implemented, December 1, 2011, you will no longer be able to receive the NIC Advanced or NIC Master credential. Starting December 1, 2011, only the single- level NIC credential will be awarded to those who pass the examination.
G. NIC Level Questions
Q-G1. What is the rationale for eliminating the three levels of the current NIC Examination? Why is that a necessary part of the NIC program’s enhancements?
A-G1. It was the recommendation of the NIC Task Force to immediately stop the levels within the current NIC paradigm once the new scoring process is implemented. The rationale for this decision, which was approved by both the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Boards of Directors, is to keep the NAD-RID NIC program in line with certification industry best practices in which the results of an examination will provide either a pass or fail. Simply put, one examination should not yield multiple results. To have varying levels of attainment in certification, a certification program should have a separate examination for each certification.
Additionally, feedback from interpreters and consumers, which was considered by the task force in their work, indicated that the varying levels caused confusion surrounding the NIC credential, as it was not clearly and concretely defined what an interpreter with any one of the NIC levels could do. There was a consensus that there is a need to be able to identify interpreters with entry level ability, as well as those with more advanced levels of skill, so that intelligent choices can be made about which interpreters may have the skill level appropriate to a particular interpreting assignment. Eliminating the varying levels achieved from one examination and providing a distinct description of the performance ability for interpreters who have earned various RID certifications should resolve this issue.
Q-G2. How can I explain to my employer that after the new scoring process is implemented, only the single-level NIC will be awarded? How should I be compared to interpreters who previously earned the NIC, NIC Advanced or NIC Master?
A-G2. Professional certification is a process in which a person proves that he or she has the knowledge, experience and skills to perform a specific job competently. Passing the NIC Interview and Performance Examination, whether under the current paradigm or the new scoring process, acknowledges that the interpreter possesses the minimum level of competency to hold national certification from RID. Interpreter credentialing represents a complex professional commitment and certification is an ongoing journey through one’s career. Whether you earned the CSC decades ago or the NIC in 2011, it is a commitment to maintaining that credential, continuing to enhance knowledge and skills through professional development and adhering to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct. Holding certification is not just a credential; it is a commitment to the life-long journey within the profession.
Q-G3. My state requires an NIC Master for me to work in certain practice settings. I’m concerned that the NIC no longer being offered will limit where I can work. What is RID doing to help educate state regulators about this new paradigm shift for the NIC program?
A-G3. RID will assist stakeholders in understanding and conveying information about the enhancements to the NIC program by focusing on greater communications and education about the enhanced NIC Interview and Performance Examination and the certification program overall. We are currently in the process of developing educational information to share with the states to provide clarity in the changes to the RID certification program. Once these materials are developed, RID will distribute them to each state’s regulatory body and to the RID state affiliate chapters, as well as post them on the RID Web site at for individual members to use as educational tools.
Q-G4. How will RID and NAD work with state legislators who have adopted the NIC, NIC Advanced and NIC Master as the standard?
A-G4. Through the work of the RID Government Affairs Program (GAP), RID has already begun and will continue to assist affiliate chapters in working with state regulators and administrators to consider the implications of these changes within their existing state rules and regulations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance and information related to these efforts.
H. Pre-JTA and JTA
Q-H1. How can I make sure to be included in the Pre-JTA survey?
A-Hi. You can take part in the pre-JTA survey by going to the following link: https://lucas141.qualtrics.com/WRQualtricsSurveyEngine/?Q_SS=3qMVot9tCFVWJPS_a 2SW8c0WQxHSzis&_=1
Q-H2. How long will the Pre-JTA survey be open?
A-H2. The Pre-JTA survey Web site will be open until October 24, 2011.
Q-H3. Who created the survey?
A-H3. Subject matter experts from both the NIC Task Force and the NIC scoring group, assisted by testing experts from The Caviart Group, have prepared the Pre-JTA survey. The JTA and all other test development activities will also involve subject matter expert committees that are selected to be representative of both the profession and the Deaf community. RID and NAD are committed to a collaborative effort that will benefit from the collective experience and expertise of all groups with a stake in the NIC credential and RID certification program overall.
Q-H4. What kind of questions does the Pre-JTA ask?
A-H4. The Pre-JTA survey will gather information from both providers and consumers of interpreting services regarding frequency that they provide or use interpreting services in a variety of settings. It will also determine the need for interpreting services in languages other than ASL and English, and how important it is for an interpreter to have specialized knowledge and skills in various settings.
Q-H5. Are the Pre-JTA questions the same for everyone?
A-H5. The Pre-JTA survey consists of two separate tracks, depending on whether the participant is a provider of interpreting services or a consumer of interpreting services. However, the only difference between the two tracks is how the question is asked. For example, the survey of interpreting providers asks how often they provide interpreting services in a given setting. The same question for interpreting consumers asks how often they use interpreting services in a given setting.
Q-H6. I am an interpreter, but I also use interpreting services. How can I decide which track to choose?
A-H6. The first few questions in the survey will automatically direct participants to the appropriate track. This will ensure that the survey questions make sense to each participant. Those who are both providers and consumers of interpreting services will need to decide for which track they wish to provide feedback.
Q-H7. My preferred language is American Sign Language (ASL). Will there be an ASL version of the surveys available?
A-H7. Yes, all instructions and questions will be provided in both ASL, using video clips embedded in the survey, and English text.
Q-H8. What exactly is a Job Task Analysis and why is it so important to do one?
A-H8. A Job Task Analysis (JTA) is a scientific study of professions that is recognized by all test accrediting bodies as an appropriate vehicle for ensuring that the content of a certification examination is, in fact, directly linked to the practice of the profession. Essentially, through this process, the profession determines what test content is important for competent performance of the job. Also, since the JTA will link the examination content directly to the current practice of the profession, it will ensure the validity and legal defensibility of future generalist and specialty certification examinations.
Q-H9. Wasn’t a Job Task Analysis conducted for the current NIC exam? Why do we have to do another one?
A-H9. Since the NAD-RID NIC examinations were developed almost a decade ago, there have been significant changes in the interpreting profession of sign language interpreting and the Deaf community. In order to ensure that the NIC program meets testing industry standards, it is crucial that it be updated regularly.
Q-H10.If the NIC program must be updated regularly, does that mean a Job Task Analysis will need to be conducted again in another ten (10) years?
A-H10. Yes. According to current certification industry standards, a job analysis should be conducted every 5-7 years.