NAD-RID NIC Performance and Interview Exam
Transition to McCann Platform
Frequently Asked Questions
When did RID begin pursuing this relationship?
In 2010, the NAD-RID NIC Task Force charged RID Headquarters with adopting a computer-based testing platform for the NIC Interview and Performance Exam. The recommendations from the NIC Task Force that were approved by the RID and NAD Boards of Directors in the fall of 2010, called for the following related to this initiative:
1. testing centers should be readily available and convenient for candidates locally
2. performance tests should be scored within a few weeks of administration
3. tests must be administered in secure testing centers
At the 2011 RID National Conference, we announced information related to the NIC exam, including the recommendations from the task force to improve the testing platform and results time. Since that announcement in 2011, we have worked diligently to identify the best provider of these services and to develop this improved platform. McCann Associates was selected in 2012after a thorough review and Request for Proposal (RFP) process because of their commitment to providing candidates a fair and equitable testing experience while maintaining certification industry best practices.
We have been working to implement and finalize the transition to testing platforms since we finalized our contract with McCann in 2012.
When will this new platform start?
Our goal has been that the new platform will begin at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1, 2013. A specific launch date has not yet been determined. We are currently in the final testing phases of the new platform and this phase will dictate when we start administering the platform to candidates. We will share more information about the exact start date over the next few weeks, but rest assured that RID will communicate these details in advance of any definite changes.
Where are the new test sites located?
We will have a minimum of 75 working test sites when we initially launch the new platform. Additionally, we will be working to secure a total of 150 sites by the end of 2013 so that we can meet the task force’s recommendation that “testing centers should be readily available and convenient for candidates locally.”
A complete list of initial testing sites will be provided once the testing phase is complete and an official launch date is determined. RID is working directly with McCann to ensure that the test sites are located in areas where interpreters work and go to school.
How long will it take for my results to be returned and in what format will they be delivered to me?
Exam results will take substantially less time than the current practice to process and rate them. This professional proctoring service will digitize the testing process which will allow for exams to be rated and processed more quickly than the current 90-120 days. Since raters will have access to the exams immediately upon the candidate’s completion of taking the exam, we anticipate that it will take no more than one month to score any NIC Interview and Performance Exam. Results to candidates will continue to be delivered via email.
We will continue to keep RID members up-to-date regarding the processing time once the new platform is implemented and administered. Look for these updates in the monthly RID e-NEWS and quarterly VIEWS, as well as updated information on the RID website at www.rid.org.
How does this work with the new scoring process? Is McCann now in charge of scoring or are they just administering the exam?
The rating process will remain the same and will still be done by RID-approved raters. The difference will be in how the raters will access the materials in that they will be using a slightly different mechanism with the new system. McCann has customized two platforms for our exam that will work in tandem. The first is the delivery platform, the program that displays the exam stimulus and records the candidate’s responses. The second is a rating platform that mirrors our current system. McCann is not responsible for scoring nor do they have a role in the scoring of NIC exams.
How does the new platform work? What is the process?
In meeting certification industry best practices, the new testing site locations will offer a standardized testing experience for every candidate as well as professionally trained proctors and increased anonymity. The candidate experience will not significantly differ from the current process. There will still be an administrator to assist with the exam. The exam content is not changing. When a candidate arrives at the test site, they will be greeted by their proctor and escorted to a private testing room. The proctor will log the candidate into the exam software and begin the exam. The exam stimulus will be displayed on the computer monitor and the candidate’s responses will be recorded using a webcam. Each of the seven vignettes will be recorded individually.
What the candidate will notice is a centralized and streamlined scheduling system. Candidates will schedule their exam directly with McCann and will no longer have to call individual Test Sites. This process will be very similar to the NIC Knowledge Exam which is administered by Castle Worldwide.
Additional advantages of this new system will significantly improve the processing time to deliver results to the candidate. Once the exam is completed, each of the seven videos will be immediately uploaded to the rating system. Raters will be able to score the exams right away and results will be available to RID Headquarters staff as soon as all ratings have been submitted. the rating process will remain the same and will still be done by RID-approved raters. The only difference will be the platform that the raters use to access the materials.
What is happening to all of the old sites and administrators?
Once the McCann platform is fully implemented, the NIC Interview and Performance Exam will no longer be administered by our current network of Test Administrators. However, RID will still rely on our current network of Test Sites and Test Administrators to deliver other exams until further notice.
What if my exam is already scheduled?
Once this new platform has been finalized, we will begin to phase out the administration of the NIC Interview and Performance Exams at current RID Test Sites. We estimate that these systems will be active concurrently for about a month. In the event that a candidate has a test date well beyond that timeline, RID will work directly with that individual to ensure that their exam is scheduled in the McCann system. For questions about upcoming exam dates, please contact the RID Certification Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I purchased my exam and am thinking about scheduling a test date? Do I have to wait?
No, you do not have to wait. RID Test Sites will continue to administer the exam until a final cut-off date is announced. We encourage you to schedule your exam now and continue to prepare as normal. In the event that your test date is beyond our transition period, RID will work with you directly to facilitate scheduling through McCann. For further information or questions, please contact the RID Certification Department at email@example.com.
Why is RID changing platforms for the administration of the NIC Interview and Performance Exam?
The current test delivery model does not take advantage of technological developments that are now widely available. In the current system, each exam has to be individually shipped from the test site to RID Headquarters. The exams are then reviewed to ensure that exam content is complete and shipped for duplication. Once the exams have been duplicated, both copies are sent to RID Headquarters again. The duplicate copy is then sent to our editors to be divided into seven parts, one for each vignette, and uploaded for rating. In addition to the time that this takes, there is opportunity for exams to be damaged or lost during shipping, all things that could delay or prevent us from rating an exam.
When RID certifies an individual, we affirm that they have completed a set of criteria which includes meeting an educational requirement and passing a series of exams. Nothing is changing with the current certification criteria as a result of the implementation of the McCann platform for testing.
The difference between a test taker under the current structure and the test taker with the McCann structure is that the individual under the current structure simply had to wait longer for their exam results.
How many companies does RID have working for the Certification Program?
At the moment, RID is working with three different companies to assist in our certification programs.
McCann is our newest partner and will be providing test delivery services for the NIC Interview and Performance Exam.
In 2010, RID contracted with the Caviart Group to assist with the NIC Interview and Performance Exam. Caviart has been providing exam administration services in the interim period while the McCann platform was being developed. Upon the complete transition to McCann Associates, RID will no longer be using the services of the Caviart Group to assist with the NIC Interview and Performance Exam.
Our longest standing partnership has been with Castle Worldwide which currently administers the NIC Knowledge Exam. Castle has provided psychometric services for many of our exams, including assistance with exam review and development, rater trainings and general testing advice.
You said we have to look beyond our community. Why does this have to be done outside of the community?
The RID community has a wealth of knowledge and skills, and RID would not and cannot survive without the dedication of all our members and partner organizations. The primary focus of this community however, is providing interpreting services, not testing services. For this reason, it is best to expand our network and find partners that are experts in the field of testing and whom have resources beyond that of our community.
The RID community will always be a part of our examination development and maintenance programs, providing the practitioner perspective. It is in the community that we find the experts to advise us on what an interpreter does and how that can be effectively evaluated. This participation is multi-layered through committee and rating work or through involvement in the surveys that direct the development of the exam, such as the Job/Task Analysis.
A valid and legally defensible exam is built by a partnership of experts in the field of interpreting, experts in the field of testing, and those that span both. RID is committed to building an even broader coalition to provide the best evaluations possible. In the end, this will help us to further achieve our organizational goals.
An interpreting performance exam is nothing like the ACT, GMAT or MCAT. Why should we believe this platform will be better? Those are all knowledge exams and mostly taken in a written form.
The ACT, GMAT and MCAT are all examples of high stakes exams that are administered regularly on a nationwide basis. In this, they are similar to the NIC Interview and Performance Exam. These are three incredibly well-respected exams and their example helps to illustrate that McCann is a leader in their field.
Of course, the content and format of these exams are significantly different from ours. One of the reasons McCann Associates was selected is due to their experience with language testing and their commitment to utilizing current technology. The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) is also partnering with McCann to deliver their exams. The exams are different, but the technology used to administer them is similar.
You said the old process took weeks because time was spent shipping, editing and uploading exams. What editing was being done? And won’t this new process still require time for editing and uploading videos?
Currently, RID records every minute of a candidate’s exam, but only the portions where they respond to the exam stimulus is used for rating purposes. When the editors receive an exam disc, they first convert the entire video from DVD format to one that is compatible with our current system. Since each vignette is rated independently from the others, it is necessary to cut each recording into the appropriate seven pieces. These pieces are then individually uploaded onto the server for the raters to review. Each exam takes a significant amount of time to process in this manner.
The platform that has been developed by McCann removes each of these steps. The test delivery software records in a format that is already compatible with the rest of the system. The camera will only activate when a candidate is responding to the exam stimulus, which removes the need for editing. Lastly, each vignette is automatically transferred to the rating system.
Who are the McCann administrators and proctors? Do they sign?
Proctors and administrators that work with McCann are professionals in the testing industry. They administer exams for many different organizations and are trained in how to administer a wide variety of exams. While it’s certainly possible that some of these individuals may be able to sign, it should not be expected at this time.
You said we are looking to move all RID exams to the new platform (that is outside of the community), but what about the CDI or SC:L exams?
While the recommendations of the NIC Task Force were aimed specifically at the NIC exam, RID’s eventual goal is to provide a consistent and convenient test experience for all of our candidates. RID has started an initial dialogue with McCann about the possibility of moving our other exams to their platform, including the CDI and SC:L Performance and Knowledge Exams. However, until then, those exams will continue to be administered by the current network of RID Test Sites.
Will the registration fees change because of this announcement?
The registration fees will not change in response to the new testing platform. However, in past years we have made incremental adjustments to our fees at the start of the fiscal year, which happens on July 1, and this year is no exception. The fees for all exams will increase by $15 on July 1, 2013.