RID and NAD Release the
NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Credential
Validity, Reliability, & Candidate Performance Report

Available for public consumption:

February 20, 2014 – Alexandria, VA – The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) in conjunction with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is pleased to release the NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Credential Validity, Reliability, and Candidate Performance Report.  This document provides an in-depth analysis of both the NIC Knowledge and Interview and Performance examinations and demonstrates that they are valid and reliable measurement instruments in meeting the identified needs of consumers of interpreting services.

Created under the direction of the NAD and RID Boards of Directors and the Certification Committee, this is the first time that such a report for any of RID’s certification programs has been developed and shared with RID members, stakeholders, and the public.

“First and foremost, sharing this information is a step toward building trust and creating the transparency for our certification programs, which has been identified as a priority among RID members,” explained Dawn Whitcher, RID President. “Second, states weigh the NAD-RID credentials when adopting licensure and regulations for sign language interpreters; they need information that verifies that the NIC credential meets the standards and needs of consumers of interpreting services.”

“The NAD has been collaborating closely with the RID including through representation on the joint Certification Committee, and strongly feels that public distribution of this information is important to our members, advocates and state associations of the deaf,” Christopher Wagner, NAD President, stated.

Wagner and Whitcher jointly agree on behalf of their respective organizations and as responsible stewards of the NAD-RID NIC program, “to ensure that standards are defined and measured throughout the exam process and met by those attaining the NIC credential.”

The NIC Credential Validity, Reliability, & Candidate Performance Report addresses two of the three goals within the professional credibility priority of the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan:

  1. Implement certification industry best practices and standards for RID credential programs.
  2. Develop rigorous standards and deliver relevant, reliable and valid examinations for all credentials.

With this announcement, RID and NAD are releasing four different inter-related documents.

  1. NIC Credential Validity, Reliability & Candidate Performance Report (Technical Report)
  2. NIC Credential Validity, Reliability & Candidate Performance Report (Summary Report)
  3. 2002 Role Delineation Study, on which the NIC assessments are based
  4. Results of the 2011 Pre-Job Task Analysis (JTA) Survey, which will be used to further guide the development of RID certification programs

Key Findings from the Report:

(For more information about each element, please read the summary and technical reports)

VALIDITY: For NAD-RID NIC Exams, each question or vignette is specifically tied to one or more of the domains outlined in the 2002 Role Delineation Study. In addition, the exams are built such that the most critical knowledge and skills are tested more often than less important skills, as outlined by the test blueprint. Therefore, both NIC Exams demonstrate a high level of content validity.

RELIABILITY: The NIC Knowledge Exam has exceeded standard reliability measurements each year since its creation. After the first year of administration, RID, in conjunction with the Caviart Group, conducted the first reliability study for the current NIC Interview and Performance Exam and found that the examination meets industry standards for inter-rater reliability, a measure of the consistency of scoring and reliability in performance tests.

Inter-rater reliability for the NIC Interview and Performance exam was determined by comparing the first two ratings for each vignette. The total score from each rater was compared on a pass/fail basis and they either agreed or disagreed. Statistical analysis shows that raters agreed 79% of the time, which is on par with certification industry expectations.

But, in cases where the raters disagree, a third rater is brought in and provides another independent review. Logically, the additional rater can then only agree with one of the first raters. The divergent score is discarded and the result is a vignette score agreed upon by two raters. In this respect, each exam is only scored by raters who agree 100% of the time.

STANDARDIZED TESTING: By the very nature of being a standardized test it is nearly impossible to mimic an authentic interpreting environment. Interpreting sessions typically last longer than 4 minutes, are done in real-time with the opportunity to get clarification from the consumers, and do not require the interpreter to remain seated the entire time. Controlled environments such as these will be present in any standardized exam in order to ensure that all candidates are presented with the same information and are reliably scored against the same set of standards. The scoring criteria were developed specifically to assess what a qualified interpreter should be able to do under these controlled circumstances.

Knowledge Exam: Based on data from calendar year 2012, the passing rate for the NIC Knowledge Exam is 84% and has been consistent for many years. Obviously, an overwhelming majority of our candidates are well prepared for the NIC Knowledge Exam. Clearly the knowledge required to function as an interpreter is present in the community.Interview & Performance Exam:  Since its launch on December 1, 2011 to November 11, 2012, approximately 30% of test takers achieved a passing score on this exam.

• Data on the various skills that are evaluated on the NIC Interview and Performance Exam indicates that there is one area in particular where candidates are struggling overall, interpreting from ASL into English. Candidates consistently scored lower on this component than interpreting from voiced English into ASL.

RATER DEMOGRAPHICS: Raters represent the diversity of the community and are RID members in good standing. They represent 18 different states from all five regions. 70% are female and 26% of the raters are Deaf or hard of hearing.

RATER TRAINING: To become approved to rate a specific vignette, a rater must both complete the training and pass a test for each vignette they want to score to ensure that they are applying the scoring criteria for that vignette appropriately. Raters that are unable to pass the test are allowed to re-train, but if they fail the test a second time, they are denied from rating that vignette.

About RID
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID), a national membership organization, plays a leading role in advocating for excellence in the delivery of interpretation and transliteration services between people who use sign language and people who use spoken language. In collaboration with the Deaf community, RID supports our members and encourages the growth of the profession through the establishment of a national standard for qualified sign language interpreters and transliterators, ongoing professional development and adherence to a code of professional conduct. For more information, go to www.rid.org.
About the NAD 
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more – improving the lives of millions of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. The NAD also carries out its federal advocacy work through coalition efforts with specialized national deaf and hard of hearing organizations, as well as coalitions representing national cross-disability organizations. For more information, go to www.nad.org.
About the Certification Committee
The Certification Committee advises the NAD and RID Board of Directors on strategic planning as well as policies and procedures related to the NAD-RID NIC. In addition, the Certification Committee also advises the RID Board of Directors on RID certification programs including the Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L), Educational Certificate (ED K-12), and more. For more information, go to About the NAD-RID Certification Committee.
About the NAD-RID NIC
Individuals who have achieved NIC certification are nationally-certified interpreters. The NIC Examination tests interpreting knowledge and skills in three critical domains:
  • General knowledge of the field of interpreting through the NIC Knowledge Exam;
  • Ethical decision making through the interview portion of the NIC Interview and Performance Exam; and
  • Interpreting skills through the NIC Interview and Performance Exam.

Candidates earn NIC certification if they demonstrate professional knowledge and skills that meet or exceed the minimum professional standards necessary to perform in a broad range of interpretation and transliteration assignments in all three domains. The NIC certification process begins with a multiple-choice NIC Knowledge Examination. Candidates who pass the knowledge examination and meet RID’s eligibility requirements may then take the NIC Interview and Performance Examination. The NIC Interview and Performance Examination is a vignette-based assessment using video to deliver and record the assessment.

You can view the Press Release here.