Response to Open Letter on YouTube:
On July 10, 2017, an Open Letter was posted on social media addressed to RID and CASLI. We recognize that communicating information about testing and certification to impacted communities is important, and appreciate that, while information is currently available through both the RID and CASLI websites and via RID email distributions, we are being asked to share more broadly. We will do our best to do so. In addition to this letter directly responding to the concerns raised in that posting, CASLI also shared information related to these topics at the Deaf Interpreter Conference II (DIC2) in Villanova, Pennsylvania on July 13th, and RID and CASLI jointly led a forum on Testing and Certification at the RID LEAD Together Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 20th. The full video from the RID event was posted on the CASLI website the following day and is available at: https://www.casli.org/2017/07/21/testing-certification-forum-livestream-at-rid-lead-together-conference/. We encourage you to look there for additional information beyond what is possible to address immediately in this letter.
CASLI was established by RID during the summer of 2016 with the intention of ensuring testing development/maintenance sustainability. The eventual goal is that having testing under CASLI will allow for financial separation of testing from other aspects of RID including membership, the Ethical Practices System (EPS), and the Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) portion of certification. The current focus of CASLI is on administration and the development of tests to be used by RID for the purposes of certification. CASLI is currently responsible for two tasks: 1) Administering currently operational exams for RID certification, and 2) Developing new tests to replace those that have been used for RID’s NIC and CDI certifications. CASLI has not, at this point, been tasked with the development of tests specifically designed to be used for legal or educational interpreting certification. Information about any decisions made by RID membership related to other certifications will be communicated widely at the time those decisions are being considered.
One question raised in the Open Letter pertains to the current status of the test for National Interpreter Certification (NIC). As was communicated, scheduling for interview and performance exams for the NIC resumed on October 1, 2016 and candidates have been actively testing since November 1, 2016. Testing for the NIC has been open and running ever since, and the full details of the process for registering, taking an interview, and completing the performance exam for the NIC are available on the CASLI website. Please do encourage anyone who is interested, qualified, and ready to take the next steps toward becoming NIC certified.
Another issue raised in the Open Letter relates to the future of the test for NIC certification. As CASLI Board representatives announced in person at both the DIC2 and the RID Conferences, as well as in our video response to the DTV report, the RID Board approved CASLI’s proposal for test development on July 2nd. Originally, the proposed schedule was to focus first on a replacement exam for the NIC certification, followed later by the development of a replacement test for CDI certification. We feel strongly, however, that our Deaf interpreting colleagues deserve to be equally served by the testing and certification process, and that the timeline for releasing a new test for certification of Deaf interpreters must also be prioritized. Therefore, the CASLI plan, as approved by RID, aims to address as much of the CDI and NIC exam content as possible in overlapping test formats, with the release of tests for both Deaf and hearing candidates occurring simultaneously. This plan does entail a slight extension of offering the current exam for NIC certification, and therefore, in order to sustain the reliability, validity, and relevance of the NIC certification, we are now working to retrain and expand the rater pool. As soon as we have the training materials finalized and logistics set, a call for new raters will be disseminated widely, and anyone who is interested is encouraged to volunteer to support us in our efforts to maintain and reinforce the standards of the current NIC test. Our goal is to have the new tests for both Deaf and hearing interpreters ready as soon as possible while maintaining high standards of quality and that we will not need to continue to use the current exam for NIC beyond a seven-year life cycle.
The Open Letter also asked for information related to sustainability in operations. More details on this, including explanations of the history and the current relationship between CASLI and RID are available on the CASLI website, both in the video from the Testing and Certification forum at the RID Conference and on our FAQs page: https://www.casli.org/2016/07/01/casli-faqs/. It is CASLI’s primary goal to avoid any situation that would lead to another moratorium or any other adverse impact on certification. All efforts toward the current administration of exams and test development are focused on making testing more dependable and sustainable – financially, operationally, and structurally – moving forward.
Again, we appreciate the concerns raised by members of the community in the Open Letter and hope to be able to communicate more broadly moving forward. With the CASLI proposal approved by the RID Board on July 2nd, and the opportunities we had in July to communicate directly with interpreters and other stakeholders at the Deaf Interpreters Conference and RID Conference, we are now in a position to make significant progress, and we will do our best to provide public information each step of the way. Please do feel free to contact us directly with questions or concerns and help spread the word when you see or receive updates from us. And please do consider volunteering to join us! The upcoming test rater training and future committees for specific steps in test development will benefit from a wide variety of perspectives from all aspects of our communities. Hope to see you “there” soon!
Miako Villanueva, President, CASLI Board Melvin Walker, President, RID Board