Certified - Testing Authority
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) was mandated by the Legislature July 1, 1990, to administer a comprehensive testing and certification program for language-spoken interpreters (RCW 2.43.070). Specifically related to testing, the statute requires the AOC to:
National Center for State Courts; Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification
The AOC joined forces with Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oregon to create the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification (The Consortium). The Consortium operates under the direction and is staffed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), located in Virginia.
The Consortium addresses resource shortages that impede efforts by state courts to define and implement standards for interpreting proficiency. The Consortium was created in July 1995 as a way to provide for and regulate exchange of existing court interpreter proficiency tests and to develop new tests. It is a mechanism through which funds from several sources can be combined to achieve economies of scale across jurisdictional and organizational boundaries that would otherwise be impossible. To date, there are 40 Consortium member states.
The functions of the Consortium are:
The Washington State Court Interpreter Program exclusively uses Consortium approved written and oral examinations. The program also contracts with the Consortium to coordinate a language-specific rating for the oral examination. The Consortium is responsible for tracking what versions of the examinations are given to testing candidates, and when.
(1) Written Examination. The written exam is a general English proficiency exam that contains 135 questions in multiple-choice format and includes questions related to legal terminology, English aptitude, and court interpreter ethics. The exam is scored via SCANTRON. A test candidate must pass with a score of 80% or better to be eligible to take the oral examination.
Retaking of Oral Exam within the same Calendar Year
Because testing is a primary goal stated via statute for the AOC, the complete cycle of exams will be offered at least one time per calendar year. The annual schedule includes the written exam and the oral exam. Based on the results of the oral exam in September, the AOC may sponsor another oral exam in the spring. The additional oral exam offering is by invitation only. Invitations to retake the exam will be extended to test candidates who passed two of the three sections and failed the remaining section with a score of at least 65%. The AOC’s ability to offer the spring exam may be impacted by the availability of test versions and the number of eligible candidates. The testing schedule may be limited by the interpreter budget and may be altered at the sole discretion of the AOC program manager.
Testing fees vary annually and are based on various factors. Testing fees are determined by the AOC (influenced by fees charged by the agency hosting the test).
Those who do not pass the oral exam who are not invited to retake the exam pursuant to this section may still be eligible to retake the exam in future years, subject to AOC standards on frequency of testing and exam versions available.
Appeal Process for Rescoring of Oral Exam
Any candidate that takes the oral certification exam and passes two sections, and scores at least 65% on the non-passing section, may submit a request for re-score.
A candidate must submit a request for re-scoring to the AOC in writing within 40 days after AOC sends the results of the exam via US mail. Any requests received after 40 days will be denied. In the event that a candidate’s request for rescore is approved, he/she will be responsible for paying the cost associated with the rescore (to be determined at that time).
The written appeal will be (1) forwarded to the Issues Committee for review and a decision on whether or not to allow rescoring (2) forwarded to the Consortium for their consideration in developing future examinations, and (3) shared with the Commission at the next quarterly meeting.
Any decision to re-score the exam is at the sole discretion of the Issues Committee based on specific allegations of fundamental errors in the methodology used in evaluating or scoring the exam by the requesting party (test candidate). Candidates are not entitled to rescores if the only trained raters qualified to rate the oral exam constitutes the team that rated the candidate’s initial performance.
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