The RABQSA/iNARTE team in Milwaukee wishes you all a happy and certifiable new year. For us, one of the main events in 2012 was the merger between RABQSA and iNARTE, involving the relocation of the iNARTE offices from North Carolina to Milwaukee. Happily that was accomplished with a minimum of disruption, and as the dust settles we start 2013 having all operational processes integrated into our system. Now we are poised to utilize our full resources to implement a few improvements and introduce new certification products as needed.
From the left: Patricia, Presley, Sal, Mary, Monique and Patty
Under RABQSA management the following activities we have already been initiated for the continuing improvement of existing programs and the successful introduction of new certification products:
- Introduction of a new Certification for Wireless Device Certification Professionals, (WDCP).
- Performed a cut score analysis for the WDCP examinations.
- Progressed work to introduce a Certificate for Spectrum Management by July 2013
- Coordinated a continuing review of ESD questions pools with the ESD Association
- Started work on a Job Analysis Survey for all practitioners working in ESD Control areas.
- Prepared and distributed a Job Analysis Survey to practitioners within the Product Safety Engineering community to assist in improvements to the PSE Certification program.
- Performed an analysis of answers from candidates taking earlier examinations for the EMC Design Engineer certification in order to improve future examination designs.
Next on the agenda are the following initiatives:
- Major changes to the candidate new question requirements
- Changes to the examination questions and question pools for Product Safety certification.
THE NEW QUESTION REQUIREMENT
Improving all examination question pools and maintaining currency and credibility of questions is critically important to maintaining certification value. It has been our practice to ask all new candidates to write questions as a part of the certification process. The quality of these candidate questions is judged as part of the application review process.
For EMC, ESD and Product Safety certification, we have asked for ten (10) new questions from each candidate. While many candidates take this request very seriously, we have also received many questions that are not of a standard suitable for use in a future certification examination. We also get many questions that are almost duplicates of others and many that are simply plagiarized from standards or from popular technical books and papers, in other words not original and not based upon any personal experiences or problems that the candidate may have encountered. Given the years of work experience that we require for certification, one would think that there would be ample situations from which questions could be formulated. But maybe we are asking for too much.
In the future, we have decided to ask for just three (3) questions from each candidate. However, these three questions will be subject to serious scrutiny. An initial question review will be conducted internally by a professional psychometrician. Questions that are accepted internally will then be passed to our external panel of experts for technical evaluation. The rejection of any one of the three questions at either level of scrutiny will require candidates to submit clarifications, changes, or replacements.
By the end of January, we will have prepared an on line instruction course for candidates to access before writing questions. Adhering to the principles shown in this course should result good questions being submitted and accepted at the internal review. In general a good question will conform to the following guidelines:
- Clearly written using good grammar and avoiding any confusing interpretations
- Avoiding the use of negatives, such as which of these answers is NOT correct
- Four or five answers are to be provided, only one of which is clearly correct
- Incorrect answers should be plausibly, not confusing and clearly incorrect
- “Yes or No”, and “True or False” answer choices will not be accepted
- “All of the above”, or “None of the above” answer choices will not be accepted
Good questions that meet these requirements will go forward for technical review, where our committee will be looking for:
- Technical Accuracy
- Depiction of current technology
- Inclusive of clear calculations or references that can be easily accessed to check answers
- Requiring a cognitive ability that is appropriate for the level of the certificate for which the writer is applying.
Look for the link to our question writing course in the February iNARTE Informer article.
CHANGES TO PRODUCT SAFETY QUESTION POOLS
It is worth repeating the point that were made in our November article with regard to Product Safety Engineering certification. Given the importance of product safety, why are there so few people seeking credentialing in these disciplines? Maybe, the subject matter in the body of knowledge from which we derive our examination questions is not appropriate for today’s product safety community. Whatever the issues are that have caused this certification to lose popularity in recent years, BUT TO DO SO WE NEED YOUR HELP.
A JOB ANALYSIS SURVEY form was handed to every attendee at the IEEE PSES 2012 in November. Of the almost 200 attendees, we have received 17 responses only. A link to this survey on line has been published here and on the iNARTE web site for several weeks, and that has resulted in another 20 or so responses. All in all, this is a very small representation given the many hundreds of practitioners in these disciplines. So please help us to change our certification product to create something of greater value to you and the community and oif greater significance to your employer.
Completing this survey is critical to maintaining and improving the significance of this certification.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Last time we asked a question from the Product Safety pool:
Choose one of the following parts that is permitted to be in contact with a test finger in the accessibility test.
A) An uninsulated part of an ELV circuit.
B) An uninsulated part of an TNV circuit.
C) An uninsulated part of a limited-current circuit.
D) Any parts separated by functional insulation or basic insulation.
The correct answer is C: – A part is considered not hazardous when it complies with the requirements of limited-current circuit in Clause 2.4, even if it carries a hazardous voltage.
This month’s question, also from the Product Safety pool, is:
Which of the following MIL-STD-882C defined severity groups is correctly stated?
A) Catastrophic, Critical, Marginal, Impossible
B) Catastrophic, Safety-Critical, Marginal, Negotiable
C) Super-Catastrophic, Critical, Marginal, Remote
D) Critical, Negligible, Catastrophic, Marginal
began his career in electromagnetics at Plessey Research Labs, designing ”Stealth” materials for the British armed services. In 1973 he moved to the USA and established a new manufacturing plant for Plessey to provide these materials to the US Navy. In 1980 he joined the Rayproof organization to develop an Anechoic Chamber product line. As a result of acquisitions Rayproof merged into Lindgren RF Enclosures and later into ETS-Lindgren. Following a career of more than 40 years in the EMC field, Brian retired as Managing Director of ETS-Lindgren UK in 2006. Later that year he assumed the position of Executive Director for the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers. NARTE. Now renamed iNARTE, the Association has expanded its operations and in 2012 merged with RABQSA International, a subsidiary of the American Society for Quality, ASQ. Brian remains associated with RABQSA through this merger process.