EXAMINATION ADMINISTRATION MANUAL - NIC Testing

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EXAMINATION ADMINISTRATION MANUALThe National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. (NIC) Examinations distributed bySchroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. (SMT)This manual distributed bySchroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc., 25400 US Highway 19 North, Suite 285Clearwater, Florida 337631-800-556-0484Copyright 2018 by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of theNational-Interstate Council or State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc.NIC Examination Administration ManualRev. 10.2018

NIC Examination Administration ManualRev. 10.2018

THE NATIONAL-INTERSTATE COUNCIL OF STATEBOARDS OF COSMETOLOGYExamination Administration ManualContents1. General Responsibilities . 52. Security of NIC Examination Materials . 6A. NIC Theory and Practical Examination Materials Security (Paper/Pencil and Printed) . 7i. General Rules and Procedures for Securing Examination Materials . 7ii. Ordering, Receiving, Accounting, and Storing NIC Theory Examination Materials . 83. Return Shipment of Theory Examination Materials . 11A. Shipment One: Answer Sheets, Examination Rosters, and Seating Charts. 11B. Shipment Two: Examination Booklets . 124. Requesting, Receiving, and Returning of Practical Examination Critical Standards . 125. Practical Examination Grading via Electronic System Examination Security Requirements. 126. Computer Based Testing (CBT) Station Examination Security Requirements . 137. Staffing Requirements for All NIC Examination Administrations . 13A. Examination Supervisor . 13B. Proctor/Reader: . 14C. Examiner . 148. NIC Theory Administration (Paper/Pencil). 14A. Room and Staff Requirements. 14B. Collection of NIC Examination Materials/Checkout Procedures . 159. NIC Theory Computer Based Testing (CBT) Administration . 17A. Room and Staff Requirements. 1710. NIC Practical Administration . 17A. Exam Administration in Schools . 17B. Room and Staff Requirements . 18C. Observers . 1811. General NIC Practical Examination Instructions . 19A. Practical Score Sheet Instructions . 19B. Rating Instructions . 2012. Admission and Seating of Candidates . 20A. Initial Verification of Candidate Identification . 20B. Admission of Candidates and Confirmation of Candidate Identification . 22C. Admission Discrepancies. 22D. Personal Items . 23E. Candidate Seating and Use of Seating Charts . 23F. Late Candidate Arrivals . 2313. NIC Theory Examination Administration Verbal Instructions . 2414. NIC Practical Examination Administration Verbal Instructions . 2415. Restroom Procedures . 2416. CBT Examination Duplication . 2417. Theory Paper/Pencil Examination Duplication . 2418. Monitoring Candidates during the Examination . 2519. Candidate Permanent Withdrawal from the Examination . 26NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 1 of 85

20. Irregular Incidents and Events. 26A. Disruptive Behavior. 26B. Disruptions and Interruptions and Emergency Evacuation . 2721. Records to be Maintained . 2722. Examination Reviews . 2823. Special Administrations . 28A. Americans with Disabilities Act . 28B. Special Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities. 2924. NIC Policy on the Use of Readers, Translators, and Foreign Language Dictionaries . 30A. Reason for the Policy. 31B. Exceptions to the NIC Policy . 3225. NIC Request for Proposal (RFP) Procedures . 33NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 2 of 85

AppendicesA. NIC Written Examination Seating ChartB. NIC Restroom Roster FormC. NIC CBT Examination Rules and Security Agreement Examination Duplication NonDisclosureD. NIC Theory Paper/Pencil Examination Rules and Security Agreement ExaminationDuplication Non-DisclosureE. NIC Examination Supervisors, Proctors, Staff or any other Designee Affidavit ofConfidentiality and Non-DisclosureF. NIC Vendor/State Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-DisclosureG. NIC Examination Review Facilitator Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-DisclosureH. NIC Examination Reviewer Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-DisclosureI. NIC Practical Examination Model Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-DisclosureJ. NIC Practical Examination Observer Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-DisclosureK. NIC Secure Materials/Examination Incident Report Paper & Pencil/CBTL. NIC Examination Incident Report – Permanent Candidate WithdrawalM. SMT Packing ListN. SMT Shipment Tracking SheetO. SMT Inventory ReportP. SMT Discrepancy FormQ. NIC Examination Materials Order FormR. NIC Theory Examination Administration Verbal InstructionsS. NIC Practical Examination Administration Verbal InstructionsT. NIC Oral Examination Information - Candidate Consent and Understanding Of GuidelinesNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 3 of 85

IMPORTANT NOTE: The procedures outlined in this manual govern theadministration of NIC examinations, regardless if the participating State BoardUUOffice personnel administer the examination, or the examinations are administeredby a third-party vendor. In the event any vendor/state provides their own handbook,examination preparation materials, document, etc., said vendor/state is strictlyprohibited from amending or revising in any way the information contained withinthis manual. Any violation thereof may be considered as a default of the Agreementbetween the vendor/state and NIC.Any entity that administers the NIC examinations must first be approved by the NIC.NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 4 of 85

THE NATIONAL-INTERSTATE COUNCILOF STATE BOARDS OF COSMETOLOGY, INC.1. General ResponsibilitiesThis manual is copyrighted material, which is solely owned by The National-Interstate Councilof State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. (NIC). It is intended for use by approved states or vendorsof the NIC only. All other uses of this manual are prohibited. NIC customers may copy forms inthis manual for use in the administration of NIC’s Examination program.NIC complies with the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing prepared by theAmerican Educational Research Association, The American Psychological Association, and theNational Council on Measurement in Education. All entities using the NIC examinations mustcomply with these standards along with the NIC policies and procedures contained in thismanual.NIC assumes responsibility for the content validity of its Examinations. This informationrepresents the minimum policies and procedures required by agencies or companies utilizingNIC Examinations. These policies may be used in conjunction with state, agency, or companypolicies and procedures. If state, agency, or company policies are less restrictive than the policyand procedures outlined herein, then this manual will take precedence. States, agencies, orcompanies may include pertinent information from this manual in state candidate informationbrochures, bulletins, or other informational documents for candidates for the sole purpose ofadministering the NIC examination.NIC requires all personnel who have authorized access to NIC Examinations at any time, or forany reason, to sign the appropriate Affidavit of Confidentiality and Nondisclosure and complywith the policies and procedures in this manual. Signed affidavits must be kept on file and madeavailable to NIC upon request. To avoid a conflict of interest, individuals associated with thedevelopment, administration, or review of NIC examinations are bound by the terms of theAffidavit(s) executed. Candidates, examination administrators, examination staff, or personnelmay not participate in the administration of any NIC examination when immediate familymembers, friends, or acquaintances are taking a NIC examination.Any individual who has access to NIC Examination content or materials must sign the relevantconfidentiality agreement. The following represents a list of relevant confidentiality agreements: NIC Examination Supervisors, Proctors, Staff or any other Designee Affidavit ofConfidentiality and Non-Disclosure (see Appendix E)NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 5 of 85

NIC Vendor/State Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure (see Appendix F) NIC Examination Review Facilitator Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure(see Appendix G) NIC Examination Reviewer Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure (seeAppendix H) NIC Practical Examination Model Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure (seeAppendix I) NIC Practical Examination Observer Affidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure(see Appendix J) Vendor Minimum Qualifications Agreement (VMQA) for CBT and Non-CBT vendorsVendor/State is responsible for assuring that all employees and or administration staff haveentered into proper non-disclosure and affidavit of confidentiality agreements.2. Security of NIC Examination MaterialsExamination security is a top priority, and critical component of maintaining the validity andintegrity of the assessment process. As such, it is the responsibility and duty of the state, vendorand NIC to protect the integrity of the examinations and related materials. In doing so, all partiesare confident in the evaluation, and subsequent licensing of qualified and competentpractitioners.The cost of creating an Examination is high and continues to increase. Whenever Examinationmaterial is lost or stolen, extensive financial damage will be incurred by NIC beyond financiallosses. A security breach of a NIC examination may mean that candidates are licensed withouthaving the prescribed level of competence. Each vendor will ultimately be held accountable inaccordance with the VMQA. Each state will ultimately be held accountable in accordance withits agreement with NIC. Approved vendors and states using NIC Examinations must designate anauthorized Examination Administrator to work directly with NIC’s examination servicedesignee, Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. (SMT), in the delivery, administration andreporting of examinations. NIC’s Administrative Services Coordinator (ASC) must be provided acurrent list of said designees annually, no later than January 31st. Any change of designee mustbe reported to the ASC immediately.The security of examination materials is critical. From the moment of delivery to the time of thecompletion of any examination, the Examination Administrator, Examination Room Supervisors,and Proctors must ensure the protection of examination materials from loss, compromise, orunauthorized access by following the policies, procedures and rules contained throughout theNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 6 of 85

NIC Examination Administration Manual.In the event that any examination is perceived to have been compromised, the ExaminationAdministrator or Examination Room Supervisor must notify the NIC test administration vendorby phone immediately. State administered examinations must notify SMT by phoneimmediately. This must be followed up in writing by email using the NIC examination incidentreport (see Appendix K. The NIC ASC must be notified of all incidences within 24 hours.A. NIC Theory and Practical Examination Materials Security (Paper/Pencil and Printed)The security of examination materials is critical. From the moment of delivery to the time theexamination materials are shipped back to SMT or returned to NIC, the ExaminationAdministrator, Examination Room Supervisors, and Proctors must ensure the protection ofexamination materials from loss, compromise, or unauthorized access. ExaminationAdministrators, Examination Room Supervisions and Proctors must strictly adhere to andcomply with the following rules and procedures for securing examination materials:i. General Rules and Procedures for Securing Examination Materialsa. All examination related materials including examination booklets and/orCritical Standards must be stored in a secure area, which has limited ormonitored access. A secure area may be a lockable file cabinet, a closet thatlocks, or a dedicated room that locks, etc. Examination booklets, CriticalStandards, and/or other secure materials should be placed and stored in such asecure area at all times, until the test administration, thereby protectingexamination materials from damage, theft, misplacement, and conditions thatmight reveal examination content.It is essential that materials for the examination be kept confidential and secureat all times.b. Ideally, only the examination materials to be administered for the sessionshould be brought into the examination room. If this is not possible, thematerials for all sessions may be brought into the examination room, but theymust be kept segregated as much as possible to ensure only those materialsmeant for a particular examination session are used.c. All examination materials not in use must be isolated from the candidates andunder constant surveillance by a proctor throughout the examination. Thecarton(s) containing the specific examination booklet to be administeredshould be opened under secure conditions, and only the number ofexamination booklets needed should be removed. All examination bookletsand/or Critical Standards should be returned to secure storage after eachsession.NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 7 of 85

d. Examination booklets must be used only once, and shipped back to SMTwithin one business day following the final day of Examinationadministration.e. Photocopying, scanning, or any other duplication of any examination bookletor Critical Standards is strictly prohibited and considered a breach ofexamination security.f. No one, other than the Examination Administrators, Examination RoomSupervisors, Proctors, and specifically authorized staff assisting with theexamination may have access to the examination booklets and/or CriticalStandards. Examination staff (or any other personnel) is not permitted toinspect or review the contents of an examination booklet. (Exception: If anerror or defect in an examination booklet is reported during the examination,an Examination Administrator may open and inspect the examinationbooklet.) Any other exceptions to this policy must have prior authorizationfrom NIC. Any suspected breach in security must be immediately reported toNIC & SMT.g. Each examination booklet is shipped sealed. Never break the seal on anexamination booklet. Seals may only be broken by candidates after they haveread and signed the Examination Rules and Security Agreement on the answersheet and are verbally instructed to do so.ii. Ordering, Receiving, Accounting, and Storing NIC Theory ExaminationMaterialsAll examination materials must be ordered from SMT at a minimum of 30 days inadvance of the examination date. Receiving, Accounting, and Storing of ExaminationMaterials are critical components to ensure the security of the Examination Materials andthe procedures contained herein must be strictly adhered to at all times.a. The Examination Administrator must submit a NIC Examination MaterialsOrder Form (Appendix Q) to SMT at a minimum of 30 days prior to theexamination date to request required examination administration materials.The “Date Order Needed By:” should be at least three days prior to the date ofthe examination administration. The form must also indicate the number ofexamination booklets, answer sheets, CIBS, and Test Administration Manualsneeded.b. The examination materials will be shipped from SMT via traceable securecarrier to the authorized Examination Administrator.c. Immediately upon receipt of the examination materials, the ExaminationNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 8 of 85

Administrator must inspect the shipping container(s) to ascertain if thecondition of the container is satisfactory and the container seals appear to beintact. If the containers are opened or damaged, the ExaminationAdministrator must contact the Vault Supervisor at SMT immediately at 800556-0484 and complete and send a NIC Examination Incident Report (seeAppendix K).d. The Examination Administrator uses the enclosed SMT Packing List (seeAppendix M) to verify the contents listed are actually contained within theshipping container received. Additionally, the Examination Administratorshould ensure that all of the items below, if requested, are present. Thisverification should be done immediately upon delivery of materials. Theshipment may include:1. Examination Administration Manual(s), examination booklets, answersheets, and practical score sheets.2. Written Examination Seating Chart(s) (see Appendix A) to aid inrandomized seating.3. NIC Restroom Roster(s) (see Appendix B) for candidates to sign in andout when using the restroom.4. NIC Examination Supervisors, Proctors Staff or any other DesigneeAffidavit of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure. (see Appendix E)5. NIC Secure Materials/Examination Incident Report. (see Appendix K)6. SMT Packing List(s) (see Appendix M) -- which describes the materialssent in this particular shipment, listing an individual booklet number foreach examination shipped.7. SMT Inventory Report(s) (see Appendix O) -- which describes theinventory that is currently in your state’s possession, including the currentshipment.8. SMT Discrepancy Form(s) (see Appendix P) -- that you will use to reportany shipping or inventory discrepancies.e. If the shipping container(s) and the content of the containers do not show anyevidence of having been tampered with, the Examination Administratorshould open the container and proceed to use the enclosed Packing List toverify every individual item in the container(s). Every examination booklet isindividually and uniquely numbered, and must be accounted for by its uniquenumber at the time it is received. After the Examination Administrator hasNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 9 of 85

verified that every booklet contained in the shipment matches the PackingList, he or she will complete and sign the Shipment Receipt Confirmationsection of the SMT Packing List, and fax it to the SMT Vault Monitor at 727734-9578 (see Appendix M). If a discrepancy between materials received andthe Packing List is found, the Examination Administrator must complete theSMT Discrepancy Form (see Appendix P) and fax it to the SMT VaultMonitor.f. The Examination Administrator must also review the SMT Inventory Report(see Appendix O) and be certain current inventory levels are reflectedaccurately. If there are any discrepancies, the Examination Administrator mustcomplete and fax the Discrepancy Form to the SMT Vault Monitor at 727734-9578.g. During unpacking, Examination Administrators, Examination RoomSupervisors, Proctors, or authorized staff must never break any seals on theexamination booklets.h. After being inventoried, the examination booklets must be locked in a secureroom or other secure location at all times, with controlled access. Only theExamination Administrator should have access to the secure room. Allauthorized people assisting with the examination must be reminded of theimportance of safeguarding the confidential nature of the examinationmaterials before, during, and after the examination administration. In theevent that examination materials are lost or compromised between the timethe examination materials are received at the specified shipment locationlisted on the Examination Order Form, and the time SMT confirms receipt ofthe materials when they are returned to SMT, the Examination Administratorwill be held accountable.i. Examination booklets may only be retained in the state/vendor inventory for amaximum of six (6) months. It is the Examination Administrator’sresponsibility to verify that all booklets are accounted for at all times. Uponreceipt of returned examination materials, SMT will send an updatedInventory Report to the Examination Administrator, indicating theexamination booklets SMT’s records reflect that the state/vendor has in itsinventory. If a recent inventory list has not been provided, an updatedinventory list can be requested by emailing NIC@smttest.com.j. The Examination Administrator must account for examination bookletsseveral times before and during the examination administration session,immediately following the examination session, and at the time of shipmentfor return to SMT. At least six (6) inventory verifications of the booklets willNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 10 of 85

be completed during the time the examinations are in the state oradministrator’s possession, which are described below:(i) Immediately upon receipt of examination materials.(ii) Inventory verification upon arrival at examination site.(iii) After materials have been distributed to candidates.(iv) Before candidates are dismissed from the examination room.(v) At the conclusion of administration.(vi) When preparing materials for return to the appropriate agency orSMT.3. Return Shipment of Theory Examination MaterialsAll used examination materials should be returned to SMT no later than the first business dayafter the administration of the examination. Examination answer sheets and booklets must bereturned in two separate shipments, as described below:It is extremely important the examination materials are shipped in containers strongenough to hold examination materials that will not break open, to prevent examinationsfrom being compromised.A. Shipment One: Answer Sheets, Examination Rosters, and Seating ChartsThis shipment must be sent by traceable means, such as UPS, Federal Express, etc. U.S.First Class Mail is NOT acceptable, as this provides no means to track packages. Theservice you select will determine processing and reporting response times. For fasterscore report processing, we recommend using express or overnight services.Answer sheets should be arranged and sorted by examination type.A copy of the examination roster and seating chart is placed on top of the appropriateanswer sheets. If more than one category of written examinations were administered atthe same time, only one roster is required. Separate administrations require a copy of theadministration roster with the answer sheets attached for each administration. Theseexamination rosters are very important. If candidates incorrectly bubble their answersheet, the roster will enable processing personnel to correct the problem and provideaccurate scoring information.Ensure that the person or department receiving the answer sheets is clearly identified onthe shipping label, as follows:NIC Data ProcessingSchroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc.25400 US Highway 19 North, Suite 285NIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 11 of 85

Clearwater, Florida 33763(727) 738-8727B. Shipment Two: Examination BookletsExamination booklets should be shipped by a ground traceable means such as UPS,Federal Express, etc. U.S. First Class Mail is NOT acceptable, as this provides nomeans to track packages. Please specify that a signature is required upon receipt.After the materials are verified, the Examination Administrator must complete a packinglist or detailed inventory of the examination booklets being shipped. This inventoryshould at a minimum include all return shipment inventory booklet numbers, to beincluded with the examination booklets. Once SMT receives the booklet shipment andverifies the return shipment, an updated Inventory Report will be sent to the examinationadministrator and/or state, indicating the examination booklets SMT’s records reflect arecurrently in the state’s inventory.4. Requesting, Receiving, and Returning of Practical Examination CriticalStandardsThe states and vendors will have access to PDF versions of all critical standards they administervia their prospective portal on the SMT FTP site. The critical standards are marked by watermarkspecific to each state or NIC approved vendor. Each copy must be numbered and loggedimmediately. All watermarked copies that are downloaded or copied are the sole responsibility ofthat state or vendor, and must be inventoried and accounted for on the log whether they currentlyexist or have been destroyed. All inventory sheets must be provided to NIC upon request.5. Practical Examination Grading via Electronic System ExaminationSecurity RequirementsWhen using an electronic means of collecting Examiner grading marks such as the PracticalAssessment Delivery System (PADS) or Tablet System, the delivery software will meet thefollowing security requirements: Communication with SMT servers is through HTTPSAll examination and Critical Standards content is encrypted on device/equipmentThe duplication functions are disabled (e.g.: copy-paste, print screen, image capture, etc.)No printer, external drive(s), or email capabilityNo connectivity to other third-party software programs or a remote device from the desktopor browserScreen capture capability is disabledNo access to the file system, internal drive or any networked external driveProxy service through the computer and or browser is disabledAll combination keystrokes are disabled when inside the testing engineNIC Examination Administration ManualRev.10.2018Page 12 of 85

The administrator is required to maintain the security of the NIC practical examination CriticalStandards content and ensure that all equipment used to collect Examiner grading marks must bestored and maintained in a secure location. (See Section 2 A 1 a)6. Computer Based Testing (CBT) Station Examination SecurityRequirementsThe vendor is required to maintain the security of the NIC test forms and individual testquestions including but not limited to the following: Each examination must be scrambled on the fly in its entirety per administrationNo caching of tests at test stationThe duplication functions are disabled (e.g.: copy-paste, print screen, image

of State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. (NIC). It is intended for use by approved states or vendors of the NIC only. All other uses of this manual are prohibited. NIC customers may copy forms in this manual for use in the administration of NIC's Examination program.

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