Inspection & Testing of Fire Alarm Systems Development

Fire Alarm

NICET has undertaken development of this certification because the messages and feedback that we have received from technicians, contractors, and code officials compellingly told us of the importance of I&T certification to each of those groups – and to the public that they serve.

Call for Volunteers 

To make this program a reality will require many individuals steppping forward to help out.

What help is needed?  Exams must be developed for two levels of I&T certification, with most work being planned for the first half of 2015.  Well-qualified individuals are needed to write test questions and to review and evaluate questions.  Practicing inspectors are also needed to help set the passing score for the completed tests.

Note: See more details below the application form.

What is involved in question writing?

Question-writing will be carried out online, using a secure application configured for this purpose.  Each writer must attend an online training session that will cover question-writing procedures and standards, use of the test blueprint, and use of the online application.  Topics and numbers of questions will be assigned during and after the training session, with consideration of individual preferences whenever possible.

Who can be a question-writer? 

First of all, they must be technically qualified: technicians or engineers with at least five years of working with fire alarm systems, including significant experience with periodic inspections.  Good writers tend to be people who like to think about the best way to do things and why.  They enjoy being creative; take pride in their level of knowledge and skill; and usually like explaining how to do things.  They are open to new ideas and welcome explanations of better ways that may come from someone else.  (Some/most question-writers will also participate in review.)

What is involved in question review?

Question-review is planned as a group activity that would require travel to the meeting site (probably NICET headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia).  All test questions must be reviewed and approved by a review group before they can be used on a certification exam.

Who can be a question-reviewer?

Most question-writers also serve as reviewers (though not of their own questions). The qualifications are similar to those for writers.

What is involved in setting the passing score?

“Standard-setting” is a group activity that will probably be conducted at NICET’s offices (Alexandria, Virginia).  The process involves comparing each test question with the level of knowledge and skill expected of a newly certified individual and rating questions accordingly.  Training is provided and participants spend some time talking through the concept of “expected level of knowledge and skill”.  After the group discussion, participants rate the questions individually.  NICET staff analyzes the ratings to develop the passing score.  (This process is known as a “modified Angoff”.)

Who can help set the passing score?

The primary requirement for this important activity is that the individual’s work is primarily periodic inspections of fire alarm systems.  Work experience must be at least equivalent to the certification level of the exam.  The individual may not have participated in writing or reviewing questions for the test.

Note for Trainers: NICET’s policy is to maintain a separation between certification and training.  People who participate in test blueprinting, question-writing, question-reviewing, or passing score-setting for a NICET certification exam may not be involved in developing or conducting formal training sessions, or in preparing formal training publications or materials related to that exam either currently, or for a period of two years after the end of their test design/development activity.