First-Ever National Medical Interpreter Certification Exams Validated and Administered by PSI

Industry-Leading Provider of Professional Testing and Certification Credentialing Services Releases Report Confirming National Certification Exams Meet Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence
By: National Board Certification Medical Interpreters
April 28, 2010 - PRLog -- Washington DC – (April 28, 2010) – The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters has finalized the first-ever national certification program with the release of a Technical Standards Review and Validation Report by leading professional testing and certification credentialing services provider PSI. The report, which can be downloaded at, documents that the National Board’s oral and written exams required to be credentialed as a “Certified Medical Interpreter” (CMI) in a specific language meet the standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999), and that the overall process of national medical interpreter certification adheres to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence’s (ICE) best practice standards.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.  President Clinton’s Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency” issued in 2000, attempted to clarify and strengthen the language access implications of Title VI, but it left gaps in structure and enforcement. Today, with a validated national examination to certify medical interpreters, health care providers finally have a national standard to ensure the competency of their interpreters and eradicate miscommunications between health care providers and limited-English speaking patients that lead to misdiagnosis and improper medical treatment.

“I am excited that National Certification for Medical Interpreters is finally a reality,” said Angela Suescun-Lampe, Director, Linguistic & Cultural Services, Franciscan Hospital for Children. “This marks a big step forward in our field to ensure a high and consistent level of quality. National certification will make the process of screening medical interpreters much easier, especially for small hospitals with limited staff interpreters.”

“Medical interpreters have long awaited the development of a national certification and are now able to demonstrate their skills and level of competency to potential employers,” added Habib Serrano-Abedrabbo, a Spanish-language interpreter with 13 years experience in the medical interpreting field.

A rigorous five-pronged scientific methodology was used to develop and validate the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters oral and written exams for CMI designation. This process included:

•   Job Analysis -- In keeping with the National Board’s pledge to develop a national certification “by interpreters, for interpreters”, the oral and written exams were designed with input drawn directly from a national job analysis survey conducted in January 2009.  The job analysis study used a multiple-method approach, incorporating feedback from more than 1,500 practicing professional interpreters, focus groups from around the country and expert judgments from an advisory committee of 44 experienced medical interpreting professionals representing every region of the United States, including active medical interpreters, medical interpreting program managers, and medical interpreter trainers and advocates for health care interpreting.

•   Examination Specifications -- PSI conducted statistical analyses of the responses to the job analysis survey to determine which of the professional activities and knowledge statements qualified for testing on the medical interpreter certification exam. An expert panel convened to review the survey results and confirm the qualifying activities and knowledge statements to be represented in the examination content.

•   Test Item Development and Review -- In accordance with PSI’s guidance and training, panels of subject matter experts were convened to write, review and formally evaluate test items in the oral and written exams to ensure that they are accurate, fair, and relevant to the medical interpreter occupation.

•   Standard Setting -- A recommended minimum passing score (cut score) was established through a standard setting study for each of the oral and written exams. Subject matter experts rated each item using a modified Angoff procedure. PSI staff then conducted analyses of the resulting item bank to derive a recommended cut score for the oral and written exams, designed to ensure safe and competent practice as a medical interpreter.

•   Test Form Construction -- The oral test forms were pilot tested with 300 interpreters and the written test forms were pilot tested with 257 interpreters. Statistical analyses were conducted of the test responses to ensure that the test items had acceptable psychometric properties and to assemble statistically equivalent alternate exam forms. For the oral examination, final test forms were assembled based on the examination specifications above as well as the statistical analysis from the pilot test data, resulting in three equivalent forms. For the written exam, equivalent alternate forms were assembled to meet the test specifications using PSI’s proprietary automated test generation system called FormCastTM.

"We're honored to collaborate with the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters on such a ground breaking initiative,” stated Greg Becker, PSI’s Senior Vice President, Strategy and Market Development. “PSI’s partnership extends beyond the test development and validation effort as we will also provide medical interpreter candidates with a safe and secure computer based test administration of these exams in PSI's Premier PLUS(TM) national network of hundreds of secure proctored test centers located in all 50 of the United States and U.S. territories.”

PSI’s full report, including collected data from each of the above stages of the certification development process, can be downloaded at

About PSI
PSI has over 60 years of experience providing solutions to corporations, professional associations and government regulatory agencies. PSI offers a comprehensive solutions approach from test development to delivery to results processing, including pre-hire employment selection, managerial assessments, licensing and certification tests, license Management services and professional services. More information is available at

About the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters is a non-profit organization, formed from an independent group of industry professionals that represent all key stakeholder groups including professional medical interpreters, trainers, employers, providers, and regulators. The National Board serves as the certifying entity and has independent authority over all essential certification decisions. The purpose of certification is to ensure limited English proficiency patient safety by evaluating and assuring the competency of medical interpreters. The formation and structure of the National Board of Certification adheres to the standards and requirements for certification program governance mandated by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) - formerly NOCA. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Elena Langdon
Source:National Board Certification Medical Interpreters
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Tags:Interpreter, Medical, Interpretation, Certification, Language, National Certification, Healthcare, Health Care
Industry:Government, Health, Medical
Location:District of Columbia - District of Columbia - United States
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