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Appears in:
Pages: 543-550
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

ASSESSING COMPETENCIES: THE FLEMISH SYSTEM TO ASSESS AND CERTIFY SOCIAL INTERPRETERS

B. Roels

Junction Migration-Integration (BELGIUM)
Social interpreters (SI) are used by civil and social welfare organizations to increase their accessibility on behalf of non-Dutch speaking immigrants. There are different ways to gain competencies as a SI. One can gain skills through a formal education, but equally through gaining experience informally e.g. as a volunteer. The latter is usually not officially recognized the way a formal degree is. The absence of a degree can be an impediment to develop a SI career. The Social Economic Council of Flanders decided to certify SIs based on their competencies. It published a Competency Profile (CP) forming the basis for the certification exam.
The need for SIs in Flanders has risen considerably. The majority of SIs is from foreign origin. They use their knowledge of foreign languages and Dutch as assets. Traditionally, they started interpreting as non-professionals. The 2009 Flemish Integration Decree declares that public and social services are no longer allowed to use non-certified SIs. Therefore, the Flemish Central Support Cell for Social Interpretation and Translation (COC) started to certify SIs based on competencies. The COC wishes to increase the quality SIs and to certify those experienced non-professionals in order to strengthen their position on the labor market.
Funding to develop and realize the SI certification exams were allotted to the COC by the European Social Fund. Prerequisites for funds were the development of a reliable, objective and valid assessment procedure using the above-mentioned competency profile as the basis for the exam. This CP lists 4 nuclear competencies a SI should master. Each competency is made up of several success criteria. Competencies should be tested by means of performance.
The development of the exam consisted of different steps. The COC analyzed all success criteria and the different methods to test these. The most appropriate were singled out and a preliminary idea for an exam was born. Hence, a number of academics and experts were consulted to give their input. A prototype of the exam was developed to test its inter-rater reliability. The results of both independent juries corresponded for the majority of the tested success criteria. However, a number of these had been interpreted somewhat differently by the 2 different juries. To limit the interpretations of different graders, the Appropriate-Inappropriate Behavior Guide was written. In this Guide the passing behavior for each success criterion is accurately defined. Hereafter the certification exam was finalized.
The COC also pays close attention to the profile and objectivity of the graders. Each jury consists of a chairperson; a grader of Dutch; and 1 or 2 foreign language experts. Detailed profiles are available for each grader and his/her corresponding role. Graders are screened and receive training. They must endorse the graders’ code of ethics. During the exam they use standardized evaluation grids.
To accredit the COC test format, ESF selected a number of experts to evaluate the SI exam. Evaluation criteria were validity, reliability and conformity with the CP. The SI certification exam was evaluated positively. The exam currently consists of 4 parts, i.e. a Dutch and foreign language proficiency test and 2 role-plays.
The consequences of this positive evaluation are quite significant. If another institution in Flanders should desire to become a SI certifying organization, the COC exam must be employed.
@InProceedings{ROELS2012ASS,
author = {Roels, B.},
title = {ASSESSING COMPETENCIES: THE FLEMISH SYSTEM TO ASSESS AND CERTIFY SOCIAL INTERPRETERS},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {543-550}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Roels
TI - ASSESSING COMPETENCIES: THE FLEMISH SYSTEM TO ASSESS AND CERTIFY SOCIAL INTERPRETERS
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 543
EP - 550
ER -
B. Roels (2012) ASSESSING COMPETENCIES: THE FLEMISH SYSTEM TO ASSESS AND CERTIFY SOCIAL INTERPRETERS, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 543-550.
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