March 2009 – CCO mobile crane written exams are now available nationwide via computer, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has announced.
Both full mobile crane core and specialty exams, as well as recertification exams (18 exams in all), are being offered through more than 250 test sites nationwide operated by PSI/LaserGrade, a Burbank, CA based specialist provider of computer-based testing (CBT). Paper-and-pencil exams will continue to be offered through International Assessment Institute (IAI), Clearwater, FL.
Features of the new testing option include ease of scheduling, the ability for candidates to apply online, and immediate score reporting at the test site, said Chairman of NCCCO’s Written Exam Management Committee, J.R. Williams. “We’re excited that NCCCO has been able to use this technology to expand the testing options available to candidates who wish to demonstrate their knowledge through its professionally-developed and nationally accredited certification program.”
“As a nonprofit organization working for the benefit of the industry as well as the general public, NCCCO will continue to pursue its mission of ensuring a qualified workforce is available for the purpose of improving the safety of all those who work in and around cranes,” Williams added.
The announcement of nationwide CBT availability of CCO mobile crane exams follows a year of successful pilot testing in California, explained NCCCO’s Executive Director, Graham Brent. CBT has also been available for several months in West Virginia, where NCCCO provides testing for the state’s licensing requirement.
“NCCCO has carefully weighed the pros and cons of CBT since the late 1990s,” said Commission Chairman, Kerry Hulse. “With the new process, candidates can schedule a test within a matter of days of their application, and they leave the testing room with their scores in hand,” said Hulse.
“IAI has designed the online application process to be as “user-friendly” as possible,” said IAI President, Anthony Mitchell, PhD. “Candidates are now able to apply for the exams they wish to take, and pay for them, with a few clicks of a mouse,” said Mitchell. Scheduling of tests is done with PSI/LaserGrade over the phone, he noted.
Bob Hornauer, NCCCO’s Manager of Test Integrity, pointed out that the security of the tests would in no way be compromised even though they would be delivered by computer. “PSI/LaserGrade uses a state-of-the-art encryption system,” Hornauer said, “and the test administrations are proctored in the same manner as written tests.” The question delivery process still permits candidates to scroll back and forth to review their responses, he added.
Brent stressed that NCCCO had no intention of abandoning its traditional test delivery system. “Paper-and-pencil test administrations have worked well for us since 1996, and still have their place in all CCO certification programs,” Brent noted. “The contract with PSI/LaserGrade means we can now offer the best of both worlds, since candidates can now select the delivery system—electronic or paper-and-pencil— that best meets their needs.”
NCCCO’s CBT webpage at http://www.nccco.org/nccco/frequently-asked-questions/computer-based-testing provides answers to frequently asked questions, and links to registration areas.