Q. What do I need to do to become an RP under the new system?
In brief, successfully complete three steps:
- Step One: Seven online untimed 40-question quizzes, each of which evaluates the ability to apply a different category of commonly used parliamentary rules, and an eighth “open book” quiz of 25 timed questions that evaluates a candidate’s ability during a meeting to quickly look up and advise how to apply less commonly used rules.
- Step Two: Several written assignments (all “open book”) demonstrating skill in performing the things a parliamentarian should be able to do outside of meetings, like drafting bylaw amendments, answering parliamentary questions, providing workshops, and preparing scripts.
- Step Three: The capstone: serving as parliamentarian during a meeting simulation.
Q. How long should the process take?
With the possibility of extensions in certain circumstances, RP candidates have:
–365 days to successfully complete Step One, with no more than two months between parts;
–365 days after completing Step One to successfully complete Step Two; and
–180 days after completing Step Two to successfully complete Step Three.
These are outside limits, and it is anticipated that most candidates will be able to complete the process in much less time.
Q. If at first I don’t succeed, may I try, try again?
Yes. For each part in all of the Steps, there are at least 3 versions.
During Step One, each part of which will be automatically graded by the online software (a “learning management system” called Schoology), if you don’t get at least 34 of the 40 questions right (20 of the 25 for Part 8), you will be encouraged to take a second version after going over what you got wrong and doing some extra study. (The software will tell you the correct answers for the questions you missed.) If needed, you’ll have still another opportunity with the third version.
For Step Two, you’ll be working with evaluators who will give you feedback, and as needed provide you with repeated opportunities to succeed part by part.
For Step Three, you’ll get feedback from evaluators, and if you don’t successfully complete the first meeting simulation, there will be two additional different versions available to give you other chances.
Q. What’s different from the old Registration Exam in what will be tested under the new system?
First, while the old exam was designed to test knowledge of all the rules in RONR, Step One of the new system expects candidates to know from memory only a specified subset of those rules that the Commission judged would be most commonly used in ordinary meetings. Moreover, the focus is on evaluating the ability to apply, rather than just know, the rules being tested.
Second, while under the old system the RP exam was to test book knowledge and the PRP evaluation process was to deal with the practical ability to serve as a parliamentarian, we know that many RPs are in fact serving clients, even when not for pay. Consequently, Steps Two and Three have been constructed to cover important aspects of actually providing services as a parliamentarian (for ordinary meetings in common circumstances, while the PRP evaluation will cover more challenging and unusual parliamentary situations).
Q. Why so many parts? Will the new RP system be harder than the old one?
When people are being taught a new skill or body of knowledge, such as when attending classes, normally the process occurs unit-by-unit. A manageable portion is studied, followed by a quiz on it, and that is followed by another manageable portion building on the first. This step-by-step process is how we generally learn, rather than by studying a whole subject and then taking a “final exam” on it.
The new system breaks down what an RP is expected to master into small portions, and gives multiple opportunities to acquire mastery of each part, if needed, before moving on to the next part. While for most candidates the new system will take longer than the nine-month period allotted to successfully complete the prior RP exam, the Commission is convinced that the new step-by step process will in fact make it easier for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the needed mastery than under the old system.
While preliminary, there are some empirical data to support this conviction: in beta testing to date, on average about 85% have been successfully completing each part of what will be the new route to RP status, a percentage significantly higher than under the prior RP exam.
Q. How do I prepare?
First, learn exactly what will be subject to being tested. As an overview, the Criteria for Credentialing document provides a full listing of the Performance Expectations, with page and often line references to the portions of RONR and other materials knowledge and application of which will be tested.
In addition, the Performance Expectations have been divided according to which of them will be tested for each part. As an illustration, see “What Will Be Tested: Part 1 Motions in General and Main Motions.” (The rest of these documents for each part will be included in an updated version of the “Criteria for Credentialing” document that will be available at the 2019 convention; they are also available on Schoology once one has applied and been given sign-on credentials.)
Second, you may also practice with samples of the sort of questions you will find on the Step One tests.
Third, for Steps Two and Three public scoring rubrics will be available, as well as other helpful information.
Q. How do I start?
By August 1, 2019, an application form will be available on the NAP website. The NAP Board of Directors, as recommended by the Commission, has maintained the RP application fee at $150.
Q. I’ve already started the old Registration Examination. Will I be permitted to obtain an RP by successfully completing that?
Anyone who has successfully completed at least 2 parts of the old registration exam — other than the research (open book) part— by midnight local time July 31, 2019 will be permitted to attain RP status by successfully completing the rest of the old exam within the time limitations set for it by the Membership and Registration Examiners Committee.
For further information see “Rules Governing Requirements to Qualify for Registered Membership in the National Association of Parliamentarians” and the Criteria for Credentialing document.