Pre-conference training workshop helps assessors refine consistency when reviewing applications

Hailing from 14 states and Canada, 15 Assessors for the IREC Credentialing Program spent nine hours over two days in an intensive, interactive training session in Albany recently, just ahead of the 5th national Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference.  With 38 applications in the queue, and 32 Letters of Intent pending, this gathering offered IREC’s assessors the perfect opportunity to look at practical examples and approaches for consistency when reviewing applications for the IREC ISPQ credential.

“As we require our candidates for the IREC ISPQ credential to follow the principles of continuous improvement and continuing education, we ask our assessors to do the same,” said Kristen Ferguson, IREC’s Manager of Assessor Training and Development.  This gathering of the assessors, the first ever face-t0-face meeting, is in addition to quarterly training required to be an IREC Assessor.

“The pre-conference training workshop was time well spent in developing my skills as an IREC ISPQ Assessor,” said assessor Beth Piggush. “The program built upon the variety of expertise (technical and academic) all the assessors hold and successfully focused our role to look objectively at the ISPQ applications.”

IREC’s assessors are a select group of individuals experienced in renewable energy and energy efficiency who have a strong interest in supporting high quality, effective training programs.

Assessors play a key role in ensuring the quality and accuracy of the IREC ISPQ evaluation process. Through a practice of thorough review, they ensure that applicants for accreditation or certification actually meet the IREC ISPQ Standard 01022: 2011. Assessors work with candidates through an ongoing exchange to ensure that they meet all the components of the IREC ISPQ Standard before recommending them to the Award Committee, which makes the final decision on award.

According to Ferguson, certain requirements of the Standard can prove challenging for the assessors.  “Evaluating evidence supplied by instructors of their experience, both practical/hands-on and classroom hours, is one of those areas where our assessors often have questions.”

As Ferguson, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, and Diane DePuydt went through the Standard, they engaged the Assessors through hands-on exercises when reviewing curriculum and evaluating instructor experience, as well as other requirements of the Standard.

“I found the Assessor Training very helpful in clarifying the process of candidate evaluations, said assessor Stephen Michael Self.  “Meeting other assessors in-person and discussing ways of approaching and simplifying the process is invaluable.

Candidates play a big role in the length of time for their application to be reviewed and approved.  “The speed with which we can turn applications around really depends on the quality of the application we receive,” said Ferguson, “and IREC’s Guidance documents are really helping our candidates submit a more complete application and be more efficient with the assessment process.”

Ferguson stressed the importance of the relationship between a candidate and an assessor.  “When I review their application, I get a clear sense of their commitment to the process. I really appreciate all the work that went into their application.”

Though IREC’s ISPQ Assessors meet regularly via conference calls, there’s nothing like a face-t0-face to connect and share experiences and expertise.

“It was and will continue to be important to bring the assessors together to share best practices,” said Piggush. “Each of us serves as an independent 3rd party assessor but this workshop will help us to work more consistently between applications (plus actually meeting ALL the IREC administrative staff in person was a real treat).

Interested in applying for the IREC ISPQ Credential? Here’s a good place to start, or you can always contact the Credentialing Team directly at 518.621.7379