What we learned at TAC

Members of NCRA's Test Advisory Committee. Karyn Menck attended remotely.

Members of NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee. Karyn Menck attended remotely.

By Chris Willette

The Test Advisory Committee (TAC) met June 8-11 at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va., to work on test creation for upcoming online testing opportunities. As Board liaison, I was fortunate to attend and participate in the process.

TAC is supported by two other committees: the Skills Test Writing Committee and Written Knowledge Test Committee. The volunteers of these three groups work all year long to provide vetted questions for the Written Knowledge Tests as well as “takes” for the Skills Tests of the NCRA certification programs.

Along with the work of TAC comes the opportunity to learn new things and share ideas about briefs and theories. There is also a lot of laughter along the way. Once we realized that there was so much valuable information, we decided to keep a list of what we thought members might not know.

Hint: We learned these things while preparing future tests. You might want to pay attention!

  • X-ray as a noun is capitalized; as a verb, Merriam-Webster shows it with no capitalization.
  • Pawnshop is one word.
  • Dumpster is capitalized.
  • Canceling/cancelling and traveling/travelling are both acceptable as correct spellings.
  • Curveball is one word.



central STRAL
Central Avenue STRAEF
exchange CH
good evening GAOENG
good luck GLUCK
good morning GORNG
greater weight of the evidence GRAEFD
keep in mind KAOEMD
iPad P*AD
iPhone FO*EN
iPod P*OD
off the top of my head FOPD
pain and suffering PUFRG
text message TEJ
volunteer VO


Brief groupings

aware WAUR
aware of WAUFR
are you aware RAUR
are you aware of RAUFR
are you aware of the RAUFRT
were you aware WRAUR
were you aware of WRAUFR
were you aware of the WRAUFRT
left arm LARM
right arm RARM
left leg LLG
right leg RLG
shoulder SHOURLD
left shoulder LOURLD
right shoulder ROURLD


Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, is the 2016-2017 NCRA President-Elect and a freelance reporter in Wausau, Wis. She can be reached at cwillette2@gmail.com.


Members of TAC produce record number of tests in two days

TAC2Members of NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee met in early June at the association’s headquarters in Vienna, Va., to review questions for the Registered Diplomate Reporter certification written knowledge test as well as write material for skills tests for various certifications.

During the meeting, TAC members considered materials submitted by members of the NCRA Content Committee, as well as previously submitted materials that had not been reviewed. Over two days, members successfully gauged skill tests difficulty by writing the tests on their machines, verified word and syllable counts, and marked test for mandatory punctuation, successfully identifying matter for 33 new skills tests for NCRA certifications.

“We divided some of the tasks, such as counting and punctuation, among some TAC members while others dictated material to other members to take down on their machines. I think this is one reason why we accomplished so much beyond the obvious fact that we just worked really, really hard over four days,” said Russell L. Page, Jr., a freelance reporter from Washington, D.C., and co-chair of TAC.

TAC1“I appreciated the commitment shown by each TAC member to get through as many tests as they did,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Director of Professional Development Programs and staff liaison to TAC. “NCRA sends a special thank you to members John Eby and Brenda Fauber, who have served for more than 10 years on TAC and will be rolling off the committee next year.”

John Eby, RDR, CRR, is a freelance reporter from El Paso, Texas, and Brenda Fauber, RDR, CRR, CPE, is an official court reporter from Omaha, Neb.

TAC is one of several committees that operate under NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters. CAPR is responsible for the development and administration of continuing education programs, credential examinations, and any additional programs assigned by the Board of Directors. CAPR also works with NCRA staff and others as necessary to develop resources that allow court reporters to prepare for NCRA exams. Additionally, CAPR oversees the appeal process for lost certifications, and it documents policies and procedures for reinstatements, testing appeals, and all other necessary activities.

TAC meets to write and review tests in January and in June of each year.