As we enter the new 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give all of the membership an update as to what changes to expect this season. The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting working on implementing the changes that were discussed and voted on by the District Referee’s-in-Chief to the registration, testing and online seminar programs.
First, there will be an informational video available BEFORE an official registers with USA Hockey that will outline the requirements and commitment that an individual will have to make in order to complete their registration. Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar an official will have to FIRST register as an official online nationally with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar. This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached. This change will hopefully provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official and for a seminar to attend that seminar and complete their registration requirements.
The open book testing process has also been modified starting with the new season. A Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those passing scores are for a Level 1 official is 35 and for Level 3 & 4 – 90 for each.
While an official is actually taking the open book exam there will be immediate feedback after each submitted question is answered. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language. After completing all of the required questions for the level applied for, a summary will be sent of all of the missed questions with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained then the open book exam requirement will be complete. If the result is a failing score then the official will also receive a summary of the missed questions with rule references. After the 7 day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were missed on their first open book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule. An example would be if an official missed 12 questions their retake exam would only contain 12 questions on the rule references that they originally missed. Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to their original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade at the level they applied for. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open book exam.
During the Winter Meeting, the Officials Section spent a lot of time discussing the feedback that a lot of you submitted about the seminar program particularly regarding the online modules. All of the feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted. Two ‘work groups’ were established to address the new classroom curriculum and to improve the online video modules. Both ‘work groups’ were composed of grass roots members who could bring a grass roots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculum have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.
We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases. Lastly as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are for Level 1 registered officials – 60 days and for Levels 2, 3, & 4 – 45 days. If all of the online required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program.
This completion requirement was put in place by the District RIC’s to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to add better continuity to the overall seminar education process.
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:
Register online with USA Hockey
Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level
Complete their required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
Pass their open exam at their registration level
Pass their closed book exam (no closed book at Level 1) for their registration level
Complete their online ‘Safe Sport’ training at the end of every 2 year cycle
Work will continue on improving our educational programs and we will continue to actively listen to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community we cannot continue to move forward. Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process. Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step we are taking. We can only be as good as you want us and yourself to be.
Have a great 2015-16 season and as always “skate hard and have fun” when you’re on the ice.