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Online Testing Offered for Technicians Who Handle Refrigerants

Technicians who handle appliances containing federally regulated refrigerants may take their required certification exams online through Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Under Federal Clean Air Act guidelines, all those who maintain, service or dispose of appliances containing regulated refrigerants must have Section 608 Refrigerant Transition and Recovery certification.

Since May 2001 when Penn College entered into a partnership with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to offer EPA-approved certification training and testing the certification exam has been available in written form only. Several different versions were generated in English and Spanish from the EPA question bank to protect the integrity of the exam. Test proctors waited several days to receive their test booklet, and test candidates waited two or more weeks for their official results.

Now, the exam is available on demand from any Web-accessible computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and proctors and test candidates receive immediate feedback.

Planning for the online site began in September 2001, involving ACCA personnel and College staff from the Technology Transfer Center, Information Technology Services, the office of Distance Learning and the School of Construction and Design Technologies. The site was launched for beta testing in April. Microsoft FrontPage software was used to design the Web pages; Respondus 1.1 and WebCT were used to create the exam. WebCT software resides on a secure server and can be accessed via any Web browser. Respondus is a Windows application that enhances the functionality and usability of WebCT.

With the development of the online test site, proctors receive orders in real time, and test candidates can access and print their unofficial results as soon as their tests are completed and submitted. The turnaround time can be as little as two to three hours.

The Section 608 online exam is located on a secure server accessible with a login name and password unique to each proctor and test candidate. The software used for the project randomizes the entire 334-item EPA question bank each time the test is accessed. This eliminates the necessity of creating and housing more than one version of the exam and protects the integrity of the exam, as well.

For more information about Section 608 certification training and testing, call Deb A.Sanders at Penn College at (570) 327-4775 or e-mail her.

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