“Icing” – Can You Take the Pressure?

Imagine you’re the field-goal kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.  But Tom Brady hasn’t worked enough magic to where you’re miles ahead and coasting to victory.  Instead, he’s led you to two quick touchdowns to bring you back from 16 points down.  But you’re still down by two points and there are two seconds left on the clock at the end of the game.  You’re about to kick the field goal.  Your kick will be the last play of the game.  Your kick will decide who wins/who loses.  Whether you make or miss the kick may determine the entire course of the rest of your career.  It may ultimately determine whether you can send your kids to college.

The Bucs are all lined up … you’re on the field, and the ball’s about to be snapped for you to make the kick that will decide the game.

The Chiefs call time-out.

Okay.  Now you know that you have to wait two more minutes to kick the biggest field goal of your life.

After the two minutes, the Bucs get all set up again for you to kick the field goal.

But the Chiefs have one more time-out left.  So, they call a time out AGAIN!!!

Now you know you’re going to have to wait two more minutes.  But you do have certainty.  The biggest kick of your career will happen 120 seconds from now.

Of course, the whole time that this is going on, you know that the outcome of everything that you and your teammates have worked for the entire season hinges on this one kick.  You know that, either way, Bucs’ fans will be talking about this until they die.  You’re the kicker.  You’re going to kick.  You’re the only person.  You practiced this a million times.

You … can … do … it!  But can you???  The Chiefs have given you four minutes to face every fear you’ve ever had of failing.

In football this is known as “icing the kicker.“

Icing the kicker is designed to give the kicker jitters.  To put more – and hopefully unbearable — pressure on the kicker.  The “goal” is to make the kicker doubt himself and miss the biggest kick of his life.  The “goal” is to have the kicker fail the biggest test of his professional career.

But … when it comes to a person being put under pressure in the face of the biggest test of their career, it’s way better to be an NFL kicker than a stenographic reporter.

How so?

Well, all of us here at WUNCRA have received countless complaints about NCRA’s testing system.  And based on what we’ve heard, NCRA’s testing system sets up test-takers for failure.  Because it sets up an “icing-the-test-taker” situation that is infinitely worse than anything that’s ever been done to an NFL kicker.

For example, we’ve heard almost innumerable complaints from test-takers with confirmed, designated testing times having to wait for prolonged periods for a proctor to even begin the procedures.

And we’re not talking about waiting just two minutes or even four minutes. Actually, we’re not talking about waiting a specified known period of time.  No, our test-takers have to wait until the proctor shows up, or until the proctor fixes technical glitches that are totally on the proctor’s end, and then our valiant test-taking reporter – after having been “iced” for 93 minutes and 18 seconds – is told that they must test RIGHT NOW!

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our opinion that what NCRA, Proctor U and Realtime Coach are doing goes  W-A-Y beyond “icing the test-taker.”  What they’re doing is just plain cruel.

Test-takers often NEED these tests to even work as reporters.  Federal reporters need to have certain certification designations to advance in pay grades.  So, we’re potentially talking about NCRA, Proctor U and Realtime Coach ending – or at least delaying – a career before it even gets started. Or we’re talking about them dealing a potentially devastating financial blow to a reporter mid-career.  So thoughtful.  Not!

Consider this.  If testing was done in mass groups (like it used to be), and not one at a time, NCRA, Proctor U and Realtime Coach would NEVER be able to get away with this.  They’re only able to do this because they can hide behind testing one person at a time.  Destroying one career at a time.  Destroying one person’s mental health at a time.

If they “iced” 100 people set to take a test at the same time, the outcry would be unbearable and NCRA would fix testing. And now that this has been pointed out, NCRA — if it cares about reporters’ livelihoods and mental health — needs to fix testing NOW!

So the question becomes: Does NCRA care?  If they do, this is the last time that we should ever hear about this problem.

Because – and this bears repeating — the way that testing is being conducted right now is way beyond cruel. It’s one thing for a reporter to be upset about not passing a test.  But it’s an entirely different and totally unacceptable thing for reporters to be reduced to tears because of the incompetent and uncaring way their tests are administered.

NCRA needs to end the incompetence and cruelty and fix testing NOW!

Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

P.S.  THANK YOU to all the test-takers who’ve reached out to bring this incompetence and cruelty to light.

P.P.S.  We know that what we’ve briefly talked about here is the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and as we get more details we will write more until this gets fixed. And, yes, we know that this is a painful process. But if we don’t speak up so that NCRA hears a room full of 100 test-takers screaming at them, this won’t get fixed.  So please keep sending us your stories.

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