The importance of an independent national examination

The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) is the first and only psychometrically valid national home inspector examination.

Membership organizations and for-profit companies have inherent conflicts of interest in providing exams for public protection. Trade and professional organizations are focused on the agendas and market concerns of dues-paying members. For-profit entities may have a bias toward generating revenue rather than protecting the consumer and enhancing the home inspection profession.

Because EBPHI does not depend on membership dues revenue, it is free to focus wholly on consumer protection in home inspector competency assessment.

Since its creation in 1999, the NHIE has been recognized as the gold standard for valid, reliable, knowledge-based examination for home inspectors.

A National Standard

The NHIE is used in 32 states and several Canadian provinces for the purpose of professional regulation. It is also the required examination of the nation’s only NCCA accredited home inspector certification program. The NHIE assures the state and, more importantly, the public that individuals have met a level of competence, knowledge and practice sufficient to protect the consumer.

The total number of National Home Inspector Exams administered in the US in 2018 was over 5,800.

Examination Development

The NHIE is owned and administered by EBPHI, a nonprofit corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors whose only purpose is to develop, maintain and administer a valid, reliable, and legally defensible home inspector competence assessment exam.

Every year, EBPHI spends more than $100,000 to maintain, update and validate the examination to reflect technological advances in the home inspection profession.

EBPHI has conducted five national role delineation studies (job analyses) for the professional home inspector – one in 1999, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2017. Role delineation studies are repeated every three to five years to insure that the resulting test blueprint — the content areas and knowledge, skills and tasks examined—are congruent with current professional practice. Over 1,600 professional home inspectors from all 50 States, Puerto Rico and Canada participated in the 2017 study.

Professional home inspectors from throughout North America who represent the profession along critical dimensions write questions for the National Home Inspector Examination item bank.

These subject matter experts are trained in elements of quality exam question development by professional psychometricians. Each question is reviewed and edited by similarly qualified home inspectors; referenced to an authoritative, published source in the field; validated for importance, criticality, and relevance; and field tested as an unscored item on the exam. This exhaustive process is conducted annually to maintain the highest level of validity and reliability for the NHIE.

Development and scoring of the NHIE adhere to psychometric standards set by relevant organizations, including the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Reliable, Cost-Effective, and Accessible

The cost to develop, implement and maintain a high-stakes, legally defensible examination like the National Home Inspector Examination is considerable. For most states, developing and maintaining a state exam would be cost prohibitive. EBPHI makes the NHIE available at no direct cost to the state, because it is our mission to set the standard for home inspector competency and to assist states in protecting the public. Due to the broad adoption by states of the NHIE, these costs are fully funded by examination fees.

The NHIE is offered at a reasonable cost to examinees at more than 300 testing centers nationwide and in Canada. All centers are equipped with touchscreen computer technology and most are available six days a week. Examinees may register online or by calling a toll-free number.

Critical Dimensions

The National Home Inspector Examination is both valid and reliable, two qualities required for legal defensibility:

  1. Validity means the examination is able to measure what it is supposed to measure.
  2. Reliability is an index of how accurately the examination measures a candidate’s skills.  A test must be both valid and reliable in order for it to be considered a “high-stakes” exam for purposes of public protection.

As a result of these safeguards, the National Home Inspector Examination accurately assesses each candidate’s competence to carry out the required duties of a home inspector.