Certification Review Process
Reviews, Timing, and Appeals
Once all information has been submitted to WFTDA Officials Certification, the review process can begin.
- Applications for certification are processed in the order in which they are received. After you click “submit,” a Packet Processor will review your packet and prepare it for the Panelists, and ensure that it is complete. When this is done, they will send you an email. At this point, our goal is to have a result to you within 60 days, so please wait at least that long before emailing in to check on its status.
- Applications are evaluated for completeness on the date of application. If you apply on October 3, 2020, that is the date that OOSes, evals, game counts, etc. are “frozen.” New games and new data are not going to be considered in your review.
- There is no expiration date for OOSes, but it is best to have the most up-to-date picture of you so it is best if they are filled out close to your application.
- Evals expire two years after they have been submitted, as performance in one specific game no longer really represents who you are as an official two years later.
Packet preparation. The first step in the process is that a Certification Packet Processor will review your packet to ensure you are qualified to apply, and will collect all of the evaluations and overviews in your record. To verify what is there, use the Who Has Evaluated Me? form. Once the application is verified, your application is placed into a queue.
Processing the queue: Level 1 Applicants. If you have applied for Level 1 Certification, one of our Level 1 Certification Panelists will review your packet when it is your turn. Level 1 applications submitted before yours will be reviewed before yours, based on date of application. Based on the contents of your packet, they have the following options:
- Grant Level 1 Certification. Then they will write your Summary and we will tell you the news!
- Grant Recognition. Then they will write your Summary and we will tell you the news. This means that we did not have enough information to grant Level 1 Certification. It does not mean that you are not operating as a Level 1 Official would, it means that the information in the packet was not sufficient for us to do so.
- Deny. In cases where there are significant concerns about performance or character, for example allowing unsafe play, officiating in a clearly biased manner, breaking or allowing others to break the rules, being a danger on the track due to poor skating skill, or engaging in conduct unbecoming an official (before, during, or after a game), certification may be denied. All “deny” decisions are carefully reviewed by Oversight before they are confirmed.
- Bump. If the Level 1 Panelist thinks you might deserve a higher level than Level 1, they can “bump” your packet to be reviewed by a Level 2-3 Panel. This moves your packet to their queue.
Processing the queue: Level 2 and 3 Applicants, and Bumped Level 1 Applicants. If you were bumped after applying for Level 1 Certification, or if you applied directly for Level 2 or 3 Certification, at least three Level 2/3 Certification Panelists will review your packet in full, take notes, and then bring their notes and opinions to a Panel Meeting video conference. Your packet will be discussed in depth, with all panelists contributing their opinions of the material in the packet.
- All packets are evaluated first at Level 3, regardless of the level applied for. After discussion, all panelists will first vote on whether to grant Level 3 Certification (the highest level). A majority vote of “yes” will result in Level 3 being granted.
- If Level 3 is not granted, they will vote on whether to grant Level 2.
- If Level 2 is not granted, they will vote on whether to grant Level 1.
- If Level 1 is not granted, the packet will be forwarded to Oversight for consideration.
Once a decision is reached, one of the Panelists who was present in the meeting will be chosen to write the Summary. Everybody is considered for the highest level first, so everybody has a chance of certification at the highest level, regardless of what level they applied for.
Summary Review. After a decision is made, the packet is put back into the queue for Summary Review. The Summary is reviewed by an independent source: Another Panelist or a member of Oversight. The Summary Review’s goals are:
- to be sure that it is very clear why certification was granted at the level in question (assessment of strengths)
- to be clear about why a higher level was not granted (assessment of challenges and what information is missing from the packet)
- to be clear about what feedback did or did not block Certification at a higher level
- to be sure that the decision is consistent with the feedback (the level seems right based on the feedback)
- to be sure that the suggestions or feedback are consistent with the many ways that higher levels can be achieved
- to be sure that the summary is respectful, especially when providing constructive feedback
In addition to review by another panelist, every Summary that does not grant the level to which the official applied is also reviewed by a member of Oversight. After Summary Review, when all comments / questions are resolved between the Panelist (author) and Reviewer, the packet is put into the queue for Copy Editing.
Copy Edit. Finally, a Copy Editor will go through the document to ensure that the language is appropriately formal, that pronoun usage is correct and consistent, and to make any last touches in the interest of clarity. At this point it is put into the queue to be sent to the applicant.
Submitting Certification and Feedback. Finally, the Certification decision and Summary Review are sent to the applicant, and we update all of our forms and documents to reflect the new Certification Status.
Common Reasons Higher Certification is Not Granted
The most common reason an official is not granted a “higher” level is that there is not sufficient information in their packet for us to verify that they have proven their performance at the higher level. This is based on what each level means, and the question at hand is whether the packet addresses everything.
For Levels 2 and 3, this is often due to a lack of information about one or two specific officiating roles. An official does not need to perform every role to qualify for Level 3, but the packet needs to show that they have a solid understanding of the role, which can be shown by how they support the role or how the train the role. “Even though I have only seen them ref as IPR, they have helped me become the best Jammer Ref that I can be through their support, their tips and tricks, and their feedback.” Level 2 and 3 officials are expected to get evaluations from games, which are the building blocks of a “complete picture” of the official’s skills. It is rare to grant Level 2 or Level 3 without evaluations. See How to Review an Official for more information.
Illustration of both breadth and depth. Many officials do in fact have roles they don’t like at all. They don’t teach these roles, support these roles, or perform these roles. This is a personal choice and we respect that. However, it prevents certification at Level 3 as it shows that the official does not have full context for officiating. Officials who want to be certified at the highest level need to show full context somehow. Other officials get “stuck” in a role like HR, JR, SBO, and JT, because their league needs them to do that and they are short-staffed. These officials are also invited to show that they understand full context in other ways, such as giving clinics or training in roles beyond the roles they perform. As above, we need evidence of this to be included in the packet, because it is not included in the game history as it would be for an official who works all roles.
Other officials go “broad” instead of “deep,” and the focus on being able to do “anything” may take extra time to go from “adequate” to “good” to “great.” This is fine, but it can delay certification until they have proven that they have “Advanced understanding and consistent execution of at least one role” (for Level 2) or until they are “Exemplary in at least one position” (for Level 3).
For all levels, a lack of examples or specific examples of performance can make us unable to grant a level. “They are a great NSO, I love working with them!” tells us that their performance is appreciated by others, and that they are good to work with. This is important, but it does not tell us whether they are effectively performing their roles, or whether they break down under stress, or whether their expertise is limited to certain roles. Why does this person think the official is “great?” If the reasons are not provided, we may be unable to certify. For higher levels, we also need to see evidence that the official can handle surprising and ambiguous situations effectively.
Flexibility and feedback. For higher levels, officials are expected to be flexible to meet the needs of the venue, the host league, the tournament, and the game. Sometimes this means being asked to change role, change style, change anything. Higher-level Officials are expected to be able to adapt the the game context as well as adapt to gameplay. A big part of this is taking and implementing feedback even when the official disagrees with it. The opposite is also true: When an official provides feedback to others, it should be provided in a way that communicates how the feedback will support gameplay as well as the game. It should always be respectful and it should be provided in a way that the target is prepared to receive. For example, “In this venue two quick whistle blasts can sound like one long whistle blast. Because PLTs have been confused about what is and is not a penalty, I’d like you to have more of a gap between tweets when you call your Jammer as lead.” Higher-level applicants who provide harsh feedback or who refuse to adapt their own style to the needs of the venue, crew, or crew head, may not be certified at the level to which they apply.
People who “bring down” their crew in some way are unlikely to be certified at any level. This includes people whose communication is disrespectful, abusive, or gross, even on accident. It also includes people who make conversation before, during, or after a game that is lewd or bigoted. Certification does not have a “list” of inappropriate behaviors — what matters is that the officials on the crew feel supported and respected. If we detect a pattern in which that is not the case, that can block certification, regardless of what was actually said. Roller Derby Officiating is a hobby and people are not paid, and every official on every crew deserves a respectful and supportive environment.
You should still apply! Even if you think your packet might be missing some of the items listed above, that doesn’t mean you won’t get the level you hope for. The best way to know what is in your packet is to apply, and then learn via the summary what is missing! Then you can work to get those missing pieces illustrated over a few months or a season, and apply again knowing your packet is “complete.”
Certification does not have an expiration date. To apply for a higher level, we ask that you wait two years from your Certification date, or until you have received Evaluations that address all of the concerns listed in your Summary that are said to block a higher level. For example, if your Summary says that we had no information about you as a Jammer Referee, and then you get several evals in that role from different people, that would be addressed. All concerns must be addressed before re-applying.
If you apply for a level but the level is not granted, you can reapply six months later if all of the concerns in your summary review have been addressed.
A Certification Appeals Panel will be formed to review any applications for appeals of Certification decisions. Appeals may only be made for denial of Level 2 or Level 3 Certification, and may only be lodged if the Official believes something went wrong with the original review (no new information may be submitted or reviewed during the appeal). Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the denial of the level of certification requested. To file an appeal, an official should submit the Appeals Form.
An official may fill out the Request for Exception form if they believe that, due to unusual circumstances, they should be allowed to:
- apply for advancement without having met the games requirements, or
- apply early for advancement,
- re-apply for certification earlier than usual, or
- apply for a higher level than they otherwise would be allowed to
The Appeals Panel will do their best to respond to the Request for Exception within 30 days and if an exception is granted, the Appeals Panel will notify the official. If the official is allowed to apply early, the Panel will indicate in which month the official is allowed to be reviewed.
For anything else, email firstname.lastname@example.org, which is read every week or so by a human being. We are always willing to consider special circumstances and have made many exceptions for many situations for many reasons!