WSR 09-08-035

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING


[ Filed March 25, 2009, 8:14 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 08-15-149.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Definitions, licensing, and education for home inspectors.

Hearing Location(s): 2000 4th Avenue West, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Olympia, WA 98507, on May 7, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 7, 2009, or after.

Submit Written Comments to: Jerry McDonald, 2000 4th Avenue West, Olympia, WA 98507, e-mail jmcdonald@dol.wa.gov, fax (360) 570-7051, by April 30, 2009.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Gale Mitchell by April 30, 2009, TTY (360) 664-8885 or (360) 664-6426.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The proposal will create definitions, licensing, and education rules for licensed home inspectors for [to] follow.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This creates uniform practices for licensed home inspectors and references for purchasers when requesting a home inspection.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.280.050.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.280.060 (1), (2), (3).

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Department of licensing, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Jerry McDonald, 2000 4th Avenue West, Olympia, WA, (360) 664-6524.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Rules are for individual licensees and not small business enterprises.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The department of licensing is not one of the named agencies under this RCW.

March 24, 2009

Jerry McDonald

Assistant Administrator

OTS-2012.2

Chapter 308-408 WAC

DEFINITIONS


NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408-010   Words and terms.   Words and terms used in these rules shall have the same meaning as each has under chapter 18.280 RCW unless otherwise clearly provided in these rules, or the context in which they are used in these rules clearly indicates that they be given some other meaning.

(1) "Classroom" means training that takes place in a setting where individuals receiving training are assembled together and learn through lectures, study papers, class discussion, textbook study, or other means of organized formal education techniques, such as video, closed circuit, or other forms of electronic means.

(2) "Comment" means the act of stating one's observations clearly in the report.

(3) "Describe" means the act of stating one's observations clearly in the report.

(4) "Distance education" means a delivery method in which instruction takes place in other than a live classroom setting, the instructor and the student are in physically separate locations, and interactive instructional methods such as video-based instruction, computer conferencing, video conferencing, interactive audio, interactive computer software, correspondence or internet-based instruction are used.

(5) "Enter" means to physically go into an attic, crawlspace, or other area. Simply sticking one's head and shoulders into these areas is not entering.

(6) "Field training" is in addition to the one hundred twenty hours of classroom instruction and shall be done on actual inspection sites. Field training must include forty hours of instruction with a minimum of five actual complete home inspections done to the standards of practice under the supervision of an experienced inspector. The applicant will be required to complete written reports for each inspection and the supervisor will review the reports and certify that they are in full compliance with the standards of practice. The forty hours of supervised instruction will not include travel time to and from inspection, meals, and report writing time.

(7) "Interactive" means the course structure and technologies promote active student involvement with the course content, including the ability to:

(a) Access or bypass optional content, if applicable;

(b) Submit questions or answer test items, and receive direct feedback; and

(c) Communicate with the instructor and/or other students on an immediate or reasonably delayed basis.

Interactive instruction specifically excludes courses that only provide passive delivery of instructional content.

(8) "Passive" means there is no required or actual interaction or feedback between the student and instructor.

(9) "Preinspection agreement" is a written contract signed by the client that outlines the standards and work to be performed by the home inspector.

(10) "Preoffer consultation" is a verbal report that is limited in scope performed by a licensed home inspector. A preinspection agreement must be signed by the client and describe the limited scope of the consultation. This preoffer consultation is conducted only prior to mutual acceptance.

(11) "Readily accessible" means available for visual inspection without requiring moving personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action that likely will involve risk to persons or property.

(12) "Record" means the act of stating one's observations clearly in the report.

(13) "Report" means the act of stating one's observations clearly in the report.

(14) "Standard home inspection" is a prelisting or presale written report that contains all or most of the components listed in the standards of practice. The components must be listed in the preinspection agreement. This standard home inspection report cannot be delivered verbally and must be in writing.

(15) "Technically exhaustive" is an investigation that involves dismantling, the extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations or other means.

(16) "Traverse" means the act of physically moving through a crawlspace or attic or over the surface of a roof during an inspection when it is safe to do so.

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OTS-2013.3

Chapter 308-408A WAC

LICENSING


NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-010   Application for a license -- Fingerprinting.   Persons who have been convicted of a crime within ten years of application may be required to submit fingerprint identification on a form provided by the department prior to issuance of a license.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-020   Application process to take examination.   This section does not apply to applicants for a home inspector's license who are actively licensed in another jurisdiction or were so licensed in the preceding six months in accordance with WAC 308-408A-040.

(1) Any person desiring to take an examination for a home inspector's license, except applicants who have received clock hours in another jurisdiction that have not been approved by the department, or applicants who are requesting substitution of clock hours per WAC 308-408A-050, shall telephone the testing service up to one day prior to the desired test date to schedule and pay for an examination by cashier's check, certified check, money order, credit card, debit card, e-checks, or money voucher to the testing service. On the day of the examination, the candidate shall submit a completed examination application that has been approved by the department to the testing service. This approval is valid for six months from the date of the approval letter. If the approval expires, the candidate must apply to be reapproved. Approval is granted upon successful completion of a one hundred twenty hour course in fundamentals of home inspection and proof of forty hours of field training approved by the department. The candidate must pass a course examination approved by the director. This course and the required field training must be completed within two years prior to applying for the home inspector's license examination.

(2) The candidate will be able to schedule an examination date up to one day prior to their desired test date. Candidates requesting a morning or afternoon test session will be scheduled immediately for an examination and will be provided with a registration number confirming their reservation. On the day of the examination, the candidate shall submit the verified examination application document to the testing service approved by the department.

(3) A candidate shall be assessed the full examination fee for any examination in which the candidate fails to provide two days' notice to the testing service for changing their examination date or for failing to arrive and take a scheduled examination at the time the examination is scheduled or rescheduled.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-030   Successful applicants must apply for license.   Examination results are valid for one year only. Any person who has passed the examination for home inspector licensure must become licensed within one year from the date of such examination. Failure to comply with this provision will necessitate the taking and passing of another examination.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-040   Application for home inspector examination, licensed in another jurisdiction.   (1) Any person applying for a home inspector examination who has been licensed and actively practices as a home inspector for two years in the last four years in another jurisdiction that meets or exceeds the requirements under chapter 18.280 RCW and has maintained his or her license in good standing is eligible to take the Washington state portion of the examination.

(2) Any person applying to take the examination under this section shall submit an examination application approved by the department and shall submit evidence of licensure in good standing in another jurisdiction by a license verification form completed by an administrative officer of the licensure authority in such jurisdiction.

(3) After the qualifications for the examination have been verified by the department the candidate shall contact the testing service up to one day prior to the desired test date to schedule and pay for an examination. Candidates requesting a morning or afternoon test session shall be scheduled immediately for an examination and will be provided with a registration number confirming their reservation. On the day of the examination, the candidate shall submit at the test site the verified examination application.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-050   Substitution of clock hours.   (1) The director may allow for substitution of the clock hour requirements in RCW 18.280.070 if the individual is otherwise and similarly qualified by reason of completion of equivalent educational coursework in any institution of higher education or degree granting institution. Proof of a minimum of sixty hours of fundamentals of home inspection will qualify for a supplemental course to meet the one hundred twenty hour requirement.

(2) Individuals requesting approval of equivalent educational coursework shall submit a transcript of coursework completed from an institution of higher education or a degree granting institution together with an application for the license examination. The department may also require certification from an authorized representative of the institution of higher education or degree granting institution that the coursework satisfies the department's prescribed course content or curriculum and offered through classroom instruction for a given course(s).

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-060   Grading of examinations.   (1) To pass the home inspector examination a minimum scaled score of seventy is required on each portion. The home inspector examination shall consist of two portions:

(a) The national portion consisting of questions that test general home inspector practices; and

(b) The state portion consisting of questions that test on Washington laws and rules for home inspector licensing.

(2) A passing score for either portion of an examination shall be valid for a period not to exceed one year from the date of testing.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-070   Reexamination.   An applicant who has failed the full or any portion of the examination or failed to appear for a scheduled examination may apply for reexamination, provided the required reexamination fee is submitted. An applicant who has failed the full or any portion of the examination or failed to appear for a scheduled examination may apply for reexamination by contacting the testing service to schedule and pay for an examination by cashier's check, certified check, money order, credit card, debit card, e-checks, or money voucher to the testing service approved by the department.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-080   Examination procedures.   (1) Each applicant will be required to present one piece of positive identification which bears a photograph of the applicant. Failure to produce the required identification will result in the applicant being refused admission to the examination.

(2) Applicants will be required to refrain from:

(a) Talking to other examinees during the examination unless specifically directed or permitted to do so by a test monitor;

(b) Attempting to communicate or record any information;

(c) Using unauthorized materials during any portion of the examination;

(d) Removing test materials and/or notes from the testing room; and

(e) Disruptive behavior.

(3) Applicants who participate in any activity listed in subsection (2) of this section will be required to turn in their test materials to the test monitor and leave the examination site. Their opportunity to sit for the examination will be forfeited. Their answer sheet will be voided. A voided answer sheet will not be scored and the examination fee will not be refunded. A candidate must then reapply to take the examination.

(4) Any applicant who was removed from the testing site for any of the reasons listed in subsection (2) of this section will be required to submit a letter to the department requesting permission to retest and stating the circumstances of the event. After receipt of the applicant's letter, the department will review the proctor's report and the applicant's letter and may deny testing for up to one year.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-090   Home inspector fees.   These fees are applicable to all original licenses, examination services, and fee generating services. The following fees shall be charged by professional licensing services of the department of licensing:


TITLE OF FEE FEE
Home Inspector:
Application/examination $ 300
Reexamination
Full $ 300
National portion $ 250
State portion $ 125
Original license $ 680
License renewal $ 375
Late renewal with penalty $ 435
Reinstatement penalty fine $ 150
Course review $ 75

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-100   Home inspectors renewal -- Expiration.   The minimum requirements for a home inspector to be issued the renewal of a license are that the home inspector:

(1) Has furnished proof of successful completion of twenty-four hours in instruction in courses approved by the board.

(2) Submit a renewal fee.

(3) If the application for a renewal is not received by the director on or before the renewal date, a penalty fee as prescribed by the director by rule shall be paid.

(4) The license of any person whose license renewal fee is not received within one year from the date of expiration shall be canceled. This person may obtain a new license by satisfying the procedure and requirements as prescribed by the director by rule.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-105   Reinstatement of a canceled license for nonpayment of renewal fee.   Any person desiring to be reinstated as a licensed home inspector within two years of cancellation may have their license reinstated by satisfying either of the following options:

(1) Submission of an application to the director providing proof of the following:

(a) Successful completion of twenty-four hours of approved home inspection coursework completed within one year preceding the application for reinstatement. A minimum of three clock hours must include a course(s) in Washington home inspector laws and regulations;

(b) Payment of all back renewal fees with penalty at the current rate; and

(c) Payment of reinstatement penalty fine of one hundred fifty dollars; or

(2) Satisfy the procedures and qualifications for initial licensing, including the following:

(a) Successful completion of the home inspection licensing examination; and

(b) Successful completion of the fundamentals of home inspection course pursuant to RCW 18.280.070(2); and

(c) Proof of up to forty hours of field training supervised by a licensed home inspector as required by RCW 18.280.070(3).

(3) Former licensees canceled for nonpayment of fees for periods in excess of two years will be required to satisfy the requirements of subsection (2) of this section.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408A-110   Continuing education clock hour requirements.   A licensee shall submit to the department evidence of satisfactory completion of clock hours, pursuant to RCW 18.280.110, in the manner and on forms prescribed by the department.

(1) A licensee applying for renewal of a license shall submit evidence of completion of twenty-four hours of instruction in a course(s) approved by the board and commenced within twenty-four months of a licensee's renewal date.

(2) The twenty-four clock hours shall be satisfied by evidence of completion of approved real estate courses as defined in WAC 308-408B-040.

(3) Courses for continuing education clock hour credit shall be commenced after issuance of a first license.

(4) Approved courses may be repeated for continuing education credit in subsequent renewal periods.

(5) Clock hour credit for continuing education shall not be accepted if: The course is not approved pursuant to chapters 308-408B WAC and 18.280 RCW.

(6) Instructors shall not receive clock hour credit for teaching or course development.

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OTS-2014.2

Chapter 308-408B WAC

EDUCATION

HOME INSPECTOR COURSE APPROVAL
NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-010   Course approval required.   (1) Any education provider or course developer must submit a course to the department for approval.

(2) Course approval by the department is required prior to the date on which the course is offered for clock hour credit.

(3) Each application for approval of a course shall be submitted to the department on the appropriate application form provided by the department.

(4) The director or designee shall approve, disapprove, or conditionally approve applications based upon criteria established by the board.

(5) Upon approval, disapproval or conditional approval, the applicant will be so advised in writing by the department. Notification of disapproval shall include the reasons therefor.

(6) Approval shall expire two years after the effective date of approval.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-020   Course titles reserved for prescribed curriculum courses.   Any education provider desiring to offer any prescribed curriculum courses shall utilize the most recent course curriculum prescribed by the department, and shall include in its title the phrase "fundamentals of home inspection" if submitted for approval for clock hours. No other courses shall use this phrase in their titles.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-030   Application process for previously approved courses.   (1) If there are no changes for a previously approved course in the course content or in the original course approval application or WAC 308-408B-040 affecting the topic areas or criteria for approval, the course will be approved upon receipt of a course renewal application and payment of the required fee for one renewal cycle only.

(2) If there are changes in course content or in the original course approval application for a previously approved course, other than updating for changes required by WAC 308-408B-050, the application will not be processed as a renewal, and will require completion of a course approval application and payment of the required fee.

(3) If a course renewal application or a course approval application is submitted at least thirty days prior to the current course expiration date, the previous course approval shall remain in effect until action is taken by the director.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-040   General requirements for course approval.   Courses shall meet one of the following requirements:

(1) Be offered by a private entity; or

(2) Be offered by a tax-supported, public technical or community college or other institution of higher learning that offers college credits; or

(3) Be offered by the Washington home inspector board; and

(4) Have a minimum of one hundred twenty hours of coursework or instruction for the student for prelicense; or

(5) Have a minimum of two hours of coursework or instruction for the student for continuing education. A clock-hour is a period of fifty minutes of actual instruction; and

(6) Provide practical information related to the practice of home inspection in any of the following home inspection topic areas:

(a) Department prescribed curricula for prelicense:

Fundamentals of home inspection.

(b) Continuing education:

(i) Communications;

(ii) Structures;

(iii) Plumbing;

(iv) Electrical;

(v) Heating;

(vi) Ventilation;

(vii) Air conditioning;

(viii) Law and business administration;

(ix) Current trends and issues;

(x) Exteriors;

(xi) Interiors;

(xii) Consumer protection;

(xiii) Report writing; and

(xiv) Environmental conditions or hazardous materials.

(7) Be under the supervision of an instructor, who shall, at a minimum, be available to respond to specific questions from students;

(8) The following types of courses will not be approved for clock hours:

(a) Mechanical office and business skills, such as, keyboarding, speed-reading, memory improvement, and grammar;

(b) Standardized software programs such as word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets or data bases; an example: A course specific to the reporting system necessary to deliver a home inspection would be acceptable, but a course teaching how to use a computer would not be acceptable;

(c) Orientation courses for licensees, such as those offered by trade associations;

(d) Personal and sales motivation courses or sales meetings held in conjunction with a licensee's general business;

(e) Courses that are designed or developed to serve other professions, unless each component of the curriculum and content specifically shows how a home inspector licensee can utilize the information in the practice of home inspection;

(f) Personal finance, etiquette, or motivational type courses;

(g) Courses that are designed to promote or offer to sell specific products or services to home inspector licensees such as warranty programs, client/customer data base systems, software programs or other devices. Services or products can be offered during nonclock hour time, such as breaks or lunch time. Letterhead, logos, company names or other similar markings by itself, on course material are not considered promotional;

(h) Clock hours will not be awarded for any course time devoted to meals or transportation.

(9) Prelicense courses which are submitted for approval shall include a comprehensive examination(s) and answer key(s) of no fewer than two hundred questions, and a requirement of passing course grade of at least seventy percent; essay question examination keys shall identify the material to be tested and the points assigned for each question; an examination is not required for continuing education courses;

(10) Include textbook or instructional materials approved by the director, which shall be kept accurate and current;

(11) Not have a title which misleads the public as to the subject matter of the course;

(12) The provider's course application shall identify learning objectives and demonstrate how these are related to the practice of home inspection.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-050   Changes and updates in approved courses.   Course materials shall be updated no later than thirty days after the effective date of a change in federal, state, or local statutes or rules. Course materials shall also be updated no later than thirty days after changes in procedures or other revisions to the practice of home inspection which affect the validity or accuracy of the course material or instruction.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-060   Certificate of course completion.   Each education provider must issue a certificate of course completion within thirty days to students who have satisfactorily completed the course requirements. The certificate shall include the following information:

(1) Student's name;

(2) School's name;

(3) The course commencement date and completion date;

(4) Course title;

(5) Clock hours for the course;

(6) School administrator's signature;

(7) Course identification number issued by the department;

(8) Instructor name; and

(9) Completion of a required examination, if applicable.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-070   Courses offered in a symposium or conference format.   (1) Approved schools offering courses in a symposium or conference format with two or more modules of independent instruction may issue certificates of course completion for fewer clock hours than approved by the department on their original course approval application; and

(2) Students must complete a minimum of two clock hours of instruction to receive clock hour credit.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-080   Disciplinary action -- Procedures -- Investigation.   (1) The department shall have the authority on its own motion or upon complaint made to it to investigate or audit any course to determine compliance with chapter 18.280 RCW and with the rules and regulations of this chapter.

(2) Complaints concerning approved courses should be made in writing to the department and contain the following information when appropriate:

(a) The complainant's name, address, and telephone number;

(b) School name, address, and telephone number;

(c) Instructor(s) name;

(d) Nature of complaint and facts detailing dates of attendance, termination date, date of occurrence, names, addresses and positions of school officials contacted, and any other pertinent information;

(e) An explanation of what efforts if any, have been taken to resolve the problem with the school;

(f) Copies of pertinent documents, publications, and advertisements.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-090   Grounds for denial or withdrawal of course approval.   Course approval may be denied or withdrawn if the instructor or any owner, administrator or affiliated representative of a school, or a course provider or developer:

(1) Submits a false or incomplete course application or any other information required to be submitted to the department;

(2) Includes in its title the phrase "fundamentals of home inspection" if the course was not submitted for approval of clock hours pursuant to WAC 308-408B-020;

(3) If the title of the course misleads the public and/or licensees as to the subject matter of the course;

(4) If course materials are not updated within thirty days of the effective date of a change in the statute or rules;

(5) If course content or material changes are not submitted to the department for approval prior to the date of using the changed course content;

(6) Failed to meet the requirements under WAC 308-408B-040 and 308-408B-120;

(7) If a course or prescribed curriculum was approved through the mistake or inadvertence of the director.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-100   Hearing procedure.   Upon notice of course denial or disapproval or withdrawal of course approval, a person is entitled to a hearing conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05 RCW, and the provisions of WAC 308-408B-040. To exercise the right to a hearing under this section, a person must request a hearing within twenty days after receipt of the notice of denial, disapproval or withdrawal of course approval. Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the director or authorized representative of the director is entitled to judicial review under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05 RCW.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-110   Record retention.   (1) Each school shall maintain for a minimum of five years each student's record;

(2) A "student record" shall include:

(a) The name, address, and telephone number of the school;

(b) Full name, address, and telephone number of the student;

(c) Beginning and ending dates of attendance;

(d) Clock hour courses completed and examination results. (3) Each school shall provide a copy of a student's record to the student or the department upon request.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 308-408B-120   Distance education delivery method approval required.   Applicants are required to submit an application for each separate distance education delivery method for which they propose to offer approved courses for clock hours. When submitting a distance education delivery method application, the following minimum criteria must be provided by the applicant:

(1) Specify the course learning objectives for each learning unit and clearly demonstrate that the learning objectives cover the subject matter and how these relate to the practice of home inspection. Objectives must be specific to ensure that all content is covered adequately to ensure mastery;

(2) Demonstrate how mastery of the material is provided by:

(a) Dividing the material into major learning units, each of which divides the material into modules of instruction;

(b) Specifying learning objectives for each learning unit or module of instruction. Learning objectives must be comprehensive enough to ensure that if all the objectives are met, the entire content of the course will be mastered;

(c) Specifying an objective, quantitative criterion for mastering, used for each learning objective and provide a structured learning method designed to enable students to attain each objective.

(3) Demonstrate that the course includes the same or reasonably similar informational content as a course that would otherwise qualify for the requisite number of clock hours of classroom-based instruction and how the provider will know that the student completed the required number of clock hours;

(4) Describe consistent and regular interactive events appropriate to the delivery method. The interactive elements must be designed to promote student involvement in the learning process, and must directly support the student's achievement of the course learning objectives. The application must identify the interactive events included in the course and specify how the interactive events contribute to achievement of the stated learning objectives;

(5) Demonstrate how the course provides a mechanism of individual remediation to correct any deficiencies identified during the instruction and assessment process;

(6) Measure, at regular intervals, the student's progress toward completion of the master requirement for each learning unit or module. In the case of computer-based instruction, the course software must include automatic shutdown after a period of inactivity;

(7) Demonstrate that instructors are available to answer questions regarding course content at reasonable times and by reasonable means, including in-person contact, individual and conference telephone calls, e-mail and fax;

(8) Demonstrate how reasonable security will be provided to ensure that the student who receives credit for the course is the student who enrolled in and completed the course. Both the approved school and the student must certify in writing that the student has completed the course, and the required number of clock hours;

(9) Provide a complete description of any hardware, software, or other technology to be used by the provider and needed by the student to effectively engage in the delivery and completion of the course material and an assessment of the availability and adequacy of the equipment, software or other technologies to the achievement of the course's instructional claims;

(10) Provide an orientation session with the instructor or an affiliated representative of an approved school. Mechanisms must be clearly in place which allow students an early orientation to discuss course specifics;

(11) Demonstrate how the provider determined the number of clock hours requested in the distance education delivery method approval application; and

(12) Provide with each distance education delivery method approval application a copy of a course evaluation form. The provider must provide each student with the mandatory evaluation form and retain the completed form in the school records as required under WAC 308-408B-110.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office