I believe there are 120 questions on the test. An 80 requires 96 questions to be answered correctly. A 75 requires 90 questions to be answered correctly. A large number of persons fail by this slim 6 question margin. It has been calculated by TREC that lowering the test to 75 will raise the first time pass rate to about 58% (55 is required). This will allow the private schools to stay open until a solution can be found. In my opinion lowering the score to 75 will not have impact on the quality of inspectors. I do not believe it will flood the market either.
A long time ago I wrote about 300 to 400 the original test questions. I used Code Check. I have heard the current test continues to test heavily on code. When I took my IRC test I was allowed to use an open book and Code Check. The question this brings up “Should an inspector be required to memorize the code book to pass a test?”. I think not. I believe the test could be easily passed if the score stayed at 80 and the students were allowed to bring in a code book or Code Check. Would this affect inspector quality? I do not believe so. I routinely refer to Code Check even after 25 years of inspecting. The most important thing is to know that the inspector knows where to find the information. Open book is a permanent solution however it is resisted by the IAC to my knowledge.
Why do I favor open book over rote memory? I know people who have poor memory skills and outstanding observation and defect recognition skills. They are excellent inspectors. I also know people who passed the test with a 90 and would not recognize a major defect if it were put in front of them. I do not believe the public is served by requiring such high level memory skills after only 2 to 4 weeks of school.
The failure of home inspection training is in experience and report writing. A test pass rate of 90 would not cure that.
The private schools put out of business would benefit the university schools. They are not subject to the 55% pass rate. I believe that is very unfair.
In conclusion, I believe the test should be lowered to 75 to get past the 55% problem. Then do an open book beta test. If the scores push up past 80 with a 55% pass rate then dump the 75% pass rate and allow open book testing.
I do not have a solution for the experience problem. We could increase requirements but TAR and TREC want lots of surplus inspectors and low fees. Raising the bar would create a shortage of inspectors and cause fees to raise. I do not believe inspection is a right of the consumer but some at TREC and TAR may. The bottom line is inspectors assume a lot of property condition liability from sellers and real estate agents. TAR and TREC want lots of inspectors in the trough to assume that liability. All of the schools want to crank out inspectors for $$ logic.
Just my opinion