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About the Module The Curriculum Certification Standard About Submission More Resources Anchor Products

Submission Guidelines for Certification Review

Module 230: Effective Interpretive Writing

Competency description:
Requires the interpreter to be able to convey resource meanings effectively through the use of interpretive techniques and organizational structure applied to written products. Effective written interpretive products will facilitate opportunities for the audience to make their own intellectual and emotional connections to the meanings/significance of the resource through the cohesive development of a relevant idea or ideas, rather than relying primarily on chronological narrative or a series of related facts.

What you will submit:
You will submit an original interpretive writing sample for a specific written medium (see below), including a statement of intended audience/venue.

Before preparing your submission, it is to your advantage to review the Module 230 curriculum and certification standard.

Key submission points:

  • The writing product you submit should have a primarily interpretive purpose and objectives. The interpretive elements and interpretive writing methods/techniques of the product are the focus of this assessment.
    • A product that is primarily informational, no matter how well written, and though its subject may be important to park operations, will not meet this certification standard.
    • Creative writing is not necessarily interpretive writing. Although interpretive writing should incorporate creative elements, its purpose is unique (connecting the interests of the readers to the meanings of the resources). The use of creative elements and literary techniques should contribute to the interpretive objectives.
  • The product must be your original work, and developed for a written medium, and not intended to serve another format, such as a narrative script or program that would be spoken. The text should be of the length appropriate for the medium selected.
  • The text should be one article, section, or portion of text that is cohesive and stands alone. See suggested mediums below.
  • If possible, submit a text-only version of your product. If the product includes illustrations, photos, or other graphic elements, only the text of the product will be assessed.
  • Written products that rely heavily on illustrations or graphic design in order to be interpretive are not recommended as submissions for Module 230; however, they may be appropriate as submissions for Module 311. Contact the Training Manager if you are unsure.
  • The obligation for accuracy, topic choice and appropriateness, writing mechanics, etc., remain the responsibility of you and your supervisor, and are not measured in this review.
  • Basic writing mechanics are assumed, and, as with basic delivery mechanics in the interpretive talk certification, are NOT being measured in the certification review. However, if you do not possess basic technical writing skills, you are urged to find developmental opportunities that provide those skills before beginning preparation for this certification.
  • Two anchor examples and a developmental worksheet are also available for this module.

Download this submission guideline in a PDF format (214KB).

Preparing your submission:

1) For this certification, submit one original interpretive writing product for any of the media listed below.

2) Include a statement describing the intended audience and venue. This only needs to be a sentence or two identifying your target audience (i.e. general park visitors, children, teachers, school groups, park neighbors, special interest group, etc), and the venue for the piece (park newspaper, site bulletin, exhibit text, etc).

3) Complete and include the "Product Submission Registration Form" for each certification you attempt. (Download in a Word format (43KB) or a PDF format (36KB).

When reviewing your submission, certifiers will assume good faith effort, and that accuracy and authenticity of the writing have been verified at the park level.

Examples of writing products:

  • Interpretive brochure or site bulletin
  • Interpretive wayside (more challenging format)
  • Park newspaper interpretive article (not an information article)
  • Interpretive article for staff paper
  • Interpretive article for a local publication (not an information article)

    Or a portion of:
  • Indoor interpretive exhibit text
  • Interpretive trail guide
  • Interpretive guidebook
  • Web site (stand-alone interpretive section of text, more challenging format)

Tip: Experience has shown that short labels such as for exhibit objects, paintings, or other brief narratives are much more challenging formats and might be avoided for the purposes of this certification review.

Where to submit:
Once you have reviewed the writing submission with your supervisor, you have two choices to submit your materials:

1) Electronic mail via Lotus Notes (preferred) to the office of the Certification Program Manager, Interpretation, Mather Training Center. Please include your "Product Submission Registration Form" separately in the electronic submission. (In Lotus Notes, select "Return Receipt" under Delivery Options, and you will get an automatic delivery confirmation by return e-mail when your message is received by the Program Manager.)


2) If e-mail is unavailable, send a diskette or three hard copies (double-sided), along with one copy of the registration form, to: Certification Program Manager, Interpretation, P.O. Box 77, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. Attn: Product submission. (You can request a "delivery confirmation" from the post office.)

* Certification in this competency serves the overall development of employees in Ranger Careers positions, and meets the NPS national standard for interpretive writing. Certification in this competency is a point-in-time assessment only. Long-term performance is measured at the park level. Eligibility for promotion is determined by the supervisor and park. Learn more about the peer review process.

Last module update: August, 2003
Editor: STMA Training Manager Interpretation

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