TESTING CENTER - Connection Error - Not Able to Test

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    Daniel Widlowski

    Ian, 

    I was not trying to accuse anyone of hijacking that thread, as I will also be in attendance to hear what, if any, response is offered to the myriad of people who will no doubt be there solely for that purpose. 

    I already transitioned to 5.0, and agree that given these issues, people should give serious thought to transitioning to the new system. I was just trying to be empathetic to the people still undecided, who were going to attend the webinar to possibly resolve their issues or questions about the transition. 

    In any event, it does become increasingly complicated for NCARB to resolve this, as they have already extended so many benefits to people who will NOT experience the same issues as yesterday, i.e. the free retake and gift cards. Now, they have to sort out how to amend this while maintaining fairness in the whole protocol. 

    I was fortunate enough to have actually answered every question, and I had under 10 minutes left in my exam when the crash happened. I certainly do not want every test to be voided, when there is the potential that I may have passed, even without being afforded an opportunity to check my work. I wonder if the need for a "case-by-case" resolution is the reason behind the lag in response by NCARB?

    It is interesting to note that they have updated the "ARE 5.0 Administrations Update" post with the new numbers for Feb. Somehow yesterday's incident has left most of us feeling like the chart should have sad faces on it....

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    Darci Lorensen

    What's even more maddening than this happening to all of us yesterday is the blatant disregard and ignoring of this post (and the other post I added the link for above) by NCARB. They have been actively answering questions on other posts.

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    Ian Baldwin

    Jared's "Official Comment" has now been posted at second in the thread, in case anyone is reloading this page.

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    Daniel Widlowski (Edited )

    Jared, 

    Is there a way to determine if you were counted among the "impacted" from NCARB's point of view? For example, I had answered the test, however, I was cut short with time remaining while reviewing my work and tackling some of the tougher questions again. 

    I have a Prometric ticket #, and was told the test center was going to write an official report. I want to avoid falling through the cracks, since Prometric might assume I was done based on questions complete, however I had time left that I was using. 

    Is there a certain time that I should expect a call by before reaching out to make sure this retest will be available to me? I have not been contacted by Prometric or NCARB at this time. 

    Please advise. 

     

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    Jared NCARB

    Daniel, NCARB emailed all candidates that were identified to us as being impacted with a next steps update. You should have received the email from Customer Service within the last hour as any candidate that was actively testing (regardless of where they were in the process) was to be identified.

    We also will be cross-referencing the list provided to us with any other candidate concerns reported to NCARB customer service to make sure no one gets missed.

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    Randi Marsh (Edited )
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    Joan NCARB

    Hi Daniel,

    NCARB Customer Relations does have a notification from Prometric regarding your testing issue and will be contacting you. Your situation is unrelated to the larger test center issue Jared addressed in today's post.  

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    Daniel Widlowski (Edited )

    Jared, 

    I called NCARB right after I left the test center, and spoke with a representative, however, I am not sure if this would be recorded anywhere. I have not received an email from NCARB yet either. Is there a way to verify I am on some list so that I can be included in the "reset"?

    Thank you.

    EDIT

    Joan, we posted at the same time. Haha. Interesting that my issue was unrelated, it sounded so similar to the issues experienced by others. In any event, although it was an unrelated issue, I was not able to finish my test like the other candidates.... 

    I will wait for an email regarding my ticket. Thank you. 

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    Joan NCARB (Edited )

    Daniel,

     

    Yes, there are occasionally technical issues specific to the test center and/or work station on which you are testing.  This is one of those cases.  Customer Relations will address it and resolve it for you.

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    Darci Lorensen

    NCARB folks-

    If we wait to reschedule this exam until, say early March, after the first round of scores are released for PPD, will our first attempt score be released with that wave?

    According to the email I (and I'm sure others) received stated that NCARB will keep the score of the first administration on file until after the second administration was completed, in case the first was success and the second was not.  What if we want to hedge our bets that the first one was successful?  

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    Ian Baldwin

    Here is Jared's comment in Italics, with response.

     

    NCARB has been actively working with our testing partners to get things answered to ensure we can provide all impacted candidates an appropriate update as soon as possible. I thank all those impacted candidates that did reach out to NCARB customer service identifying your technical issue yesterday. We have just received a full list of impacted candidates and have reached out to all impacted candidates. NCARB does apologize for the inconvenience and frustration caused by yesterday’s ARE 5.0 delivery issue as such an issue does not meet the expectations of the ARE.

    It's nice to hear them say sorry, if not right off the bat. They have NOT reached out to all impacted candidates, I have received no email or call from NCARB. In fcat if wasn;t wasting my day on these boards I would have no idea what was going on.

    What Happened

    A system issue arose that impacted about 40% of those that tested yesterday. Prometric notified us immediately, and we worked actively with our testing partners to address and resolve the issue to resume testing as soon as possible. ARE 5.0 administrations resumed before end of day yesterday and no further system issues are expected. 

    This doesn't really explain anything, since a "system issue" is pretty broad, but given the time and test security issues I guess it is fine for now. 

    What Now?

    NCARB is now working to restore each impacted candidate’s eligibility so they can reschedule this exam administration. All impacted eligibilities are expected to be reset by tomorrow morning. 

    Not wording to inspire confidence, but OK...

    What Next?

    Prometric’s customer care team will begin reaching out to impacted candidates immediately upon eligibilities being reset so they can be retest at no cost.

    For me, this just meant that the prometric person called with a ticket# and a number to call.  

    In the case that any impacted candidate passed based on how complete they were before being impacted, the results of the retest administration will not be scored and removed from the candidate’s record. If any impacted candidate did not pass based on how complete they were before being impacted, these results will be removed from your record and your retest attempt will be scored.

    A clarification of this paragraph's tortured prose may help: Everyone's incomplete test will be scored, but everyone still has to retake the test. If you pass either the incomplete test OR the retest, you will pass the exam. Obviously it would be better if you could know whether or not you passed yesterday's test first, especially if like Daniel, you had answered all the questions. But I understand that this is a result of the cut-score process. It seems like a fair solution.

    Again, NCARB is sorry for the inconvenience this has caused some of our candidates and thanks them for their patience as we work through resolving this.

    Again, I appreciate the apology, but what I'd like to hear (hopefully in coming days) is what NCAEB has learned from this and how they will deal with any future failures - maybe a local backup system or redundant server connection? Unfortuntately I'm not confident that the problem has been solved for good.

    I also think NCARB needs to go further in redressing the grievances of those who -- just to remind people -- were in the middle of a very important, stressful test they had spent weeks studying for when the system blinked out and forced them to cool their heels inside a lovely Prometric testing facility for up to two hours before being sent home, not knowing if their test was valid. Nice, right?

    Now we will be returning to that same test with the added stress of wondering if it is going to happen again. It seems to me that a free additional test for those affected (NCARB can put an expiration date on it if that helps boost the 5.0 completions) would be a small way to recognize the truly awful and unnecessary stress and disruption they have caused people.

     

     

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    Ian Baldwin

    darci, what is the subject line on your email from NCARB and when did you get it? My inbox has zilch from them, except a robo-response to the email I sent last night.

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    Darci Lorensen

    Ian- It was from CustomerSVC, with the subject "ARE 5.0 (1-30-17) Administration"

     

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    Laura Morton

    I still have received no email with any next steps, and I was definitely an impacted tester.  I also made phone calls and sent emails yesterday, so there should be a record.  As Darci stated, I think we'd like to know our scores for this first exam, for those of us that were close to finishing at least, rather than blindly go in and take the entire test again if it is not in fact needed.  This would apply to those of us taking the PPD specifically, for which the 600 candidate cut score batch had already been achieved.   

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    Ian Baldwin

    thx, I'll try emailing them again.

    or maybe I'm just being punsihed for making too much of a stink ;-)

    by the way, I just pulled this quote -- no joke, from Jared's bio on NCARB.org:

    "Promoted to director in 2013, Zurn is an advocate for transparency into the examination..."

    Transparency indeed!

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    Darci Lorensen

    Are you on the webinar, Ian?

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    Ian Baldwin

    yes, i joined about 4 mins in but they are just talking about the exam itself and Why It Is So Awesome...

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    Ian Baldwin

    did you join at the beginning? did they acknowledge what has been going on?

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    Darci Lorensen

    Yes, they talked about it and said that all individuals that were affected were contacted...

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    Joseph Wassell

    This issue was the first thing that NCARB addressed.  They have also been good about addressing negative issues in the interface (calculator, etc.).

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    Ian Baldwin

    well, in my case at least, not true. and Ryan just complained that he had an "awful day" yesterday. Unbelievable.

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    Erin Baird

    How long do I wait to hear from NCARB?  I submitted an email last night reporting the error that occurred during my test, but have not received an email response yet.

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    Ian Baldwin

    I'm still waiting too. This popped up on the webinar feed: 

    Q: If I experienced the techincal issues yesterday and have not recieved an email yet. What should I do?

    A: Contact NCARB's customer service at 202-879-0520 or customerservice@ncarb.org

    My guess is that they are, despite saying otherwise, behind in contacting people.

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    Erin Baird

    Thanks, I'm in meetings all afternoon and cannot join the webinar. 

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    Marlee Brabin (Edited )

    I also had not received any response from NCARB since I submitted my inquiry yesterday.

    I just got off the phone with NCARB, and they told me they're still compiling the full list of those that were affected. For them to release an official statement claiming everyone affected has been contacted is inaccurate. Many testing centers (including my own) are filling up for February very quickly and I would prefer to get my retest booked as soon as possible.

    The only thing NCARB could tell me on the phone is that Prometric will be contacting me to set up a time to reschedule, but she did not have any indicator of when this might happen, which is also frustrating.

    I encourage everyone who has not been contacted to be proactive and give NCARB a call to ensure your inquiry is being looked at.

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    Ian Baldwin (Edited )

    This is really what the thread is about, not just the technical issue (spectacular as it was), but the customer service issue. A fumbling response at best, and now NCARB is now requiring everyone to re-test without offering any kind of compensation or material acknowledgement for what people went through yesterday, and will no doubt be going through in the days to come.

    It also shows that NCARB does not have a plan in place to deal with events like these, even though we all know how fallible technology can be. The NCARB politburo referred to this in the webinar that just finished, saying that they have made changes to prevent something similar happening again, but offering no more detail than that.

    Taken with the many other valid complaints about the test's format, content, and studyablity (just made that up, but it applies), it just makes me think that this is a test that still has a long way to go in getting its kinks worked out. We are the guinea pigs who bought their hype and now have to suffer the consequences.

    Since NCARB clearly considers this no more than a little bump in the road and a closed book, I think the only way to fight back is to urge as many candidates and potential candidates as you know to vote with their feet, and stay away from 5.0. 4.0 is at least the devil you know. 

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    Joseph Miller (Edited )

    "Fighting back"? Ian, come on, that's a little extreme. Put yourself in their shoes, a problem occurred, and they are scrambling to fix it. I personally would rather have had the test crash on me than be working at NCARB yesterday. At the time of the issue we were not their priority, their priority was to fix the exam for the people testing today and tomorrow; that is how it should have been. 

    It's unfortunate that it happened to us, but it was a mistake. Give these guys a break. If we over analysis every way this has been talked about of course we will find inconsistencies.

     

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    Ian Baldwin

    Their priority should be 1. to put out an exam that works and 2. to have a robust backup plan in place if it does not.

    I've said in earlier posts it's totally understandable if their vendor had an issue, so will totally cut them some slack on #1. But as I just wrote, its the #2, the lack of any kind of planning of how to respond to a serious technical problem of the type that strikes large organizations every day. I would hope they think about spending more time on that, less time coming here on the boards to hype up 5.0's awesomeness.

    even with the incentives, everyone is paying at least $850 to take these tests, and most will pay more. Plus maintaining your record and then transmitting it to your local board. So sorry if I don't agree with your passive response to a really stressful and unnecessary disruption that undoes everything I was working toward for the past four weeks.

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    Daniel Widlowski

    How crazy would it be if someone got cut off during the test taking yesterday at question 44, and then they release the scores and they passed...

    (consider the mood lightened)

     

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    Erin Baird

    I would also like to know if we can wait to sign up for a retest. I would like to know if I passed or failed the exam I took yesterday. (I only had 2 questions unanswered.)

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