I just wrote a long post but it seems to have been deleted or didn't post correctly...
First off, I want to say that I believe NCARB has done a really good job on some aspects of the ARE exams. Personally, I felt that PCM PJM and CE were excellent exams which challenged the candidate and were very inline with the recommended sources.
However: These are my questions:
Does NCARB plan on doing anything regarding the pass rates dropping for PPD and PDD? In other words what is an “acceptable” pass rate for NCARB for its testers? It seems like with this 2018 data that PJM and CE have somewhat acceptable rates of passing above 60%, while Pcm is only 51% but has gone up every year and PA has been stagnate at 50% since its outset. To me, this makes since as these exams seemed to be suited to their suggested study material and in the approach NCARB took for shaping the questions to test the candidate. However, what is concerning is that PDD and PPD have gone down from 56% to 53% and from 50% to 46% respectively. I looked at historical ARE 4 data and it has shown some similar rates for some divisions so perhaps they just want some of the exams to be that much harder?
About me: I have passed 5 of 6 exams on the first try, everything but PPD. As a side note, I have a doctorate degree in architecture and went to 4 years of grad school in architecture after getting my BA. I am no stranger to exams, both standardized and otherwise. I have studied for most of my life and have researched and written a doctorate dissertation. I have worked professionally for 7 years on all facets of design and documentation. I say this to somewhat justify my qualification to judge if a test is well put together or not.
Frankly, I think the pass rates of PPD and PDD are evident that NCARB did not do as good job in the recommendation of thousands of pages of resources and the overly situational and specific nuanced questions being asked. It is fine to make a question challenging by having multiple layers of understanding required to formulate an answer, but I think NCARB needs to go back to the drawing board for some (not all) of the questions on these two exams. I think PCM, PJM and CE asked questions based off the recommended material in a way that was challenging but not so overly complicated. NCARB has to remember that in real life an architect has resources available to them. It is part of our job to not only design and document buildings and spaces but to also coordinate amongst other professionals. That being said, I don’t have an issue with questions being asked from a wide variety of sources and fields, architects need to know a lot of info about a lot of fields. However, asking questions that either A) require specialized professional knowledge of another field or B) require such situational information that in real life there would be additional resource to fully comprehend what the problem is then I think it is a poorly framed question. I think many people who have passed both these exams as well as MANY who have failed would agree that some of these questions are plain silly. Sure, some of them are test questions which may not count toward the score and some maybe questions that NCARB adds so people also are not scoring 100% on the exams, but really if the question writers look at this from a candidates perspective then I think they may realize the questions they are asking are poorly put together or just plain irrelevant.
I think NCARB has the potential with the ARE 5 format to have 6 great exams which are challenging but still passable with study and work experience. Currently I think you guys are very close on PCM PJM and CE while PA is also close but I think some other resources need to be recommended. PDD and especially PPD need some revision, currently I think both of these exams are flawed and I believe large portions of these exams are unfair to the candidate.
Thanks in advance for a reply.
Please sign in to leave a comment.