Items Locked when a Break is Taken

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    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Todd, 

    I think what they are saying by "review items before taking a break" is to do the following:

    1. Check for items viewed (looked at even if only for 1/1000th of a second) that you have not given an answer to and to be sure you give an answer to. Don't leave it blank because if you don't answer the question with any answer, it will be graded as an incorrect answer and contribute to a possible fail of the exam division.

    2. Check items you have answered because this is your last chance to correct them because when you go on break, you will not be able to change the answer. Before the break *IS* your *LAST* chance to change the answer to any item answered or viewed. After a break, you will NOT be able to change the answers to any item viewed or answered before that break period.

    Todd, is that clear enough for you. It would be the same thing you want to do before you submit your exam to be graded. Okay.

     

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    Dean Schimmenti

    This is another MAJOR change to the testing protocol!!!!  NCARB is basically FORCING candidates to NOT take breaks with this new change. I understand its importance with online testing, but AGAIN......WHY can't in person and online have separate rules!?????   While taking a test, how are you supposed to know how much time the rest of the exam will take, if you are forced to finish questions that you would normally skip until the end, before taking a break????? Most of the testers skip over harder questions, or ones requiring more math (for time reasons) to save them until they are finished. That way, they know how much time is left, and know which questions to focus on in case they run out of time to answer them all. NCARB is dropping the ball again!!! There are EASY solutions to these new changes and you all (NCARB) won't bother to listen to us!!!!!!

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    Tiona Camille Martin-Thomsen

    I am licensed so this doesn't affect me, but I am outraged about this change on behalf of candidates. There were times because of medical/health reasons, that I had to take a break sooner than I had originally planned to use the restroom. It wasn't as if I could have forced myself to answer those questions I'd flagged before the break.  I feel as though this change unfairly disadvantages those with some sort of health issue that may not warrant an accommodation.  NCARB, please reconsider this for our current and future candidates. 

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    Rebecca Book

    wow im so glad i saw this - when is this change going into effect??

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    Richard Balkins

    Rebecca Book,

    November 16, 2020

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    Caitlin Torrance (Edited )

    November 16th of this year, just like all their other major changes.

    This definitely changes testing strategy for many people, myself included. I didn't actually use my break in my first three exams, but knowing that I could if needed without impacting my exam makes all the difference. I wear contacts, and if there's an issue I need to deal with it NOW, not after I've spent 30 minutes reviewing all my flagged questions. A stray eyelash stuck to a contact lens could literally cost me a pass in this set up. Plus the stress of knowing that I can't go back to check answers if I use my break means I won't be using my break.

    I'm not against locking answers exactly, especially for remote test takers, but locking answers and not adjusting the rest of the test format seems unhelpful. I've heard of other exams being broken in sections, that force you to review everything before moving on to the next section. That type of format could work well with the ARE if locking answers before a break is the primary intent. That way the exam is planned to be taken in 2-4 sections (or whatever random number), and breaks can be placed appropriately. It also minimizes the risk of testers losing a majority of their exam for a minor emergency break (bathroom, water, etc). Instead of losing 30-40 marked flags, at most you would lose 10 or so, meaning an emergency break could still result in a pass.

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    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    A strategy adjustment might be is to not mark more than 3-4 questions (test items). Under the current rule, I would think it be prudent to go back and answer the test items marked (looked at but not answered or otherwise flagged to review) when you have 4-5 items flagged. When you are approaching a point in time to go on break, consider reviewing the questions you answered or not answered but had viewed already). 

    So, it will be a strategy that you frequently go back to items you marked so you answer them or as needed to give the correct answer to.

    I do recommend people to drink less fluids before the test and take frequent trips to the restroom before hand so your need to go to the restroom is minimal. At break, I might suggest drinking a little water or whatever but not a lot. Remember, these exams are around 3-4 hours on most of them and longer on the PPD/PDD divisions (IIRC). 

    After the exam, you can refresh yourself with more fluids. For people with conditions like noted above, I probably would not recommend two exam divisions back to back on the same day. Give yourself a little time in between exam divisions. Like back to back classes with back to back exams, those are not fun.

    I recommend at least time to rehydrate and everything mentioned about taking restroom trips before the second exam as well so you aren't likely to need to take frequent bathroom trips during the exam.

     

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    Dean Schimmenti

    Richard,

    You are missing the point to some degree. Most testers flag questions because they know they will take a little longer to complete or they are not quite sure of the answer without more thought or clarification. They don't want to waste their time on them, not know how long the rest of the exam might take. Once they have answered all of the other questions, they know how much time is left and can focus on the incomplete or flagged ones.  I rescheduled my PPD exam to take before this ridiculous testing change, but my last one being PDD is going to be a PITA with this whole new whiteboard crap and break change!

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    Tiona Camille Martin-Thomsen

    Yes, exactly Dean, with respect to testing strategy.  However, I also think the person isn't acknowledging that people have health concerns that aren't necessary tied to beverage consumption. 

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    Richard Balkins

    There's no point in trying to continue test taking practices the way that has been. NCARB has already decided the changes that will necessitate changes in test taking strategy.

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    Tiona Camille Martin-Thomsen

    Again, I am already licensed, and as an educator, I am all for a shift in practices for testing competencies as long as they don't lift up potential equity issues.  My point is that this particular change can pose a serious equity challenge for people with a number of health issues.  

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    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Alright, I agree with you. However, we aren't seeing the policies changing before November 16, 2020. It might get adjusted after that. I am going to check with the PSI Bridge exam browser if the browser conflicts with the essential functions of certain Wacom tablets. I have Wacom Intuos 4 XL (which works the same as the other Intuous 4 line but just differs in physical size) but I'm looking to pick up Wacom One (wired not wireless model) and newer Intuous model (wired model) to see if they function. Ordinarily, they work like a mouse from the computer's point of view. I'm not talking about any model with a display screen because they will act like a second display. I mainly am testing if the browser will lock out the use of the tablet even before actually being connected into the exam which I do not believe will have an issue because I can test it with the demo exam. Informing NCARB which models do work with PSI Bridge, would help. I don't have the ability yet to really test this with Prometric ProProctor at the moment because I am not wanting to schedule for an exam quite yet. 

    NCARB needs to make sure they are very clear when asking their consultants about tablet because the word is used for talking about tablet computers as well as graphic tablets so the feedback from the consultants could be off because of misunderstanding of the question. If I have to, I will talk to Prometric's Proproctor software development team which I will go to lengths to find out and figure out. 

     

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    Richard Balkins

    NCARB, if you are reading this, I am trying to help you all out in testing graphic tablet. I don't think that Zoomorphix's software has any issues with working with a graphic tablet. I would love to test it by connecting to the demo exam versus the actual exam via Proproctor and PSI Bridge for testing the use of such tablets. By following similar procedures, they should be able to test this via other software so we can prove it works without myself looking at the real exam question items during such tests. I do understand graphic tablets with video display screen may be an issue because of the "second monitor" rule but there are graphic tablets that do not have a display and they are not a "computer" in their own. If the models of wacom graphic tablets that I mentioned, in fact works, I will report that information to your team at NCARB. 

    I can not guarantee all graphic tablets will work but I can test certain models. Two of the models are rather affordable and smaller in size which would be adequate for an exam and useful when you don't have a huge area for a whale of a graphic tablet like the Wacom Intuous 4XL model which I don't expect examinees to buy just for the exam. A $60-80 price tag is more acceptable to people's wallets than similar size tablets costing a lot more. 

    Installation of drivers (or whatever) should be done before launching the Proproctor or PSI Bridge browser so their lockdown functions don't block driver installation processes.

    When I tested using it to draw and sketch in Paint, the stylus make sketching on-screen a whole lot easier and I can select things on screen with just a light tap of the pen tip. I did that test, yesterday. I wouldn't necessarily need to look down away from the screen. This would help with left-handed people as well to work with the digital whiteboard. As for test centers getting equipped with such tablets, I can't say but there are plenty of tablets like the wacom tablets that I mentioned that do not have a screen display which they can test or use models I test and acquire enough of them that they can hook up and install the drivers and be able to hook up and provide to ARE candidates to use without needing to install the drivers. It would just be detecting them when connected to USB port and they be returned to the proctors desk like returning scratch paper with both stylus and tablet unit. So it can be a procedure but they will need to invest in the number of units. How many test centers and how many computers equipped for ARE exams are all part of the question here. The numbers will depend on the number of people proctoring from home versus at test centers. 

    NCARB, lets find a solution that will work. I can see tablets/stylus being equipped at test centers and available to ARE candidates to use. They don't necessarily need a tablet+stylus for every computer. Just that the drivers are installed and they can use statistical data to gauge number of ARE candidates at their center per available days. We can use data from Prometric which can inform similar numbers at PSI test center locations then update data accordingly. I think this could work if we can prove at least certain models of tablets work. The list can grow over time but we just need something to start with. 

     

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    Dean Schimmenti

    Tablets would be great, but I doubt NCARB would pay to provide those. Hmmm, I have a solution.....provide cheap paper and pencil to in person test center candidates. Cost, about $0.10!

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    Richard Balkins

    I have a potential solution, provide paper and pencil at test centers and allow graphic tablets like the wacom graphic tablets like I mentioned. While they are a little different, the experience would be closer to equal if remote testers aren't allowed paper and pencil. This would give us a comparable experience to the tablet/stylus as far as test takers are concerned but at least the stylus and graphic tablet would address the remote proctoring issues of using the digital whiteboard. 

    As a person likely to do this by remote proctoring, I don't care if people taking the exam in person at test centers are provided paper and pencil instead of tablet/stylus but if I'm remotely testing, I won't have that but a tablet & stylus would be helpful for usability sake. It is not like I would be having any sort of special functionality that I can use. NCARB, just give us the ability to use graphic tablet for remote proctoring. I'll be doing some preliminary testing of the PSI Bridge software and a wacom graphic tablet to see if it works. If it works and also works with the demo exam then it should work with the real exam in mid-2021. If the issue is with Proproctor, I'll be willing to see and test that, too.

    However, if Jared Zurn at NCARB is willing to test it with a Wacom One Small ( CTL472K1A ). You can find it on Amazon. This model are much more suitable for a testing environment given their modest size. This is what is really all that is needed.

    Jared @ NCARB, since you already are testing the software presumingly with the Proproctor, I like you to do a test with Proproctor, using a Wacom One Small (CTL472K1A), then test it. Install drivers BEFORE starting up the Proproctor program. 

    I can test PSI Bridge because I have the program and I can run it to see if the "browser" locks out or crashes or otherwise has a massive fit with the wacom devices that I'd mentioned. 

     

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