I fully support online proctoring and the other changes that were made to the exam. I absolutely don't feel comfortable right now in testing at an in-person location, but would like to wrap up my exam process as soon as possible.
I was looking forward to testing out the new whiteboard and to having my mind changed as to how hard it would be to use. Well, unfortunately it is exactly as I expected: very hard to write in numbers, notes and calculations with a mouse in a way that is effective and readable. I even tried it using my digital pen ( I have a touch screen laptop), and still it was terrible to use. It requires skill, time and patience, which are hard to have when a candidate is already using all of his or her mental abilities to get through the exam.
I think the use of the whiteboard would negatively impact candidates' ability to be tested properly. We are supposed to be tested on knowledge surrounding Architecture, not our ability to use a digital tool like this one.
I just can't understand why the whiteboard was introduced. I recently took an online proctored exam for a different discipline, and was granted the use of 2 sheets of blank white Letter size paper. The Prometric exam supervisor was able - via webcam - to inspect both sides of the sheets, along with inspecting my desk and surroundings for compliance with the exam requirements. After I completed my exam, I had to - in front of the camera and with the Prometric agent watching closely - tear up both sheets of paper in 16 pieces, and place the pieces in a bin.
Why can't NCARB adopt a similar policy? The scratch paper could be maintained for both the in-person and online exam, thus providing the same exam experience for both scenarios.
Please take action on all the pushback there has been on the whiteboard. It is extremely important to be able to jot down notes and calculations while taking the exam, and with the digital tool you introduced it simply would not work.
It also looks as if the content of the white board stays on the whiteboard unless you erase it. This require an extraneous amount of time, especially because it has already been noted that the eraser tool lags and is glitchy.There needs to be a clear all button or it needs to be reset per question.
I agree with Julia.
I don't plan on taking an online proctor exam but I did try out the whiteboard in the demo exam, its just as faulty as the testing software and I had difficulties with the functions, including the eraser. Since security is an issue, I still don't see why in-person test takers are not allowed scratch paper. It's pretty evident that no matter what it is still two different testing experiences between in-person and proctored exams. Since NCARB is adamant on making it as similar experience as possible why not
1. provide ALL test takers dry erase boards or 2. As Julia suggested still allow scratch paper and have each test taker tear up the paper at the end of the exam.
I have not heard from any other professional testing council that has implemented this.
LEED Exams for online proctoring https://www.usgbc.org/help/am-i-allowed-any-scratch-paper-and-penpencil
PE Exam pg 7 https://ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/ExamineeGuide_November-2020.pdf
MPRE(Bar Exam) https://www.ncbex.org/exams/mpre/test-day-policies/
EPPP pg 16 - dry erase whiteboards may be provided https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.asppb.net/resource/resmgr/eppp_2/10_2020_eppp_candidate_handb.pdf
These are some of the top professional certification/licensing exams, in-person and even some proctored exams, that provide scratch paper. I hope NCARB has fully taken into consideration this decision and reviewed how these exams are administered. If these highly recognized exams allow scratch paper, why are we not allowed scratch paper?
Thanks for posting all of your comments, questions, and concerns about the new whiteboard tool. NCARB understands this is a major change for many candidates, and it was not a decision that was made lightly. As previously stated on this Community, candidates taking exams online or in-person must have a consistent exam experience regardless of test delivery. That means we can't provide scratch paper to candidates testing in-person but not to those testing online. This is a fairness and equity issue that also undermines the validity of the exam. There are also major security issues with having a candidate tear up their notes in an online proctored environment.
One important note on launching the demo, it has been developed to be delivered on the Chromium platform, so make sure you are using the latest version of Chrome. Using other browsers like Firefox, Safari, or Edge may cause some functionality issues with the exam. If you plan to take an ARE online in the future, you will also need to have the latest version of Chrome installed on your computer.
Regarding the whiteboard, we are currently working to improve the performance of the eraser tool. We appreciate the feedback. When it comes to deleting content on the whiteboard, there are several different ways to accomplish this task. You can use the eraser tool, click the red X button in the upper right corner of the screen, or right click on text or an object and select remove. Another approach is to add additional pages as needed.
Finally, I want to address concerns about the whiteboard slowing down the testing process and potentially impacting a candidate’s ability to meet the passing threshold, or cut score. As many of you already know, we will be adjusting the cut score for each division based on the modified number of items, increased timing, faster PDF reader, whiteboard, and navigation to ensure that all candidates continue to be assessed fairly. By setting an updated cut score, NCARB is making sure that you are being evaluated appropriately based on the tools available to all testers.
my computer has a Intel Core i9-9900K Eight-Core Processor with 32 gigs of ram. I am running the most current version of google chrome. The eraser tool isnt working properly. Does it work for you?!???
"As previously stated on this Community, candidates taking exams online or in-person must have a consistent exam experience regardless of test delivery."
But it's not a consistent exam experience. One person is a controlled environment and the other is in an uncontrolled environment using web cameras for security.
"This is a fairness and equity issue..."
I think you meant to say this is an equality issue, NOT an equity issue. If NCARB was being equitable, they would only use the digital white board for remote proctored exams.
Thank you for responding.
I understand the concern about security issues and thank you for acknowledging that employing the whiteboard was a hard decision. I also think though that the protocols that are in place to discipline candidates who infringe the copyright agreement would discourage the divulgation of exam content the same way the current exam format already does. If someone really wants to take the risk of cheating, they will find a way no matter what, unfortunately.
I just feel that the pencil/hand connection is fundamental in helping to think about answers to certain questions.
I hope the time adjustment provided to the exams is sufficient in covering the extra time needed to use the whiteboard. I also hope NCARB analyzed every possible solution and compared it's standard to that of other rigorous licensing exams.
A certified return envelope and tamper seal with scratch paper could be sent to candidates' homes, perhaps, and at the end of the exam - surveiled by the Prometric agent - the candidate could seal the scratch paper inside and send it back to NCARB/Prometric. I don't know, I feel there must be a better solution. Anyhow, I still hope to be testing remotely as soon as possible.
You're right, it is impossible to make sure that every testing environment is identical. We certainly understand and acknowledge that fact. As much as we would like every Prometric test center to be identical from an experience perspective, it is not possible.
However, there are many things that we can do to make the experience the same. We can ensure that all candidates have access to the same exam tools including navigation functionality, breaks, the digital calculator, and the whiteboard regardless of their testing environment. Testing tools are not determined based on an individual's ability to go to an in-person test center or inability to meet the technical specifications for online proctoring.
Once again, we are currently working to improve the performance of the eraser tool. We appreciate the feedback.
I appreciate that NCARB is trying to do its best to improve the whiteboard tool. NCARB clearly cares about the candidates' testing experience. But NCARB is making a fatal mistake, because they aren't listening to the actual candidates taking these exams. Reading through these forums I have not yet found a single person who supports this decision who doesn't work for NCARB.
Please listen to us. This isn't a issue of preference. This system DOES NOT WORK. We aren't saying we would like the digital whiteboard to be made "better" we need another solution. A stylus and pen, a physical whiteboard that can be erased for the proctor to see, physical paper that needs to be mailed back, etc. NCARB has many talented members on staff and with a little creativity I'm sure you can develop an alternative. The issue seems to be that NCARB is unwilling to come up with a different writing tool. But if you think we will eventually give in and take the exams "your way" you are mistaken. You are standing in the way of people taking and passing these exams. It might be intentional, it might be accidental, but it doesn't really matter. Either way NCARB needs to fix this issue or at least admit publicly that NCARB cares more about its pride than it does its candidates. Please just admit this switch to a digital whiteboard was a mistake and then I'm sure it will be easy to find an alternative. If you really cannot think of any other way to ensure the security of these exams, please feel free to contact me or other candidates. We would be happy to brainstorm and come up with a mutually agreed upon alternative.
Thank you for your time,
It's 100% intentional. It's not in NCARB's financial interest for people to pass exams.
This explains the digital whiteboard, the terrible pass rates, the software problems, thousands of exams getting canceled in 2020, terrible Customer Service, inability to take responsibility for their mistakes and their consistent poor communication.
NCARB only cares about NCARB, not you.
Even on this thread from November, NCARB stated, "Regarding the whiteboard, we are currently working to improve the performance of the eraser tool." THEY NEVER FIXED IT. NOTHING CHANGED.
Lisa you are wasting your time complaining to NCARB about NCARB. Complain to your State Architecture Board and the AIA. Ask the AIA when they are going to start being advocates for the next generation of Architects and stop pretending there isnt a problem. I've canceled my AIA Membership because of AIA's inability to be Advocates with these NCARB issues.
Michael Riscica, YoungArchitect.com
Im using the software now with the latest version of chrome. Its utterly useless. the whiteboard wont even allow me to "close" it suddenly. Its stuck in the open position.
Then there is the part where if you want to jot key info down in a text box on a whiteboard page you can not read that key info and transcribe at same time because the whiteboard doesn't have the option of not blocking the text of the program you are reading.
As architecture students we learned on PAPER...miles and miles of trace paper where we rigorously sketched out notes and drew diagrams and sections and site plans and did all of our analysis...on paper.
To take that away from us is simply cruel and unjustifiable.
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