Digital White Board

Comments

19 comments

  • Official comment
    Avatar
    Jared NCARB

    We’ve received many questions and concerns about the decision to add a whiteboard tool to the exam driver and eliminate physical paper and pencils. We would like to explain this decision to you and let you know what to expect moving forward.

    We understand that any changes to the ARE may be cause for concern as a candidate. NCARB is committed to keeping candidates informed about upcoming changes and providing access to any tool changes in time for candidates to adequately prepare to test.

    Please be on the lookout for further announcements in early October regarding other updates and policy shifts. In mid-October, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the new digital whiteboard tool through the demo exam in My NCARB.

    A digital whiteboard will replace physical paper.

    Candidates will still be able to take notes, outline potential solutions, and more using an online whiteboard option. More details regarding this tool, including the ability to become familiar with the tool via the Demonstration Exam in My NCARB, will be available in mid-October.

    NCARB understands this is a major change for some candidates, and it was not a decision that was made lightly. Below is additional information explaining NCARB’s reasoning behind this decision:

    Candidates must have a consistent exam experience regardless of test delivery.

    In order to maintain fairness across delivery modes, NCARB needs to ensure candidates are provided the same tools while testing, whether they are testing online or onsite. To launch online proctoring appropriately, NCARB will ensure consistent delivery tools for all candidates. 

    NCARB must ensure the security of exam content. 

    The ARE is an essential measure of candidate competency used by all 55 U.S. licensing boards. Allowing physical scratch paper for candidates testing via online proctoring would introduce a major security risk for exam content. It is more difficult to monitor the use and disposal of loose paper when candidates are testing from a remote location, as opposed to in a test center. Because of this, online proctoring cannot launch with the allowance of physical scratch paper.

    A “clean desk” policy is recommended by testing experts.

    The replacement of scratch paper follows best practices in testing recommended to NCARB by our psychometrician experts. Requiring a “clean desk” is the most reliable way to ensure that candidates are not violating the ARE Candidate Agreement. The desire to make online proctoring available may have moved the timeline for this decision forward, but it is not the only reason behind the change.

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Nick NCARB

    Hey Ashley,

    The whiteboard will be implemented on November 16th when online proctoring becomes available. Until then, all exam policies and functionality will not change. That means an October tester will have a pencil and paper in the Prometric test center. 

    -15
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Michael Riscica

    Nick, 

    Did NCARB ever consider how you would roll out all this information to the public? 

    Why did you guys decide to tell us that you were eliminating scratch paper and introduce the digital whiteboard without actually being able to demonstrate how it would work?

    People are freaking out right now about NCARB taking away the scratch paper. Check out the new petition your ARE Candidates and NCARB's Stakeholders have started, read the ccomments. https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/NCARB  

    Meanwhile NCARB has NOT shared all the information about how the digital whiteboard will work. You've only given us enough to draw our own conclusions and create more frustration, on top of how poorly NCARB handled the pandemic frustration. 

    Back in April, why did NCARB decide to introduce ARE 5.1 WITHOUT offering any timelines or details?  Having this information with no real details, drove everyone nuts. You also did the same thing when you announced the release of ARE 5.0 many years ago. 

    Do you guys ever consider the consequences with how you present information to the public? Even NCARB's feel good diversity and racism statement was inaccurate and completely backfired on you guys. 

    26
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Courtney Sluder

    Nick,

    Are we being provided tablets at Prometric then? Or allowed to use tablets in addition to our laptop/desktop for remote testing? No licensure candidate will be anywhere as efficient taking notes with a mouse than they are writing on paper. Are you improving the calculator so we can view previous calculations then instead of quickly writing them down? Are we given more time since it will take 5x as long to sketch a program diagram on the computer instead of on paper? So many candidates are filled with questions and frustrations because of all of this uncertainty. 


    There are so many other possible solutions if you're concerned about the exam's integrity. You could implement using laminated paper that can be erased (already implemented at some Prometric centers), a physical whiteboard, or you know, just let us keep using paper and then having it safely destroyed by Prometric like every other test does???

    I mentioned this on the blog post, but there is a serious disconnect between decisions made at NCARB and what licensure candidates need to be successful. Many of us would be happy to be part of civil discussions where NCARB presents proposed changes and we can provide feedback, suggestions, and priorities prior to these solutions being invested in, incorporated, and released without any feedback from candidates. This would help prevent a lot of the backlash you face every time changes made. 

    11
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Ashley Kettenring (Edited )

    Nick,

    This has many young professionals, myself included, concerned about how this will effect our test taking capabilities. There are a number of concerns that have been brought up, one being the lack of reliability of the testing software that is currently a problem and how adding another digital aspect will only increase the inconsistencies of the reliability of the software. Second, as aspiring architects we practice daily sketching, jotting meeting notes, etc. We work with our hands and are visual learners. Although technology and software is a part of our daily lives, being able to have devices available to write is crucial. Therefore, I strongly believe that writing resources should still be made available during in person testing. Without this I and among others, will not be able to perform well on these exams and heightens our risk of failing. I do ask that NCARB strongly reconsiders this decision to take away writing resources during the exams.

    6
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Emeline Gabbour

    Nick, 

    Although we appreciate any communication from NCARB, but how can you possibly implement a new feature instead of improving the tools you already have? I'm curious to know how many candidates have told NCARB how much they love the 7th century calculator! or the other useless tools such as strikethrough, or the "forever loading" resources. I'm sure we will rave about whiteboard! 

    I haven't heard one person saying that they are excited about not having pencil and paper. 

     

    4
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sarah Rinehart

    Nick,

    This is devastating news for all of us. The pen and paper is literally an extension of my brain. I cannot fathom taking PDD without the ability to quickly write down notes on the fly. It is also unfathomable to release this information only on the NCARB website without any further information beyond that there will be a new whiteboard feature. NCARB must send out an email to all members so they are aware of what to expect in the very near future. It is completely unfair to also not provide the ability for test takers to practice using this new software before the day of the exam. In 4.0 at least there was the ability to practice vignettes with the horrible software that we had to use.

    This is incredibly frustrating and completely unfair. You cannot take away this vital part of test taking without providing more information let alone a better solution such as a tablet and stylus. Also how dare NCARB continue to charge the same amount for taking these exams when they are taking away such an important feature. I am so glad I only have one more test to take so I can be done with this awful experience.

    I had to forfeit PDD after 2 questions into the exam because the software at Prometric was too slow to load the information on the screen. The last time I took it, just a week ago, the software froze and I there was a 15 minute delay until the employees there could restart the computer. I wound up losing 5 minutes of time. I failed that exam. NCARB needs to do better.

    9
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Kristen Stanford

    Hey Nick,
    Can you not see how much stress you have added to the licensure process? There are many people who are deciding to maybe pick a new career because they are sick of the issues from NCARB about testing! Here’s a better idea, roll out this idea when you actually update to the next test version. I test Nov 16. Now I have to somehow fit in time to learn new software once you actually decide to release it. I cannot tell you how much stress and anxiety you have caused me the last 24 hours. And as someone above said, you released this information in a blog post! What we should start is a petition for all of you guys to be fired because you are royally screwing up the process and have zero care for how it affects us!

    6
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Dalton Webb

    Hey Nick,

    So NCARB is developing a sketching software to replace pencil and paper because it is a liability? How? 

    I understand that NCARB says is a liability for someone taking the exam at home because someone can write down exam content. This shows how out of touch NCARB is about with people that take the exam. Most people that take the exam self regulate ourselves when it comes to exam content. Most online forums or groups have lines drawn when it comes to sharing specific content from exams taken. So where is the proof that this is a liability?

    Also, it seems that NCARB has not learned the lesson from the vignette software used in the past. You tried to make a software that everyone would have to learn. So with this, "White board", you are forcing people to do the same thing, AGAIN. Who are the ones testing this software out? In order for this to be successful you will need to have people who have varying methods of sketching. Some people need pen and paper. If those types of people is not included in the test group you are giving them a disadvantage when taking the exams.

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sarah Vinyets

    Nick, adding to Ashley's initial question.

     

    Will the "digital whiteboard" have a shape (line, square, circle) tool, and a type/text tool?

    The concept of drawing words and numbers with a mouse raises concerns and questions such as added time for the exam, time that is lost trying to maneuver ANOTHER program on the screen.

    Follow up question-- Will there be a time adjustment to the exams to account for maneuvering this digital whiteboard ?

    Follow up question to that - How will the capacity of the testing software uphold to yet another added element on the screen?

    Follow up question - Will this create visibility issues between the whiteboard and the questions on the screen? How are we supposed to review the question and our though process if one is blocking the other?

    Follow up question - Is there a financial interest in contracting with the "digital whiteboard" provider? If so, is that ethical to the profession, its candidates, and best interest?

    Final question: Was this even a discussion amongst candidates, who was this reviewed and discussed amongst? I don't understand how this becomes a liability without any explanation. 

    You, NCARB, cannot exist without WE THE PEOPLE. We already have to wear masks at a difficult time. This decision to implement this with several changes happening is extremely unethical. 

     

    11
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Tony Young (Edited )

    A "digital white board" can not provide a similar experience as scratch paper. Scratch paper is meant to be quick and done without looking but a computer screen. Why would NCARB wink this was a good idea for architects. How many times in the office when working on designs for we SKETCH....same as scratch paper this is absurd. Then I read that if you take a break you won't have access to pervious questions, how is one supposed to check their WORK before submitting. This seems unfair and not thought out!!!!!

    5
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Jacob Cherry

    Please disclose the communication NCARB has had regarding testing liabilities with the various state licensing boards who have expressed that scratch paper should be refused for professional candidates during their licensing examinations.

    3
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    I'd like to chime in as well, having taken these exams, and completely agree with everyone's take on this.  Having the scratch paper to write on makes this test so much more manageable.  I needed that ability to take my eyes away from the screen, jot out some math or other sketches on a piece of paper, and then answer the question.  Putting this on the actual computer just adds another layer of having to switch back and forth on a system that is already experiencing lagging and delay issues that are well documented on this Forum.  NCARB should offer the whiteboard as an OPTION to test takers if they want it, but not take away the scratch paper option as well.

    To say that scratch paper, which is a physical item that someone could try to sneak out with, is a liability - I don't buy it.  Sorry.  Have you been to a Prometrics testing center to take the ARE?  I had nothing short of a full body cavity search to both get in and get out of those testing centers.  The proctors do a very good job of making you turn in things when you're done and check to make sure you don't have anything on you when you walk in.  You have cameras literally staring at you in the face while you take your test.  I can't have imagined myself being able to walk out of that testing center with scratch paper I used during the exam.  And if I somehow did, I'm for sure on camera and will get caught.  Seems to me this could easily be controlled by upgrading instead the protocols for Prometrics staff.  Have them document, "Dave Kaplan has 2 pieces of paper in the testing center and 2 pencils" before I walk in so that when I walk out, I better damn well have those items to give back or I'm not getting out of there easy.

    And let me say this as well - OK let's say that this HAS in fact occurred and NCARB is finding that people, somehow, have been sneaking it out.  So OK, scratch paper is no more, right?  There - that'll put a stop to that!  Well, what's to say that there aren't people who take the exam, have good memories and a lot of the questions fresh in their heads, and then immediately go home and write all of them down and share them with their friends?  You can't control that either, it's illegal, but unfortunately it probably happens too.  So unless you have that special mind eraser stick from the Men In Black movies that erases someone's memory, you're out of luck there as well.  So why control this in this way?  You're trying to weed out the bad eggs but hurting all the good in the process.  

    This is a very poor decision on NCARB's part to eliminate scratch paper.  Don't make these test more complicated than they have to be.  Please reconsider this.  

    8
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Katheryn L Mollet

    I have an exam scheduled for November 9th, that was just cancelled by Prometric out of the blue. I am extremely frustrated especially if dates to reschedule are after the implemented no scratch paper. I can't believe you would take away our ability to write, sketch, and calculate on physical paper when we are trained to do that as architects. Writing to us is muscle memory.

    Even if a candidate does manage to sneak scratch paper out of the facility, without getting caught or reprimanded to the extent of suspension and termination of the candidates record, aren't there enough questions that the exams ask to ensure that no two candidates receive the same questions? There is no possible way that a candidate could write down enough information and get through the exam to reveal the entirety of the exam. This is a slap in the face for people who rely on critical thinking to get through questions. The exams are already upwards of 5 hours long. If we have to use a digital portal to write on screen, it must be answered with more time added to the exam, which is not even an ideal conclusion considering the exams are already taxing enough.

    LISTEN TO YOUR CANDIDATES. THIS CANNOT GO THROUGH. THIS IS BLASPHEMOUS.

    4
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Arielle Lapp

    Will we have dual monitors so we don't have to toggle between the whiteboard and the exam?  

    8
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sarah Rinehart

    I have seen other exams at Prometric that provide dry erase markers and a laminated plastic sheet of paper to use in place of real scratch paper. Why isn't this a viable option?

    7
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Alana Davidson

    This decision is quite honestly...devastating.

    As it is, I already struggle with the time allotment.

    If you take away the paper and leave the tests the same number of questions and same time allotment - I will not finish them on time.

    You had to have known that hand scratch paper vs. 'digital whiteboard' is not a one to one time swap.

    I cannot be the only person who will be hindered severely by this.

     

     

     

     

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Madeline Bany (Edited )

    Nick,

    Will you be able to provide special accommodations for those of us that are left handed? I use a right handed mouse normally, but trying to write with my non-dominant hand using a mouse is extremely time consuming and results in illegible handwriting. This is a huge disadvantage to everyone but especially those of us that would have to take notes and/or draw using our non-dominant hand.

    6
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    James Shelton (Edited )

    So we will have to use our mouse to write out on the same screen as the test questions, calculator etc? Will all the computers be upgraded or provided with an extra monitor or tablet/stylus? Will extra time be given considering how big of an adjustment this will be for test takers? This all seems very poorly thought out and should have been mentioned as a possibility when considering implementing the online proctoring option.

    1
    Comment actions Permalink

Post is closed for comments.

Powered by Zendesk