Whiteboard vs. Old Age Tester

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14 comments

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    James Shelton (Edited )

    I'm in the same boat, left-handed writer, right-handed mouser, and an older tester. The implementation of this will impact my last two exams as I have them scheduled after Nov. 16. One of which will be a retake of a section that I used almost all of the scratch paper writing notes and calculations.

    I understand there was a push for online proctoring with the emergence of Covid and on the surface NCARB was under pressure to offer an online option (the more sinister conflict of interest stuff, I'll leave to others to point out) but they should have mentioned that this would be a possibility when they first started looking into offering online proctoring.Why did it take a pandemic to get them to offer this option in the first place?

    I agree with Dean's comment about why they haven't offered to phase this in over an extended period of time. There will be massive issues during the initial roll-out, are they prepared to allow free retakes or extend the time for each test to allow for the fact that everyone will have to adjust to this? Will we be allowed to use two monitors at home if we choose that option?

    The more cynical part of me is that they thought this all through but simply don't care because at the end of the day if we want to be licensed, we have to go through them.

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    Russell Combs (Edited )

    I am an OLD tester as well.  I just took one of the exams today and I am quite disappointed that there is not more considerations for old people.  I do not know if I passed or not, but I must say that for older people like myself just being able to see and read the questions on the screen is very difficult, and don't even get me started on the case studies and trying to see the small print of the supporting information.  I have always had poor eyesight, but like everyone, it has gotten worse with age. The company I work for has provided me with a large screen monitor (42") to help me preform my duties without issue.  

    While taking the exam at the testing center I needed to wear a mask, which I have no issue with, but wearing a mask tends to fog up my glasses which becomes a annoyance. Today I was asked twice by testing center staff, while taking the exam, to stop touch my mask and glasses, or I would be ask to leave.  This stressed me out and made me even more angry about the size of text on the screen.  At multiple times I found myself with my face 2 to 3 inches away from the screen just to read the questions.

    Now if I had unlimited time to work on the exam this would not be that big of an issue, I could work through it.  But we all know that the exams are timed, which adds to the frustration.   The exams are to test our competency and understanding, why should in also be an eye exam as well!  Places of employment are not allowed to discriminate because of age or physical ability and are required to make provisions for people that need them.  Why is NCARB not also required to do so?

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    Jared NCARB

    James and Dean,

    Clearly it was the pandemic that drove the decision to launch an online proctored option at this time. NCARB has been evaluating online proctoring for some time but it wasn't until recent advancements were made in the monitor process and program that we were comfortable with the underlying security. Then, COVID-19 escalated the timeline to provide a testing option for candidates that are not comfortable or have underlying health concerns about testing in a center.

    I understand the desire to phase this in, however, the changes necessary require a reevaluation of the cut score and we want to avoid multiple delays in score reporting as rollouts would happen. By having a switch-over date, all changes can be factored into the one score reevaluation.

    As for your two monitors question, candidates that test online will only be able to have one active display screen while testing. More specific information about how to set up an online testing area will be released in early October which will include the technical requirements for delivery.

    Hopefully, as you see the full solution, you can appreciate the efforts to make the exam more effective, provide a flexible delivery alternative, while still maintaining fairness and validity.

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    Dean Schimmenti

    To Jared,

    As I understand that change is inevitable, an abrupt transition is NOT the answer.  As you can see from the MULTITUDE of ARE candidates that have come out of the woodwork to express their major concerns with this shows the BLATANT disregard for the testing public!  Not to mention the secrecy and manipulation surrounding the CEOs and NCARB council members with this new platform. NCARB has a complete stranglehold on all ARE candidates whom have no recourse against such ill-conceived changes.  We will not stay quiet on this. 

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    Jared NCARB

    Dean,

    I hear you and understand. I'm sorry if NCARB's efforts to be responsive with online proctoring came across as blatant disregard. That certainly is not the nature or intent of our efforts.

    As for the Lineup initiative, I have to say that hasn't been secretive and I do hope the other thread has cleared up the reality as to what is truly happening. I believe hasn't talked to candidates about Lineup because it doesn't impact the licensure process in any substantial way. Our intent was secrecy, I truly believe we just thought talking about it would be a distraction.

     

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    Jared NCARB

    Juan,

    NCARB is trying to be responsive and, in that, clearly underestimated candidate sentiment on what it would mean to add a whiteboard and eliminate paper and pencils from the testing experience.

    I agree that clarity around the tools provided and available while testing is critical. And, yes, decisions made today will have long term impacts well after COVID-19 as NCARB is not viewing online proctoring as a short-term effort. We are committed to this being a longterm option for ARE candidates.

    I appreciate your reminder to use responsibility and power both accordingly and sensitively. That will certainly be shared throughout the organization as this conversation continues.

     

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    James Martzahl (Edited )

    Here's how the majority think this is going to play out :

    • Next week NCARB does nothing and buries its head in the ground thinking that rolling out the digital whiteboard rushed on 16th will be great for everyone (that petition only got nearly 2,000 signatures anyways, what do they know)
    • Everyone rushes to schedule exams prior to November 16th and because of this rushed non sense, passing rates will drop
    • Everyone reschedules exams that they failed (yay NCARB gets more money) and then we all see what insane nonsense this whiteboard actually is. passing rates continue to drop 
    • Feeling broken down, I wouldn't doubt at this point many people kick their exams back as long as they can in hopes that NCARB learns and changes (they don't)
    • multiple candidates end up running out of time on the rolling clock and are forced to study for exams already completed (yay NCARB gets more money)

    Do you understand how bleak the relations between NCARB and the testing candidates will be if this actually happens? 

     

     

     

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    Jared NCARB

    James,

    Yes, I do understand how terrible that would be. And, I don't want any of those things to happen. I will do my part to help NCARB avoid this forecast.

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    Agnieszka Jastrzebska

    Jared,

    Is there a way NCARB  would consider to use a paper in testing centers and do white board at other locations?.. I don't understand why would that be a problem. The same rules are not "the same" if there is entire new tool to be use during a crucial crunch at the end of the exam.. It is up to the individual how well they adopt to new digital tools... AND this has NOTHING to do with being an architect,, by the way. I am 59!... I don't have time to despair. I already started to look what can buy to learn the darn white board...By the way - NCARB should advice what tools I can start using to get comfortable with that new tool.

    I do think that the decision makers in NCARB should revisit the white board implementation.

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    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Jared, I support online proctoring as an option for test takers. I don't think that is an issue or concern as much. The thing that got examinees miffed the most is the decision to remove physical scratch paper. The digital whiteboard idea isn't necessarily bad for ONLINE proctoring especially if we are allowed to use graphic tablets & stylus, touch screen monitor (a lot of laptops already have touchscreen support) & stylus. I mentioned about graphic tablets before and they are not to be confused with say... an iPad or Android tablet or smart phone. That can be specified in terms of rules.

    I took the effort to narrow down the idea of graphic tablets that doesn't serve as a second monitor so a Wacom bamboo would pass but the Wacom Cintiq won't because I am taking proctoring practices and concerns in mind but the tablet would allow use of a mouse or pen shaped stylus. We would control the pointer with the stylus much like we do the mouse and in the age of yore..... light pens, joysticks, etc. It is that the pen form factor allows sketching to be more 'natural' but you do have to look at the screen not the tablet so much. This would make using your digital white board more amenable even though it isn't quite like an actual pencil/pen and paper. At a proctoring site, I see no reason why they can't be allowed to use physical scratch paper. You aren't likely to spend the money to equip the test centers with Wacom bamboo graphic tablets or touchscreen monitors & stylus at each computer station.

    At home via online proctoring, at least I am not going through a TSA style full body & cavity search protocol where I would have to strip down to my underwear. With a test center, they are getting pretty close to that. Maybe some of their exam security folks are laid off TSA workers. Who knows? Who cares? However, I want to see online proctoring of ARE but I also don't want unnecessary burden put on test takers with requiring something like the digital whiteboard without time.

    If NCARB allows physical scratch paper, whether you take the exam remotely or at a test center, for another 6 months or so, I'm okay with them launching the digital whiteboard and allow time for people to learn it and get familiar with it knowing that eventually in 6 months or so, scratch paper would be discontinued. Soft launch the digital whiteboard, begin the online proctoring option, establish a protocol. Suggestion: Require test takers who are remote proctoring to use a cross-cutting P-4 to P-6 security level paper shredder for shredding the scratch paper during check-out process.

    Examinees are not going to need a P-7 security level paper shredder. That's for shredding NSA / Top Secret classified documents not this stuff. A P-4 to P-5 level paper shredder is sufficient. After they are shredded into such confetti, no one is going through the trouble of piecing them back together again. It isn't worth the trouble so seriously, a basic paper shredder that I mentioned is actually a good idea for exam security. If NCARB or the proctors really like, I'll mail you the confetti.

    As it is, the proctors are using similar grade paper shredders to shred the scrap paper they get returned to them. If it allows me to use scratch paper, I don't mind shredding the papers in front of the webcam during checkout. If necessary, I'll buy a P-6 level paper shredder. 

    So you get an idea of what I am talking about P-4 through P-7 paper shredder: https://www.abe-online.com/paper-shredder-levels-of-security

    I'm pretty sure we aren't talking about confidential documents like print out to nuclear launch codes or other highly sensitive national security type information. 

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    laura vidal (Edited )
     

    Dean, James, and Russell: 

    NCARB is not listening to us. Please contact your state board, AIA, and any other organization that you think could help. Jared here is doing his job as best as he can and he has made clear that the whiteboard is staying, whether we like it or not. with around 2000 people that have signed the petition for NCARB to not take away the scratch paper, you would think that they at least would bat an eye, but they don't seem to care enough.
    Jared, I am glad that the online version is coming through (I understand and I agree that this will help a lot of people, especially during a pandemic), but taking away the paper and all these changes are very unfair to test takers.  

     
     
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    laura vidal
     

    Contact the press and say how NCARB is so disconnected from the profession that it thinks that taking paper away from architects is a good idea. it is practically impossible to put paper and architecture apart. This must be some sort of historic joke. 

     
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    James Martzahl

    Here's how the majority think this is going to play out :

    • Next week NCARB does nothing and buries its head in the ground thinking that rolling out the digital whiteboard rushed on 16th will be great for everyone (that petition only got nearly 2,000 signatures anyways, what do they know)

    We are now here Jared

    • Everyone rushes to schedule exams prior to November 16th and because of this rushed non sense, passing rates will drop
    • Everyone reschedules exams that they failed (yay NCARB gets more money) and then we all see what insane nonsense this whiteboard actually is. passing rates continue to drop 
    • Feeling broken down, I wouldn't doubt at this point many people kick their exams back as long as they can in hopes that NCARB learns and changes (they don't)
    • multiple candidates end up running out of time on the rolling clock and are forced to study for exams already completed (yay NCARB gets more money)

    Do you understand how bleak the relations between NCARB and the testing candidates will be if this actually happens? 

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