Digital Whiteboard Discirminates

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    Susan Anderson

    the typo is embarrassing and I don't know how to fix it

    But damnit my hand lettering is to die for, so there NCARB, stuff like that used to matter

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    Penelope Schmidt

    I am in a similar situation and I feel your pain. I have been trying to practice with the new whiteboard but under exam stress it is not second nature to me. The exam gives so little time per question you need to be very familiar with the tools they provide. I became an architect (UK) because I love to draw and create.

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    Susan Anderson

    I was just told by NCARB that "because you learned to practice architecture in a male-dominated profession, you should be able to use the white board."  No kidding. On a recorded line too, they don't even care.  Condescending, patronizing and pretty offensive. It's clear, and disappointing, NCARB has no interest in licensing architects.  We're all just scammers looking to cheat. Wow, I've never had a positive impression of an organization nosedive as fast as this one has.

     

     

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    Shannon McDonald

    Susan - Wow. Sorry for this whole experience.

    I don't know if you still have any interest in testing before scratchpaper is taken away from us. If so, this is a link to check testing availability before buying seats.

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    Susan Anderson

    Thank you, the link isn't working, but the test names were ARE 4,so I'll try through the center and see.

    Unfortunately I'm taking Construction Administration on Wednesday, probably the least scratch-paper intensive.  Does anyone have an idea of most to least use of scratch paper, I could schedule accordingly.

     

    I tend to think if enough people went  to their state boards there might be an impact.  Maybe an injunction forcing NCARB to provide data on cheating, data on beta testing (according to the video that one guy played with it for two weeks and it didn't crash.  THAT'S enough  to put licenses on the line?) and data showing candidates ability to express the same information in the same amount of time because they haven't changed the test or the times before implementing a change to testing center procedures.  I bet reasonable people would find NCARB acting in their own best interest, not in the interest of the candidates, in fact at the expense of many for the benefit of a few.  sorry still venting

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    Shannon McDonald

    I suggest scheduling PA, PPD, and PDD next so you have the ability to hand sketch solutions. I recall the other 3 were less about sketching and more about math and I used half as much paper. If you want to change the order of your tests, you may still be able to reschedule CE.

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    Susan Anderson

    thank you!   I don't know if I can reschedule CE but I will try to get the others in before the deadline

     

    Imagine the uproar in the spelling bee community of kids weren't allowed to 'write" out answers on their hands...

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    Sarah Rinehart

    It seems to me that NCARB benefits from the majority of their customers being of a younger age that is less able to pursue any type of lawsuit against them for this kind of discrimination...

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    Susan Anderson

    I think you are correct.

    Interesting you call them "customers/"  Ideally the word should be candidate, But NCARB does indeed treat us like customers, and it's the "take it or leave it" approach.  Like the phone company used to be.  (You have to be old to get that.  There used to be one phone company,  If you wanted a phone you had to put up with, or sue to change, them. They were awful because they could be.)

    And it's not really discrimination as far as the law goes, (that was an emotional post) it's NCARB doing things the easy way for them to make money and that easy way actually does harm, irreparable harm, to the candidate.

    I don't think it's going to hold up in court, not in 50 states,  They have no data-driven reason to change the requirements at the testing center, they're doing it because some people choose to take the test a different way.  And it causes harm to those at the testing center.  

    I don't know if I would feel it was this wrong if my phone called hadn't begun with the number one reason for the change is "We would have gone out of business if there was no online testing and the easiest way to implement it wast to make the rules the same.  I wouldn't have a job,  Neither would you."  When I replied I most certainly would have a job if NCARB went out of business, then it was "the states demanded it."  Eventually he reduced the whole issue to some whacko gender issue, because we all know if I can do architecture as a (old) female I can sketch with a mouse....

    Regardless I do have the resources and am starting on the state level.  I don't know about anyone else but I wouldn't waste my time taking a on-site test after Dec 14, not until some courts have weighed in.  NCARB doesn't get to change the fundamental way architectural problems are solved (pencil to paper) on a licensure exam, placing undue burden on the candidate by requiring a method that has zero to do with one's ability to practice.  The  technology required is used nowhere in any industry  (digital whiteboards in practice use a stylus. Why?  Oh because  no one can draw with a mouse) All this just so they can remain profitable.   When you've been given the sole responsibility to administer the licensure process you have a special duty to be fair.  And they're not.

    If this was asking CPA's to take their exam with an on screen calculator instead of a 10-key (once again, dating myself here) I wouldn't feel this way.  That's the same mental and almost the same physical process.  Pencil to paper, right side of the brain, something you've done so many times it's ingrained into your neural pathways, and struggling with a mouse, a left brain activity, harms the candidate, again for no reason other than an arbitrary and capricious decision by NCARB.

    Good thing not all candidates, excuse me, customers, aren't the same, right?  The profession needs diversity, right?  Old people count towards that.

    For the record when I was in school computers/CAD was an elective.  AutoCad did not exist, we used HOK draw.  I became proficient in CAD to get with the program.  I have become LEED credentialed to get with the program.  I use a tablet and stylus on the jobsite because the consultants do and I need to get with the program.  I've got three huge monitors on my desk.   I am NOT change/technology averse.  That's not what this is abut  It's about taking pencils away from archtects-to-be and say "here go take the most important test of your life. lol"

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    Kathryn O'Regan

    Susan, I completely agree.  Not only is "sketching" with a mouse completely unpractical, the whiteboard itself is atrocious.  MS Paint would have been better.  

    I'm also gathering resources and figuring out avenues to lodge formal complaints.  I don't think any other profession so actively discourages its professionals through BS unrelated to the actual profession...the whiteboard is just another, more glaring issue. Remember the 16bit demo exam??  Part of the problem is that, once licensed, architects don't have the same level of involvement with NCARB.  It would be helpful if licensed archs advocated for up and coming licensure candidates.

    In what state are you testing?  

    Katie

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    Susan Anderson

    I am testing in Wisconsin.

    One thing that might be effective is of nobody signed up to take any tests in December.  NCARB told me, and I quote 'If we couldn't accelerate our online testing we would go out of business, I would not have a job and the states decided all testing had to be the same." 

    So if it's about money nobody paying any would send a message

     

    I would advise anyone not to pay until this shakes out.  And the only way to force change quickly is to stop paying them.

    And I totally get why no one in the profession deals with NCARB unless they absolutely have to.  Why pay money to be treated like this? 

    "I'm still getting over "well you learned to do architecture in a male dominated profession so you can use the mouse to sketch."   Because those things are so much the same.  They put a woman on video and say "we have no bias" and then they say things like that on the phone.  No bias, I don't think so..... but in all fairness their bias seems to extgend to everyone they are supposed to help.

     

    There are a lot of legal points that lead to "capricious and arbitrary" including that online testing is fraught with risks, yet only one is being dumped on the onsite tester.  If the internet goes out the test is void, one must have special equipment and surroundings, yet the only risk the on-site test taker is asked to assume is the whiteboard.  That doesn't make the test the same.  Give me a blank room with a web cam in the testing center and we'll be the same.

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    Sarah Rinehart

    Susan - yes, my use of the word "customers" was intentional. I hope that you were able to get the name of the person you spoke with at NCARB so you can file a complaint against them for their spiteful and sexist comments.

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    Robin Kuc

    Susan, your reasoning is right on point.  The two testing situations will never be exactly the same and other people (almost 2500 of them) agree.  Nick@NCARB admitted in the last webinar that the mouse does not work well at all for writing on the whiteboard.  He said the best thing to do is to use the text tool and "type".  Well, technically that would work for formulae if you can easily read a formula with a forward slash instead of a horizontal line, but how the heck do you cross out units that way?  Not to mention the fact that the notes and scribbles we make do not follow the form of "text" in a line, so what they are asking us to do is simply unreasonable.

    From what I've seen over the years, Nick, Michelle, and the others are well-meaning and even nice people.  There is some sort of a disconnect within NCARB.  The leadership seems to be hell-bent on "dumbing down" the profession as a whole with the new notion of a four-year professional degree and accruing intern hours straight out of high school and they have been on this path for quite a while.  Who would go to a doctor who interned straight out of high school?? The LinkedIn post on the subject  of a 4-yr. degree drew (last I looked) 99 comments -- 98 of which were highly negative -- mostly from practicing architects.  There is something rotten at the top of this organization and I kind of feel sorry for the lower-ranking folks who have to implement these ill-conceived policies.  If this direction continues, it will doom the profession.

    Back to the whiteboard ... Without giving specifics, I am in your "neck of the woods" in age, Susan.  I have pointed out to NCARB that I have arthritis in my hands and wrists and this unnatural mouse manipulation is more difficult for me, despite the fact that the simple click & drag Revit motions are usually fine and far superior to AutoCAD motions.  (Have also pointed this out to Autodesk in ergonomic terms.)  I have asked NCARB about special accommodation.  Have not received a response.

    If the goal (as is often stated) is to have "consistency" of digital tools, then the testing is already in non-compliance.  Many people are experiencing unacceptable levels of malfunction, while others have none.  I pointed out in another post that zooming with CTRL+middle mouse roller worked for me in my first 3 tests, but not in the 4th.  It still works for me at home in the demo exam.  Another candidate reported exactly the same issue.  If zooming is not consistent across all exams, then that is yet another inconsistency.  If you ask me, the whole system is a mess and we are forced to experience an unnecessarily heightened sense of anxiety upon entering each test -- as in, "What technical glitch might possibly befall me this time?"

    It would be best for all of us candidates to stick together.  If someone is experiencing crashes or is left-handed, stick up for them -- even if your own experience is fine and you have no issues!  We should all be advocating for one another in this -- health, safety, welfare -- above all and FOR all.

    Personally, I will not register for the next exam until after the new cut scores are implemented.

    In case you're interested ... here are two recently published articles about the leadership....

    https://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/professional-development/lynne-dearborn-and-michael-monti-the-drawbacks-of-an-accredited-four-year-degree_o/

    https://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/professional-development/john-cary-and-casius-pealer-architecture-needs-a-three-year-internship_o

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    Joseph Petrarca (Edited )

    NCARB has always held an attitude that "we know better than you".

    Perfect example is the "CAD" software for the 4.0 vignettes.

    That software was just appallingly awful.  It really appeared that someone completely inexperienced, maybe one of the board member's kids, designed it.  The architectural problem and solution were often very easy but the whole point of passing the vignette was to see if you could be successful with their horrible tools.  On top of that, if you failed the vignette, you failed the entire exam.

    So now NCARB is giving us a whiteboard that is mouse-driven and extremely glitchy.  Another purposeful obstacle to effectively conveying our knowledge of the material of the exam.  As Architects, we draw constantly to work out problems, We each have our own style that we are comfortable with and helps us to arrive at a solution in a manner that works for our brain.  Sometimes this can be pretty detailed.  This is not possible whatsoever with the whiteboard,  It is far too crude to be able to be effective under pressure (read-quickly and accurately- as this is a timed exam).  It's not capable of the speed or accuracy that's required 

    Additionally, think of manipulating formula algebraically where you need to rearrange the formula and keep track of units.  Of course we all write the formula neatly , step by step, as we work it out,  This is impossible with the whiteboard. when we are tense from so much pressure on these exams , it's appalling that NCARB would throw such an obstacle in front of us.

    Look at the attached practice quiz screenshot...imagine working this out without being able to draw quickly and accurately.

    Additionally, the whiteboard occupies a portion of the screen so it blocks our main exam screen area.  If there was a second monitor, that would help. We constantly glance back and forth between the testing screens and our paper.  The paper is the primary means of organizing our thoughts quickly, highlighting the relevant data and "holding a thought". 

    if there were now a good Watcom stylus and pad, fine.  But this would require NCARB and Prometric to actually spend money.  And that aint gonna happen.

    If you think of NCARB and Prometric as just businesses- NCARB gets yearly ARE fees from us and Prometic get's paid every time we have to take and re-take an exam- from a business perspective, it benefits them to have us struggle as much as possible and take more exams over the course of more years.

    I'm so frustrated with the whole ARE experience after many years,.  I can't wait to be done with them.

    (credit Elif Bayram/arequestions.com)

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    Joseph Petrarca (Edited )

    OK...here's another one.

    Imagine trying to sketch this out with Whiteboard to get a handle on how to solve this cost estimate problem....with the mouse!

    Absolutely impossible.  Essentially you are not allowed to quickly evaluate the problem graphically to solve it.

    Seriously- I challenge anyone to draw this out and write all the calculations.

    And then, if you want to double check your work at the end of the exam...everything has to be erased if you're beyond 20 pages?

    (credit Elif B/arequestions.com)

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    Joseph Petrarca

    And lastly, another example of a very typical problem. (below) See the notes to work out the answer to this cost estimate question.  I included my hand written quick notes as well to solve the problem.  There's no WAY I can do even this on the whiteboard...within 2 minutes.  This isn't even one of the Case Study questions which can be much more complex!

    I would really appreciate some response from Nick NCARB or other NCARB personnel.

    Perhaps you could post screenshots of your results on the whiteboard for some of these problems and an honest assessment of the time required to do so,

    (credit Elif Bayram/arequestions.com)

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    Susan Anderson

    I don't think anyone from NCARB will weigh in. 

     

    They've dug in.  I haven't seen any indication of the maturity it would take to say "we made a mistake."  Are those people actual architects?  I'd expect to see pages of sketches and notes taken using the digital noticeboard. If it worked, we would.   I'd expect them to show their video of them using a mouse for a note taking technology all day long.  If it worked, we would.  They  know it sucks.  Their reaction is appalling.

    The bad news is that right now (and this could change) there doesn't seem to be a way to get this in federal court for an  injunction to stop this nonsense nationwide.  I hope we'll be filing next week in Wisconsin, asking for an injunction to stop all testing, stop online testing and continue on with the status quo, or allow the scratch paper at the testing center.  There is one real simple solution to this, allowing the scratch paper at the testing center, that hurts no one.  If they don't want to do that hopefully the courts will stop all testing.  There is irreparable damage done to candidates and the only beneficiary is NCARB.  Courts frown on that sort of thing.   A few other things too. 

    This is not rocket science law.  Did they really not expect anyone to challenge this?  I think once we file we can share the paperwork, I don;t know that it;'s going to be very different from state to state.  The injunction is all we need, then the burden is on NCARB to explain this mess,and provide the tons of data that ought to be required when you take away the fundamental tools of the profession for a licensing exam.

    They know this is horrible.  They could be mature professionals and say "we mad e a mistake. We realize it is wrong.  If you want the online test, you take the no scratch paper option.  If you're willing to go to the center, you get scratch paper. Thank you can we move on to other matters now." 

    I can't believe they're forcing this into the courts out of what, ego?  Pride?  Certainly the law is not on their side.

     

    My recommendation is to stand down and see what happens. I guess they're counting on candidates not having the resources to take them to court.  Well, old people come in handy for some things.

     

    Oh, also if anyone's test gets cancelled by Prometrics between now and Dec 14, I'd call a lawyer right away.  It's happened to one person,they cancelled a week before due to "technical issues" and wouldn't contact for re-schedule until after the 14th.  Failed tests is more money for NCARB and Prometrics.  They both seem to be sort of sleazy.  I'd watch for unusual cancellations.  NCARB needs 400 people to take each test in four weeks to establish their new cut score. If others have done what most have, tried to get as many tests in as possible before the 14th, they might be in trouble with their  made-up, arbitrary, sample number for new cut scores.  If there are random cancellations I would be suspicious.  Very.

     

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    Joseph Petrarca

    This is going to be an enormous issue when people start taking after Dec 14 and realize that they cannot organize their thoughts and pertinent data and write out formulae etc. with that crude whieboard.  There's way too much pressure on the exams to have to deal with this Fisher Price Sesame Street jazz.  And it is my opinion that we are paying NCARB and Prometric way to much to have to deal with it.  The paper works.  It's inexpensive and foolproof. Stop messing with us. The vast majority of candidates have zero interest in cheating.  Our commitment to this profession should be obvious given our enormous investment of time and money in our education and this ARE process so far.  Nobody who puts in all that work is going to risk any of it for some cheating.  I wish NCARB would respect our incredible hard work and dedication and work WITH us to gain licensure instead of purposefully making it more difficult.

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