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Public outing of ARE misconduct

G4tor

NCARB posted this little tidbit about ARE misconduct and have publicly outed a few individuals who have breached these conducts. https://www.ncarb.org/press/sa...

What do you guys think? Do you think it's fair for NCARB to publicly paint a target on these conduct breakers? These names will apparently be on the NCARB website for the years to come. We all know how painful the AREs are and while I'm definitely not condoning their behavior i can sympathize with them. 

 
Feb 13, 19 3:49 pm
Non Sequitur

it's part of being transparent to the public and self-governing.  

Feb 13, 19 4:00 pm
gibbost

Public reprimand is a bitch.  https://www.ncarb.org/get-lice...

But I'd say that NCARB reporting it to the state board is the one that really stings. While I cuss NCARB about once a year (generally when they send me my annual notice) I do believe they are here to help ensure the stability and validity of licensure.  I applaud their effort to police this as best they can.  Perhaps this will make others think twice about transmitting test info.

Feb 13, 19 4:00 pm
Bench

This is odd. They shared exam questions? How is that even possible? And whats up with the entire group being within the NYC area?

Feb 13, 19 4:00 pm
thisisnotmyname

Many believe that ARE questions come from a finite pool and are thus reused periodically. People believe that you if write down all of the questions you remember, others can study them and perhaps get asked the same questions when they take the test. All of this is against NCARB's rules that candidates agree to abide by.

RickB-Astoria

At any moment in time, there are always a finite pool of questions even if they are a large pool. There is always a limited number of questions. That's all that needs to be said. Argue otherwise and you are arguing against the laws of physics and pretty much scientific reality.

threeohdoor

Most of them had ties to SOM, so I assume they had a little study party where people shared a bit too much. Apparently, there was a group member who blew the whistle. Seems rough.

5839

They've done this before.  Back in my era (testing in the early 2000s) there was the infamous Donna (NOT the Donna who is a regular on this forum these days!  But I don't want to publish her last name, since it was a long time ago and that should be allowed to fade into her past I think.)  She widely circulated a compiled document of test content, and was barred from completing her tests for 3 years. 

For NCARB to go to the lengths of publishing names I'm sure they have a pretty iron-clad case against them.  In the Donna case she had actually acknowledged online that she knew what she was doing violated the rules, and once NCARB started having sites remove her document she continued to offer to email it to anybody who asked.  I think that when people flaunt their cheating to that extent they deserve to be outed.

Feb 13, 19 4:02 pm

Definitely not me, 5839, thanks for making that clear!

On the fence

I do remember that. It was actually entertaining.

5839

It's interesting that some of those people got harsher sentences than others (NCARB certificate prevented for 3 years vs 2).  Maybe some were distributors of content while others were just recipients of the info.

Feb 13, 19 4:06 pm
thisisnotmyname

NCARB and fairness are polar opposites.

That said, these kids may have been pretty flagrant in their cheating if they managed to get caught.  On the other hand, young people with no money for attorneys could easily be railroaded by NCARB.

It would be interesting to hear their side of the story.  I wonder if NCARB has these people bound into non-disclosure agreements.

Feb 13, 19 4:09 pm
archanonymous

a bunch of current and former SOM employees with ivy-league backgrounds? 


boo-hoo.

Feb 13, 19 4:38 pm
flatroof

Indeed, bump in the road. Pritzkers for all in 30 years.

citizen

The state board here regularly publishes names of various offenders in the quarterly newsletter, and makes clear which are for minor (common) versus major infractions (rare).

It's almost like a gossip column.  ("Hey!  I knew him in school!")


Feb 13, 19 5:18 pm
archanonymous

What is a minor infraction?

b3tadine[sutures]

Minor would be forgot to renew license and signed a drawing, or held yourself out to be an architect, with an expired license.

citizen

Yes and yes. And/or not executing a contract before commencing work.

Sean!

I'm curious what materials or information they had.. Looks like they all worked together.

Feb 13, 19 5:27 pm
randomised

"I'm curious what materials or information they had.."and if they're willing to share!

starling
The GOSSIP (caps for emphasis) I heard was that the firm reported the emails exchanged between these individuals to NCARB to avoid any possible legal trouble.

Be careful what you share via work email?
Feb 13, 19 8:46 pm
SneakyPete

Don't work at firms who monitor your every fucking email?

Rusty!

This is super weird since all of the Prometric locations in NYC offer an experience of literally visiting Rikers Island that was also turned into an airport. You can't even wear clothes when you take your test!

Sneaking out anything is not really an option. NCARB should look into which location might have been compromised specifically. Chances are it is the same location for all people shame named there. 

INSIDE JOB 9/11 JET FUEL CAN'T MELT STEEL

Feb 13, 19 10:30 pm
Formerlyunknown

I recall that twice when NCARB made a stink about test-taker misconduct in the past their announcements about those instances of misconduct seemed very conveniently timed to deflect attention away from other NCARB issues that were much more NCARB's fault.  

When the "Donna situation" happened, NCARB's news about that came just a few days after the news broke about a secret cut score study they were doing that held up everybody's test scores that spring for up to 5 months.  A year or two later they announced that a few more people had been caught sharing test info and had their testing privileges suspended - and sent a round of threatening postcards about how misbehaving test-takers might cause delays in testing for everybody.  That time it was just a few days after an NCARB admission about a glitch that had caused some people to fail one of the exam divisions.  Those could be total coincidences - or they could be a pattern of taking attention off of NCARB f*ck-ups by shining a flood light on a tiny number of badly-behaving test candidates.  It will be interesting to see if any new NCARB issues emerge soon to continue the apparent pattern.

Feb 13, 19 10:38 pm
b3tadine[sutures]

IMHO I don't mind this info being available, but to what end? The posting on twitter is lame as fuck. All this, to send a message? Really? And the AIA won't get rid of the trash in their own house? 

Feb 13, 19 11:52 pm
threeohdoor

Unless someone had photographic memory or someone literally copied the test (basically impossible with the Prometric Gestapo), I'm not sure how it would be possible to nail that person for ethics violations. Everyone can assume certain questions will be asked, and then everyone can take the next step by assuming certain parameters - how close these assumptions get to the actual questions makes no difference in my opinion. 

Feb 14, 19 9:22 am
5839

When I came out of the tests I always did a post-test brain dump, so that I could look up the answers and see roughly how I did (this was 15+ years ago, when the results used to take 2 months on average, so I wanted to have an inkling as to whether I should start studying for that test again!) For most I was able to remember more than 80% of the questions - though not always all the answer choices. Still if I'd let those lists into the wild, it would be pretty easy for NCARB to prove that it was a list of actual questions from one test. If this little study group was doing that, they collectively could have compiled the majority of most of the questions each saw.

NCARB doesn't say how many forms of each division are in play at once - but when I was a test content contributor, on another standardized professional test that a lot of design professionals take, it had only three forms. This means that that test has three complete versions in play at once, and when you take it you have an equal chance of encountering any of those. If you have a study group with 5+ people you'd have a good chance that all of those forms would be encountered by at least one member. When "Donna's List" was circulating, she had compiled many test questions verbatim, particularly from one test division, so it wasn't difficult for NCARB to show that those questions were all from one test form (and also she admitted to that online.)  If these guys were emailing test questions around after testing, that's a pretty damning trail.

threeohdoor

Fair enough, I suppose I underestimated people's ability to recall test questions. Interesting note too about the multiple test "forms" in circulation.

gibbost

I'm certain that anyone could come out of a 100-question test and jot down at least 20 or 30 specific questions that they encountered.  Keeping those in your folder at home and making it a part of future study material is fine.  Sharing with coworkers or (even worse) sharing online is not okay.  It devalues the process and the certificate.

Feb 14, 19 10:58 am
thisisnotmyname

Exactly. The sharing of the exam content with others is where a person violates the Candidate Agreement they entered into with NCARB.

joseffischer

I disagree hard on the idea that sharing these test questions and answers devalues anything.  We want people who are trained to know how to do their job, and with trivial work randomizing numbers and/or answer sequence, etc, no one would ever get an exact copy of a previous answer.  I'd rather have a huge database (preferably published by NCARB, but if not, then made by test takers) of the hundreds of variations on: here's a site plan and building footprint, what's the floor area ratio.  No individual question would be that helpful since you'll never see it again on your test, but if a student wanted to brute force thousands of questions at like 200-400 a night, in order to be prepared to ace the test, then I support that.

The only reason why this policing is necessary is because NCARB is too lazy to set up testing correctly.  I recall learning, after the fact, that a particular arch history professor gave the same test every year and that anyone in the fraternities already had the tests and got 100s every year...

Feb 14, 19 11:15 am
Steeplechase

I was under the impression that ARE 5 exams are generated randomly for each test. That each test is broken into chunks and each chunk grabs questions from its own database.

joseffischer

Yes, grabs questions from a database of limited questions. How large is that set and how many questions repeat enough that it would be helpful to cheat is unknown and unverifiable by the public, since it would require the public to share the questions with friends to see if they got the same questions, which is against conduct.

Arguably, if you've both passed the test in question, sharing your questions and answers shouldn't matter?  Still against conduct though.  I suspect that if I were to have polled around the office, I would have found repeat questions crop up, but even if I did, I wouldn't have a way of informing NCARB that their testing methodology is lazy and broken without outing myself... hmmm...  

Oh well, testing was a couple years back now, so it's not like I could remember any of it at this point.

5839

Maybe the questions are generated randomly for each test, from a database. I don't know how the ARE works. But, that would be a little different from how it worked in previous versions, and how most standardized test development happens. It's more common for there to be entire test forms created - because in test development there are all sorts of rules about how many of each type of question there need to be, and each format, and intended difficulty level, and how the different test forms are weighted. And then the way the test is checked/tested with the subject matter developers and some rounds of pre-testers also usually involves the whole test. The result is that there are only a small number of entire tests. In the past that was always NCARB's excuse for why there is a waiting period - because if you could retake it right away you'd have a fairly high likelihood of encountering exactly the same form you'd already taken, and might still remember too many of the answers.

SneakyPete

The ARE is an artificial barrier to entry. It doesn't prevent bad actors from knowing just enough to pass and still being shitty architects. I don't believe it tests actual knowledge.

Feb 14, 19 12:24 pm
proximity

Do you throw away your umbrella in a rain storm if your feet get wet?

SneakyPete

Bad analogy. The ARE does not protect the HSW of the public. It artificially bars entry while doing nothing to test knowledge. it's a memorization test, and can be passed through cramming.

gibbost

What then, do you suggest? We use 'memorization tests' for nearly everything in our society. It is a practical method for analyzing a group against a basic standard. You are correct that the ARE is more a battle of wills then a test of knowledge. It is also the minimum threshold--much like designing to code. It's an imperfect system. But claiming we'd be better off with no system seems shortsighted at best. But then again, perhaps that's because the ARE is 10 years in my rearview-mirror.

proximity

It's a great analogy. How many more "bad actors" would get in without the ARE? May not prevent all "bad actors" but there are a lot less than there would be. Even if all it is is memorization at least you have to at least have the determination to do that.

thisisnotmyname

As a measure of ability, the old paper version of the exam was much better. Taking a blank sheet of paper and generating a legible architectural solution is a true demonstration of skill. The current computer-based test is more about how much the candidate practices on the NCARB software to move around some goofy pre-made symbols.

SneakyPete

I don't believe I suggested eliminating an exam as part of the path to becoming a licensed architect.

babyarchitect1

Haven't taken the ARE s yet but I did take several exams at the prometric testing centers. Crazy to think that someone could actually remember with some level of certainty the test questions after leaving the test. The was like airport security style testing! For those in hiring positions, would something like this hurt their chances of getting jobs in the future?

Feb 14, 19 1:53 pm
Bloopox

Well... typically if someone is licensed I do verify their license(s) and see if they've had any state disciplinary issues. Also if they say they have an NCARB certificate, LEED, or any other certifications then I verify those. This NCARB actions page is a new thing though, so I might not think to look there, and probably won't get in the habit of it quickly.

But I do also typically google prospective employees to see what pops up high in their results, so I guess I might find mentions of this on other sites, like on archinect. If I did then it might factor into a decision to hire them at this point in their careers - both because my perception of their maturity and good judgement is lowered, and because if they're not NCARB-certifiable then they may not be able to get licenses in the states in which our firm works, which would impact their usefulness on some projects, and their versatility in our proposals and such. But if it's 10 years from now, and they've gotten licensed and made strides in their careers, then I might view this as just a long-ago mistake that shouldn't factor into hiring decisions.

On the fence

I think its great.  It should happen more often.  And lets face it, if you have to cheat to pass these exams, you should not have a license.

Feb 14, 19 4:18 pm
SneakyPete

Many people who don't cheat and pass should not have licenses. Most of the people working for design firms don't need licenses. Our profession shoots itself in the foot on the daily.

sameolddoctor

As they say "Like in academia, when the stakes are so low, everything is a big deal" - and so is outing of answers for stupid exams.

Feb 15, 19 9:39 pm
Builder2025

The Firm of the NCARB 8

It was somewhat a surprise that no word or press release has been issued by NCARB 8’s current / former employer. One would expect some type of statement being that most of the NCARB 8 are current or former employees of the firm.

Feb 19, 19 12:51 am
Builder2025

Unethical Diversity of the NCARB 8

NCARB and the AIA have worked hard to increase diversity within the profession. As fate would have it (if their LinkedIn profiles and names are accurate) the NCARB 8 were a very diverse team. It is odd that a major highlight of diversity in aspiring architectural professionals of 2019 was in a group that was subverting the system and professional body they are working to join.

Feb 19, 19 8:23 pm
Jacq Arch

What exactly are you trying the say? That the "diversed" NCARB 8

Jacq Arch

* That it was fate or an inevitable that a group of 8 "diverse" individuals would try to cheat or undermine the system that was trying to help them?

SneakyPete

I think builder has one of those wall collages with red yarn
connecting black and white photographs.

Bloopox

This seems like a function of: being a large enough firm with enough relatively young staff that there was this large of a group of employees studying simultaneously; and this employer's location in a diverse city, long-standing world-wide reputation that attracts diverse applicants, and the firm's (relatively recent) tendency to hire a diverse staff. There's no reason to think that the diversity of the study group somehow contributed to its alleged misconduct - the diversity of the study group was just a circumstance of its location and employer.

But, I am curious about your assertion that NCARB has worked hard to increase diversity within the profession:  can you cite examples of NCARB's work on that?

s=r*(theta)

LOL, worked hard to increase diversity?!? you mean the past 12 months of dragging out tokens since #metoo and #imWithHer movement vs well over a century of white guys dominating the profession?!? Hell its 2019 and I work in a city where its funny that all the work for past 20 years on all elementary, high schools and colleges seems to keep going to the same (2) all white, male dominated architecture firms and same all white all male construction firm! Not one minority architect, pm, cad tech, or even a black janitor! I interviewed with one of the arch firms like 15yrs ago and was told by the PA interviewing me and I quote "there are plenty of jobs around town, and if you dont have a job its because you are not looking in the right place!, thanks for coming in" I left thinking WTF does that mean! I have learn to develop a 6th sense about these things and this profession of white male dominance. Somedays I think to myself if I was white were would I be in my career! Hmm.... definitely in the good ol boys club

What exactly are you trying to say here, Builder2025?

b3tadine[sutures]

Listen, kkklanchitect, the "profession" has already dealt with one of you - Heather assoc aia nazi in training we see you - take your white nationalism somewhere else.

randomised

What is unethical about the diversity within this bunch? Shouldn't it be the Diversity of the Unethical NCARB 8?

I'd even say these 8 are a triumph of our modern pluricultural times, 8 people from diverse backgrounds work together towards a common goal!

b3tadine[sutures]

If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying. Welcome to the American Dream?

randomised

If this is not Hollywood material, Oceans Eight! With Brad Pitt and George Clooney as the ole white boys.

SneakyPete

Did replies get nuked from this? I'm having trouble following.

randomised

It all makes sense in my head though...builder2025 appears to be racist, people call builder out and a movie script idea is born, aspiring architects from diverse backgrounds conspire together and work as a team to cheat NCARB u

On the fence

@ s=r*(theta) I'm white and I never made it into the good ole boys club either.  Friggin white males. 

Feb 20, 19 2:36 pm
s=r*(theta)

Fence, I agree not all white people are in the good ol boys club and I will bet you your weight in gold no one approaches you and assume: you are a democrat, you only listen to hip hop music, you voted for Obama, you will need a child support form, you have AIDS so you cant use the community toilet, yo u didnt make it because you are a talent, you made it because of affirmative action, scared you will speak to much slang and scare of clients and staff, afraid your baby mama's may show up to office barefoot and loud! if the stapler or what ever go missing you stole it as if a stapler or IBC book at the pawn shop is worth anything, afraid no more black jokes can be told, afraid if they try to instruct you on something you will clap back and pull out a 9mm and shoot up the office like a white gangter, afraid you will go around the office asking people for money etc., colleagues conversation starters are leed with something about hip hop, sports, obama, dave chappel or gym shoes

SneakyPete

:(

b3tadine[sutures]

Sorry, if you're white, you're benefiting from a racist system; just the facts.

SneakyPete

My frown was sympathetic / empathetic, not aimed at myself .

b3tadine[sutures]

sneaky, i got you.

s=r*(theta)

I apologize if it seems I am looking for sympathy, I was definitely not, just stating the challenges. Every office arch. (8 of them) I have worked in, with the exception of about 3-4 people,has always been a great group of girls and guys. Many of them are good friends and I definitely respected, looked up to and learned a ton from in my career

b3tadine[sutures]

One of them, is on the SMIA list.

Feb 20, 19 3:56 pm
On the fence

I feel like your point is really “life ain’t fair”. Well trust me when I say, you are correct.  But, you can sit there and act all butt hurt or get on with working.  Life goes forward no matter how it treats you or me.  Next time someone starts a conversation with you that starts with sports, Obama, Nike shoes or hip hop walk away.  I can’t help with the Dave chappel conversation starter, I just dig him.

Feb 20, 19 11:15 pm
s=r*(theta)

haha, nope not but

s=r*(theta)

Fence, I apologize if you feel I was attacking you & got you all in your feelings, I was not. Majority of Americans get extremely uncomfortable & wierded out Talking about race or Jesus. I was just stating the hurdles minorities have to deal with in this & like professions. My point was good old boy organizations like AiA and NCARB, and even us the folks who make up the profession, are a joke when it comes to "doing all they can" to promote diversity.

s=r*(theta)

I dont believe in life isnt fair. I believe and know, people aren't fair. Racism, sexism, machoism, chauvinim and all the other ism's are the blight of all humanity everywhere

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