KevinA

Decoupling adding more test takers?

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Just curious if it was a trend. We have 3 folks here in our office taking the PE exam Friday, and none of the 3 have met the experience requirement yet. With decoupling being a recent introduction at least here in NC, are there a lot more people sitting for the exam in the decoupled states these days? At some point, I think the number would return to past levels.

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I am taking it without having applied for licensure here in CA after they recently changed the rules last December. And honestly, as I've studied for it for the last 3 months and depending on how I do, I'd recommend to future graduates to take the national exam as soon as possible. I've been working for 2 years so I would have reached the experience requirement anyway, but I would be feeling a lot better about the exam, particularly the depth portion (structural) if I could've taken it it right after college. 

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Definitely agree, and good luck! I was 11 years out of school, and wish I would have done it sooner. 

So, this is the first test cycle in NC where decoupling is in effect. Our 3 EI's are at 1, 2, and 3 years out of school. I think the youngest just got her EI on the last exam cycle. We were talking the other day and wondering how packed the testing place will be compared to past exams since just here we have 3 that wouldn't have been able to sit for it under the old rules. I'm sure there are many more.

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I think it will take time to see if it changes the overall statistics.

I thought I read somewhere that with the change to the computer exam for the FE that the numbers were not what they thought they would be initially. Changes of this magnitude will take a while to see the trend.

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I know this topic has been beaten to death, but it makes no sense to me to allow people without any experience to take the Principles and Practice Exam. The exam was created to test engineers who have been working as engineers under the supervision of experienced/ licensed engineers. So some parts of the exam are tough since you've been out of school for years? Tough shit, stop whining, and study. 

Candidates for licensure should have to work the required years, submit their experience to a board which will deem said experience as adequate or not. If the board agrees their experience is adequate they are given the opportunity to sit for the test and get their license. Doing it backwards, defeats the entire purpose. 

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1 minute ago, gpoli111 said:

it makes no sense to me to allow people without any experience to take the Principles and Practice Exam.

It makes perfect sense when you realize that NCEES is only interested in making $$ off the exam takers.

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2 hours ago, gpoli111 said:

I know this topic has been beaten to death, but it makes no sense to me to allow people without any experience to take the Principles and Practice Exam. The exam was created to test engineers who have been working as engineers under the supervision of experienced/ licensed engineers. So some parts of the exam are tough since you've been out of school for years? Tough shit, stop whining, and study. 

Candidates for licensure should have to work the required years, submit their experience to a board which will deem said experience as adequate or not. If the board agrees their experience is adequate they are given the opportunity to sit for the test and get their license. Doing it backwards, defeats the entire purpose. 

Curious...why do you consider it backwards?  Just because that is what you are used to?  Or another reason?  Licensees are supposed to be able to support their opinions with facts...what do you have to support your position?  I'm interested in your opinion on the matter.

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2 minutes ago, CAPLS said:

Curious...why do you consider it backwards?  Just because that is what you are used to?  Or another reason?  Licensees are supposed to be able to support their opinions with facts...what do you have to support your position?  I'm interested in your opinion on the matter.

I think I was clear on that in my post. From NCEES - "The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam tests for a minimum level of competency in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained a minimum of four years’ post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline." I believe it is a sound idea that engineers can benefit from a certain level of practical experience before having the authority to approve designs. Just as in all generalizations, the way experience is qualified, and the scope of the exam is attempted to best suit all candidates throughout the country; it cannot encompass all scenarios perfectly.

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The FE exam is designed to test a basic level of understanding from a college level understanding of the material. If the PE is given without experience to back up the 'Practice' portion of the exam, does that not make it the FE part 2?

The PE is clearly defined as principles and practices exam, but without experience, it is only a principles test. No practice required. 

I do not agree with the decoupling of the exam. I feel it defeats the purpose of what the exam was supposed to be. The reason of decoupling to make it easier or more accessible is absolute hogwash. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. IMO. 

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49 minutes ago, CAPLS said:

Curious...why do you consider it backwards?  Just because that is what you are used to?  Or another reason?  Licensees are supposed to be able to support their opinions with facts...what do you have to support your position?  I'm interested in your opinion on the matter.

Licensees are supposed to read thoroughly, fully assess the situation before making statements or judgments. 

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56 minutes ago, gpoli111 said:

Licensees are supposed to read thoroughly, fully assess the situation before making statements or judgments. 

And those statements or judgments must be based on a set of facts that support the position.

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1 hour ago, Ken PE 3.0 said:

The FE exam is designed to test a basic level of understanding from a college level understanding of the material. If the PE is given without experience to back up the 'Practice' portion of the exam, does that not make it the FE part 2?

The PE is clearly defined as principles and practices exam, but without experience, it is only a principles test. No practice required. 

I do not agree with the decoupling of the exam. I feel it defeats the purpose of what the exam was supposed to be. The reason of decoupling to make it easier or more accessible is absolute hogwash. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. IMO. 

You're making a stretch that the exam will change to accommodate little or no experience.  The exam is written based on the requirements for licensure, not to adjust for a certain candidate pool.

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1 hour ago, Ken PE 3.0 said:

The FE exam is designed to test a basic level of understanding from a college level understanding of the material. If the PE is given without experience to back up the 'Practice' portion of the exam, does that not make it the FE part 2?

The PE is clearly defined as principles and practices exam, but without experience, it is only a principles test. No practice required. 

I do not agree with the decoupling of the exam. I feel it defeats the purpose of what the exam was supposed to be. The reason of decoupling to make it easier or more accessible is absolute hogwash. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. IMO. 

I'm sure different disciplines will have different experiences, but I can say with confidence as a civil test taker that the Civil PE exam is a principle exam only with the INTENT of the exam being a principle exam only.  

Civil is broad, very broad.  The test administrators designed an exam in which 80% of the AM Civil portion of the exam is something in which a test takers only exposure to the material was likely one (or no) college classes.  The test administrators include structural, water resource, transportation, geotechnical, and construction all in the same catch-all PE exam. There is very little overlap in most of those disciplines.  Structural engineers don't typically do open channel hydraulic design.  Water resource engineers don't typically design roads.  Transportation engineers don't design multi story buildings.  The civil PE exam is structured so that the vast majority of test takers have ZERO experience in 80% of the morning exam.  You can debate whether the test should or shouldn't test areas in which the exam administrators KNOW that you have no experience.  That is a valid debate to have. But it's difficult to argue that experience prior to the exam is important FOR the exam, when the exam purposefully tests things in which you are no experienced in.

For what it's worth Civil PE test takers account for approximately 50% of all PE exam takers.  Again, other disciplines are quite likely different. 

 

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And I think we confuse the test with experience in other areas too.  I agree, and I'm sure others agree that it is important that engineers accumulate experience prior to gaining licensure.  But states that have de-coupled the exam still require those applicants to accrue the required experience before licensing them.  They require a passing PE exam, and the required licensure.  De-coupling simply makes it so that an applicant can choose the order in which those two criteria are met.  But they still have to meet the criteria.

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required experience* (not required licensure)

I wish I could edit responses...

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57 minutes ago, smahurin said:

And I think we confuse the test with experience in other areas too.  I agree, and I'm sure others agree that it is important that engineers accumulate experience prior to gaining licensure.  But states that have de-coupled the exam still require those applicants to accrue the required experience before licensing them.  They require a passing PE exam, and the required licensure.  De-coupling simply makes it so that an applicant can choose the order in which those two criteria are met.  But they still have to meet the criteria.

I completely agree with this view of the process. The debates and issues that arise with decoupling the requirements is the marginalization of the test itself. I'm of the mindset that the national test is merely a step and not an accurate assessment of one's professional experience. Does this make the test seem like the FE, part 2 and has no real meaning to it? Yeah, I would agree with that. Unless it's possible to come up with a test that more accurately represents the "practice" portion of the exam, I think most people would agree that the test as it is now isn't any kind of representation of real world experience. I'm taking the test in CA without having applied for licensure. I certainly won't feel like a PE just having passed some test that I study specifically for, and will forget 90% of the stuff after I pass. And that's okay, since passing doesn't automatically make you a PE. Now is the board's examination of one's professional experience enough to deem someone appropriate for licensure? That could be a bit trickier since they're basing it largely off recommendations of PE's with no real way to test or tell how accurate those recommendations and job experiences might be. The problem is, it just doesn't seem possible to be able to come up with any kind of standardized test that you could test for engineering practice. 

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1 hour ago, skc005 said:

I completely agree with this view of the process. The debates and issues that arise with decoupling the requirements is the marginalization of the test itself. I'm of the mindset that the national test is merely a step and not an accurate assessment of one's professional experience. Does this make the test seem like the FE, part 2 and has no real meaning to it? Yeah, I would agree with that. Unless it's possible to come up with a test that more accurately represents the "practice" portion of the exam, I think most people would agree that the test as it is now isn't any kind of representation of real world experience. I'm taking the test in CA without having applied for licensure. I certainly won't feel like a PE just having passed some test that I study specifically for, and will forget 90% of the stuff after I pass. And that's okay, since passing doesn't automatically make you a PE. Now is the board's examination of one's professional experience enough to deem someone appropriate for licensure? That could be a bit trickier since they're basing it largely off recommendations of PE's with no real way to test or tell how accurate those recommendations and job experiences might be. The problem is, it just doesn't seem possible to be able to come up with any kind of standardized test that you could test for engineering practice. 

What about all the thousands of licensees that obtained licensure before a test was ever given?

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Id like to see more of an actual "peer review" system built into licensure. I am sure we all work with that one person whome we are glad are not allowed to do anything "important"!

Sort of like going through various military schools, they do a peer review along the way and will expel people from say Officer Candidate School, Ranger School, etc, who constantly receive low marks from their fellow classmates.

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I thought taking it later was a good review of material I had forgotten.  After experience, the concepts learned in school now have a practical sense.   I'd be an advocate for stretching the experience requirement out longer.   It seems strange that they are decoupling just after they were considering requiring a masters to take the PE. 

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41 minutes ago, Road Guy said:

Id like to see more of an actual "peer review" system built into licensure. I am sure we all work with that one person whome we are glad are not allowed to do anything "important"!

Sort of like going through various military schools, they do a peer review along the way and will expel people from say Officer Candidate School, Ranger School, etc, who constantly receive low marks from their fellow classmates.

With all due respect to the people on this forum (I am a licensee also), studies conducted by experts in the field of certification testing consistently show that licensees fail to properly be able to assess minimum competency in their own field of expertise.  Now, I agree that we all know those that seem to not do a good job, but that's completely different.

Again, and with all due respect, becoming licensed is not about the profession(s); it's not about whether people should be "part of the club"; It is entirely about practicing in accordance with the standard of care as it relates to the actual defined discipline of practice to protect the public..

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And with all due respect to government employees who get paid to conduct useless studies the members of this forum disagree

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, Road Guy said:

And with all due respect to government employees who get paid to conduct useless studies the members of this forum disagree

Ha ha.  good one!  Of course you do.

Edited by CAPLS

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I guess I just do not understand the argument supporting decoupling. The exam title is, in part, called practices. So, let's change the name to the principles exam to alleviate any future confusion. I have heard arguments that it is better to take it early because in a few years the might have a family and such.

 

Has anyone ever heard or actually seen someone get blasted on a PE application to the board? Would you be stupid enough to ask someone that doesn't like you to vouch for you on the app?

 

Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk

 

 

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On 4/19/2017 at 6:41 PM, Ken PE 3.0 said:

I guess I just do not understand the argument supporting decoupling. The exam title is, in part, called practices. So, let's change the name to the principles exam to alleviate any future confusion. I have heard arguments that it is better to take it early because in a few years the might have a family and such.

 

Has anyone ever heard or actually seen someone get blasted on a PE application to the board? Would you be stupid enough to ask someone that doesn't like you to vouch for you on the app?

 

Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk

 

 

But that's my argument.  While the test may have the word "practice" in it, as it currently stands the Civil PE at least (no clue on the others) is a "principles" exam only with the explicit intent of testing things in which you have no "practice" on.  The Civil PE exams account for approximately 50% of all PE exams usually.  Whether the exam should or shouldn't be organized that way is up for debate.  

But if the exam expressly tests things in which it is understood that you have no experience on, it's difficult to argue that experience is relevant (or should be mandatory) in order to take the test that intentionally doesn't test that experience.  If you want to tell NCEES their exam structure is stupid and they need to change it, that's fine.  I get that.  But as a state board looking at what the exam currently consists of, I think it's only logical to decouple experience and the exam when looking at an exam that doesn't test experience.  Experience is still required to gain licensure, but that's a totally different argument than requiring the experience in order to take the test.

Maybe you can argue that if all the other non-civil exams test experience, it should be required in order to sit for the exam.  But it's still not consistent.  If 50% of the exams don't test experience, I still think it makes more sense to decouple.  If a person can pass the exam early, good for them.  The board still makes them wait to get their experience to get licensed.

 

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Back to the original topic of this thread....

There were 900+ people taking the PE exam at my location last Friday (plus 40 or so SE takers). I think that's probably higher by at least 100-200 people more than either offering last year (yes, I have taken this exam more than once).

There was one person in my office who took it without being able to apply for licensure. I wouldn't be surprised if it increased the numbers of test taker, at least in the beginning, until it equalizes out over time.

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