October 2019 Post Exam Wait Period - Welcome to the Suck

Help Support Engineer Boards:

Adem_5%_Pass

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
18
It's weird.

By law (? statute? regulation? rule? whatever), Texas has defined 70% as the score required to pass. But Texas doesn't get to determine the passing score. NCEES determines the passing score (called the cut score), and it's different for every exam and different every time the exam is administered.

NCEES determines the cut score by having a committee of existing PEs weigh the difficulty of each question and assess what percentage of PEs should reasonably be able to get that question right. It's a whole process. But the takeaway for this discussion is that the passing score is different for every exam (Civil: WRE, vs Civil: Construction, vs Mech: HVAC, etc). And it changes every time the exam is administered (Civil: WRE April 2019 is different than Civil: WRE Oct 2019, etc). Also we don't get to know what the cut score is.

So NCEES says the (unknown) cut score is passing, and Texas says you need 70% to pass. That doesn't match up. So what Texas does, is they arbitrarily define whatever the cut score is for each exam as 70%. That part is understood. But how the percentages change as you move away from 70% is not understood. From what I've heard people say, it doesn't appear to be linear. I assume it's some statistical distribution, but who knows.

Here's an example: In the "Cut Score" thread someone who didn't pass posted that their diagnostics from NCEES said they got 46/80, which is 57.5%. Their Texas provided result said they got a score of 69%. We know 70% is passing, so they were probably pretty close, but because it's weird and nonlinear, we still don't know exactly what the cut score is. (That being said, people like to speculate and to try and figure it out.)



Thank you. This somehow makes some sense. Basically, our exam answer sheet---->Black box 1 (by NCEES)---->Black box 2 (by state boards)----->result! The better you prepare the higher the chance of passing!

 

jean15paul_PE

FEA Wizard
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
3,638
Reaction score
1,948
Location
Louisiana
Thank you. This somehow makes some sense. Basically, our exam answer sheet---->Black box 1 (by NCEES)---->Black box 2 (by state boards)----->result! The better you prepare the higher the chance of passing!
The only correction I'd make. It's not "state boards"; it's only Texas. No other state adds that extra step. Other states may "review" or "audit" or have a meeting to certify the results before releasing the result. But not other state actually assigns a different score.

That being said. Texas is the only state where you get any info about your performance if you pass. Everywhere else is just limited to "pass". So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ plusses and minuses

 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
29
Reaction score
50
Location
Tennessee
So my friend who did ZERO studying, didn't have a full understanding of the logistics of the exam, and borrowed my binder at the last minute... he failed. So there's that.

He thinks he did well on the 40ish questions that he actually answered. But he ran out of time because he had to look everything up in references that he wasn't familiar with. Also he didn't bring a watch because he assumed there would be a clock. Fun times.
I also didn't bring a watch to my exam and definitely had the "Oh no" moment. Luckily, I was able to reasonably work through the problems in good time and passed!

 

Adem_5%_Pass

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
18
I don't think I get these explanations but thanks. Anyway, I wish good luck for those fellow gentlemen and gentlewomen who didn't pass. 
Does this, by any chance mean, the pass or fail decision by NCEES may be changed by TBPE? Do you think the pass by NCEES becomes fail (or visa versa) after Texas applies its magic?

 

RBHeadge PE

Nucflash
EB Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
10,094
Reaction score
4,997
Location
Maryland
NCEES determines what passes and fails. Their "recommendation" is always adopted by the States. Full stop.

We don't know how the Texas score is derived? Does Texas come up with it? Or does NCEES send it to Texas? We don't know. I don't think we will ever know. We can't learn anything useful from knowing the answers either.

 

Will.I.Am PE

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
2,187
Reaction score
695
Location
Ohio
NCEES determines what passes and fails. Their "recommendation" is always adopted by the States. Full stop.

We don't know how the Texas score is derived? Does Texas come up with it? Or does NCEES send it to Texas? We don't know. I don't think we will ever know. We can't learn anything useful from knowing the answers either.
That first question shouldn't be a question.

Otherwise, what he said. ☝️

 

Ky_Su

Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
25
Reaction score
27
Location
Wild West
NCEES determines what passes and fails. Their "recommendation" is always adopted by the States. Full stop.

We don't know how the Texas score is derived? Does Texas come up with it? Or does NCEES send it to Texas? We don't know. I don't think we will ever know. We can't learn anything useful from knowing the answers either.
Maybe someone from Texas can show up at the Board's meeting to ask or make a public record request to get the information.

 

jean15paul_PE

FEA Wizard
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
3,638
Reaction score
1,948
Location
Louisiana
Maybe someone from Texas can show up at the Board's meeting to ask or make a public record request to get the information.
I suspect that it's related to/similar to this...
from: https://www.nspe.org/resources/pe-magazine/march-2016/the-ultimate-test

MYTH A passing score is 70%.

TRUTH Before results were reported as pass-fail, examinees received scaled scores. The passing raw score (different for each discipline and varying from administration to administration based on difficulty) was “set” at 70, and all scores were scaled accordingly. In 2005, NCEES voted to provide only pass-fail results. Somehow, over time, an urban legend developed and the scaled score of 70 erroneously turned into a 70% raw score being required to pass.

 
Top