NCARB BOD Takes Action Against ARE Confidentiality Agreement Violators

May 13, 2009

April 2009

Washington, DC—The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing a psychometrically justifiable and legally defensible process that measures the level of competence necessary to practice independently. The exam has multiple divisions that test a candidate’s ability to perform many of the tasks an architect encounters in practice. To become licensed, a candidate must fulfill education and experience requirements, and pass all divisions of the ARE.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) takes upholding the integrity of the ARE very seriously—for the benefit of the profession and in order to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Candidates who sit for the ARE agree to the rules by which it is administered. These rules, clearly spelled out in the ARE Guidelines, include: test center regulations, grounds for dismissal, the Confidentiality Agreement, and the NCARB Board of Directors’ Policy on Disclosure and Cheating. The consequences of violating the rules are clearly stated in the Confidentiality Agreement that candidates must accept prior to taking every ARE division.

Recently, eight ARE candidates had their testing privileges suspended and scores canceled for posting exam content and/or questions on the internet. The disclosure of the ARE content diminishes the reliability and defensibility of the exam and ultimately undermines the integrity of the process.

The action taken by the NCARB Board of Directors is as follows:

British Columbia candidate: Three-year suspension of exam testing privileges Canceled one exam score (Mechanical & Electrical Systems)
California candidate: Three-year suspension of exam testing privileges
Canceled one exam score (Site Planning)
New Jersey candidate: Four-year suspension of exam testing privileges
Canceled one exam score (Site Planning)
New York candidate: Five-year suspension of exam testing privileges
New York candidate: Three-year suspension of exam testing privileges
New York candidate: Three-year suspension of exam testing privileges
New York candidate: One-year suspension of exam testing privileges
Canceled two exam scores (Construction Documents & Services and Pre-Design)
Ontario candidate: Three-year suspension of exam testing privileges
Canceled one exam score (Site Planning)
All disciplinary actions become a part of each individual’s permanent NCARB Record.

When candidates disclose exam content, NCARB works with the Council’s test development consultant to determine the impact on the exam. If NCARB finds that it is necessary turn off substantial amounts of content, our ability to continuously deliver the ARE is jeopardized. The Council also faces significant financial ramifications because of the need to replace the exposed content and retain attorneys to defend the exam’s copyright and integrity.

Due to the actions of several of the candidates noted above, NCARB has turned off selected content in one division of the ARE. Should additional content be disclosed, we will need to evaluate the impact and will consider extending the mandatory six-month waiting period between failed divisions until such time the content can be replaced.

NCARB has posted FAQ’s regarding ARE security on their website:
http://www.ncarb.org/newsclips/2009/apr09_6.html

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