NCEES approves 33S and 35S for 2008



#58

NCEES has announced its calculator policy for 2008. Approved models:

- HP-33S

- HP-35S

- Casio fx-115 series

- TI-30X series

- TI-36X series

The official approval of the 35S, while expected, is good news for HP. I would expect a significant boost in 35S sales next year as new candidates begin preparing for NCEES exams, and as 33S exam software is repackaged for the 35S.

Current exam candidates who own the 33S will have the option of keeping it, or replacing it with a new 35S. My guess is that most people in this position will stick with the 33S, so the demand for the newly-approved 35S will not be as great as the demand was for the newly-approved 33S a few years ago. At that time, the 33S was the only acceptable RPN model, and many examinees were desperate to get one.


#59

Ok, that was interesting...

The way I understand it, main reason for not allowing a device has to do with possibility of communication, it seems. Because, if you are paranoid you could imagine a student using the 30k of the 35s to his advantage somehow. I personal think it would be easier to study!

Question is, would it realy got the 35s banned if it had outlet for a memory card? What if it had a mini usb port, surely that should been ok!?! Would been rendered useless in exam context since anything it could connect to would been banned!

To bad if paranoia got I/O on 35s go away...


#60

Quote:
... I personal think it would be easier to study!...

Too bad so many don't believe that.

In fact, the calculator becomes a joy to use after truly mastering the material, it would be more than just a tool or a toy, it'd be, as someone here put it a few days ago, an extension of his brain that just does arithmetic faster, it would be a formidable, but totally allowable, weapon.

#61

People were going into the exams and copying the questions, using the TI-graphing type machines.

It was actually an "industry" in that the test-takers were paid to take the test, merely to gather the qustions, which were then sold on the black market.

Any file transfer, or indeed any rapid text entry and storage, is enough to cause trouble.

These tests are open-book.


#62

An excellent point. That is an aspect that I hadn't really even thought of.

But the only good that would do is help build practice exams. I was under the impression the exams changed slightly from session to session.

#63

Quote:
The way I understand it, main reason for not allowing a device has to do with possibility of communication

When the NCEES started the whole calculator-restriction policy it was based on communications capability and text storage capability. They created a list of "approved” calculators and a list of "banned" calculators, plus stated: "Please keep in mind that this list is NOT all-inclusive. If your calculator has the ability to store a string of text and communicate it in any way, it will not be permitted." They were worried both about communication between test-takers during the exam and storage of test information on the calculator which could then be dumped from the calculator and disseminated to the outside world. At first, you could take any calculator not on the "approved" or "banned" lists to the test, and the test proctors had to decide if it violated the rules. In order to ease the burden on the proctors, they moved to the policy of allowing only calculators on an approved list into the test.

Quote:
Question is, would it realy got the 35s banned if it had outlet for a memory card? What if it had a mini usb port, surely that should been ok!?!

A memory card slot or a mini-USB would have violated the “communicate in any way” restriction and would have resulted in the 35s not being approved for use on the FE/PS/PS tests administered by NCEES.

Quote:
To bad if paranoia got I/O on 35s go away.

Since the 33s and now the 35s are descended from the 32SII, which had no communications capabilities, it is debatable whether HP would have included some form of I/O in the later models absent the NCEES calculator policy.

Edited: 15 Nov 2007, 3:28 p.m.

#64

Trying to communicate with another fellow during one of these exams via IR or other means would be stupid. As would searching through any notes written to memory. For example, the morning session of the FE exam consists of 120 questions in 4 hours. When you have two minutes per question, time is far better spent reading the problem and reviewing the possible answers.

I filled nearly half the memory of the 33s (*gasp*! yup, sure did) and never pulled up one equation into the solver; I had either memorized most of them by that point or knew exactly where to look in the NCEES-supplied exam handout. Even the economic/TVM questions were solved faster using the old-fashioned multiplier tables in the handout. These exams are designed to test your understanding of the subject matter; they are testing minds, not tools.

I offer this tidbit to any who are preparing for these exams: do not forget the philosophy of problem solving. Knowledge and reason will get you further than staring wide-eyed at the glory of a truly fantastic device. Calculators are wonderful tools but their curse is that they will always display an answer.


#65

I think the NCEES folks are full agreement with you. That's why they don't care what is programmed into your calculator when you enter the exam room. If you want to fill your 33S with equations in advance, that's perfectly OK. In fact, several commercial vendors openly market 33S exam software packages for exactly this purpose. Such software may or may not be valuable, but there is clearly a market.

However, NCEES does care -- very much -- about the contents of your calculator when you **leave** the exam room. Exam questions are not to be divulged or copied in any way, including copying them into a calculator. The extreme case was in California a few years ago, when an examinee was caught with a graphing calculator that had been modified to contain a handheld scanner.

NCEES has also taken legal action against examinees who post exam questions on web forums. In fact, web forums related to FE/PE study are often closed for a few days after each exam session, to discourage people from discussing the exams.


Edited: 15 Nov 2007, 4:17 p.m.


#66

Ok, this been very informative for an outsider! It is the snooping ability of the device that may be of most concern!

#67

It's really interesting to follow this discussion. However, I've never heard of anything similar on this side of the Atlantic so far. But what can be the root cause?

  1. Men... sorry, people are - almost - the same on either side. So people cannot be the cause.
  2. Machines, i.e. calculators are identical on both sides. So calcs cannot be the cause.
  3. Methods of calculation? Well, math is the same worldwide. So methods of math cannot be the cause.
  4. Masonry, i.e. facilities, in which exams are held, are pretty comparable here and there. So facilities cannot be the cause.
  5. Mmmmh, can it be they reuse the questions every year?!? Mamma mia! Please tell me this is not true! I'll close my lips and hold back all further comments until then.
(For our US-American readers: Beware! This post can contain some satirical ingredients. Keep away from children! But you may also use your brains ;)

#68

Good one. I guess same tests are used within a certain time period. USA a pretty big place, make sense. Sure eventual new tests produced... :-)

#69

Walter,

There is a national test that is given across the country, but not necessarily on the same date at each location, due to local constraints. So if it is one week different in some locations - you could have someone at the earlier location gather the information.

Forrest

#70

Hello!

Quote:
It's really interesting to follow this discussion. However, I've never heard of anything similar on this side of the Atlantic so far.

Because there is nothing similar this side of the Atlantic. When you have studied engineering, you leave university with an engineering diploma. This diploma makes you an engineer. A real engineer. Not some re-examination on your own expenses (univerity is (nearly) free of charge in our country!) by a private "non profit" (haha) organisation. It would be completely unthinkable to establish something like NCEES here. No chance at all.

Greetings, Max

NB: But I encountered calculator restrictions when I took my flying exams: In 1988, when I got my private license, only mechanical calculators were allowed. A few years later, at the airline transport licence exam, pre-programmed navigational calculators were allowed also, but no user programmable ones.


#71

Quote:
Because there is nothing similar this side of the Atlantic. When you have studied engineering, you leave university with an engineering diploma. This diploma makes you an engineer.

You're right for engineering. But consider the German "Staatsexamen" for people who study law, medicine or want to become teachers. There is no such thing as a university diploma for them. They leave the university with no diploma at all and have to take exams administered by the federal states. Only if they pass them they can work in their respective professions.


#72

Hallo Meenzer, did you really use a calc in your "Staatsexamnen"?!


#73

Quote:
Hallo Meenzer, did you really use a calc in your "Staatsexamnen"?!

No, but this is not what I was referring to in this post. I tried to make the point that students of law or medicine in Germany can leave the university being nothing (professionwise). Only after doing an additional examination (like the one the NCEES does), they can work in their jobs.

BTW, you can make a "Staatsexamen" in "Lebensmittelchemie", which includes physics - maybe they use calculators there ;-)


Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 3:07 a.m.


#74

OK, I got your point now. Let's get back on track, however:

Quote:
This forum is for discussion of HP calculators including usage, ...

Qualification in total is a broader topic :)

#75

Quote:
OK, I got your point now. Let's get back on track, however:

Qualification in total is a broader topic :)


;-) Who started the "this-side-of-the-Atlantic" sub-thread? ;-)


#76

Quote:
Who started the "this-side-of-the-Atlantic" sub-thread?

Ooooh, that was strictly calculator-related, wasn't it? Calc- and math-words are found explicitely at least 5 times in my post, and the art of problem solving is a logical method, too. It's a pity only I didn't think of "management" while posting :)

Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 7:37 a.m.


#77

Hello!

Quote:
Ooooh, that was strictly calculator-related, wasn't it?

And even if not, it seems to be important enough to enquire further!
It is for years that I have been reading here (and nowhere else!) about this NCEES issue. Only now, triggered by this sub-thread, I have tried to find out what this seemingly all-important thing is all about.

And since I found out, I have this plea to HP (if they are following the thread to this level of depth): Please do not make you model policiy dependent on an organisation like NCEES (unless you own it, of course)! It only applies to a fraction of your U.S. customers who themselves are only a fraction of your customers worldwide. All the rest of us would really like to keep supplied with nice, feature-rich, I/O capable calculators from your company, even if NCEES does not like them. Thank you for listening!

Greetings, Max (non NCEES approved enigneer - but they don't do aerspace exams anyway...)


Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 8:03 a.m.


#78

Quote:
All the rest of us would really like to keep supplied with nice, feature-rich, I/O capable calculators from your company

HP's most likely response: Fiftygee

#79

Quote:
Please do not make you model policiy dependent on an organisation like NCEES (unless you own it, of course)! It only applies to a fraction of your U.S. customers who themselves are only a fraction of your customers worldwide. All the rest of us would really like to keep supplied with nice, feature-rich, I/O capable calculators from your company, even if NCEES does not like them. Thank you for listening!
I don't have access to HP sales data, but I would guess that:

(1) the biggest market for the HP-33S and HP-35S is in the US, and

(2) the biggest market in the US is among NCEES exam candidates.

Like it or not, it's very possible that NCEES exams are the main thing that keeps the 33S/35S line alive.

This certainly appears to be the case for HP calculator software. There are several vendors selling NCEES exam software for the 33S (and they will soon be selling it for the 35S as well). But does anyone, anywhere in the world, still sell commercial HP calculator software for any other purpose ?


Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 12:58 p.m.


#80

Tsken from an HP-paper:

According to the NPD Group:

HP Financial Calculators are rated No. 1 in U.S. dollar share sales;

The HP 33s Scientific Calculator is rated the “Best Seller” in the Scientific Programmable Calculator category in both units and dollar share;

All four HP Financial Calculators (10bII, 12c, 12c Platinum, 17bII+) are top ten “Best Sellers” in the Financial Calculator category in both units and dollar share.


#81

Quote:
The HP 33s Scientific Calculator is rated the “Best Seller” in the Scientific Programmable Calculator category in both units and dollar share
This is doubtless true, simply because the HP-33S is the *only* scientific programmable calculator that is readily available in the US (except for its new replacement, the HP-35S). There is no competition in this category.

All of the other programmable calculators marketed in the US are "graphing programmable" calculators, not "scientific programmable" calculators.

Other manufacturers, like Casio, may still produce scientific programmable calculators for other markets, but they are not sold in the US.

Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 6:55 p.m.


#82

Quote:
This is doubtless true, simply because the HP-33S is the *only* scientific programmable calculator that is readily available in the US (except for its new replacement, the HP-35S). There is no competition in this category.

Other manufacturers, like Casio, may still produce scientific programmable calculators for other markets, but they are not sold in the US.


Casio and Sharp do produce programmable scientifics, but it does appear as though none of them are sold in the US.

The sharp one even has a BIG ENTER key

Dave.

#83

Quote:
All four HP Financial Calculators (10bII, 12c, 12c Platinum, 17bII+) are top ten “Best Sellers” in the Financial Calculator category in both units and dollar share.

Hmmmmh, let's analyze a bit: None of them is #1 (else they would have told us for sure). One of them is #10 (else they would have claimed "top nine" or "top eight"). I doubt there are more than 12 *serious* financial calculators on the US market. Thus, this sentence is telling the truth, but this truth is hardly as good as it sounds. Another textbook example of marketing ;)
#84

Hello!

Quote:
No, but this is not what I was referring to in this post. I tried to make the point that students of law or medicine in Germany can leave the university being nothing (professionwise). Only after doing an additional examination (like the one the NCEES does), they can work in their jobs.

Yes, you are right in a way. But these final "state exams" are part of the education/training syllabus and they are official federal exams.

Now imagine (and this is the parallel to engineering/NCEES) that a lawyer or food chemist or medical doctor would have to sit another exam (by a private organisation and at his own expenses!) _after_ he has passed his state exam in order to get a job.
I am certain that this would not work here (or in any other European country). With or without calcualor :-)

Greetings, Max


#85

You're also right, in a way. Especially as it is hard to compare those two completely different education systems - and different professions.

Quote:
Now imagine [...] that a lawyer [...] would have to sit another exam (by a private organisation and at his own expenses!)...

This - also in a way - really exists for law students. In spite of having state financed universities and examinations, a vast number of law students go to a so called "Repetitorium", a private run business where they repeat, hence the name, all the stuff they need for their exams. Nobody has to go there and it's not the institution that does the final exams. But the majority of students pay several hundred Euro to do it anyway, just to be as well prepared as possible. And some do it even twice with twice the cost: once before the required "Referendariat", once before the second state exams.

#86

Quote:
Now imagine (and this is the parallel to engineering/NCEES) that a lawyer or food chemist or medical doctor would have to sit another exam (by a private organisation and at his own expenses!) _after_ he has passed his state exam in order to get a job. I am certain that this would not work here (or in any other European country). With or without calcualor :-)
No, this conception of how the US system works is incorrect.

The NCEES exams are government exams. They are required by state (provincial) government agenices for professional practice. Candidates taking the exams pay fees to their state governments (in practice, exam fees are commonly reimbursed by employers).

NCEES develops the exams, provides them to the states, and grades them for the states. NCEES is technically a private, non-governmental organization, but it's not like McDonald's or Microsoft. NCEES is actually a private association that was formed by the 50+ US state and territorial licensing boards, specifically for the purpose of developing common standards for exams and other aspects of professional licensure. There is no requirement that state governments must join NCEES or use NCEES exams, but there are obvious advantages to having (for example) a single national Mechanical Engineering exam, rather than 50 separate state ME exams.

In other words, NCEES is a private association, but it is comprised of government agencies. Note that the US national (federal) government has little or no role in occupational regulation (unlike most European national governments). So if the 50 state engineering boards want to jointly develop national exams, they have to do it by themselves, outside of the federal government structure. They therefore organized a private, non-governmental association (NCEES) for that purpose.

The closest European equivalent to NCEES is probably FEANI, the European Federation of National Engineering Associations. FEANI promotes a common title for engineers throughout Europe (the "Eur Ing" professional title), just as NCEES promotes common standards for the PE title throughout the US. The EurIng title (unlike the US PE) does not require testing; if it did, then FEANI would probably face the same issues regarding calculator acceptability that NCEEES already does.


Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 2:24 p.m.

#87

It seems that there is some confusion here about what NCEES is and how it works.

The professional engineering licenses, which are analogous to medical licensing exams or lawyer bar exams, are administered by the NCEES on behalf of each of the individual states. The license that is issued is a state license which allows engineers to practice "on the public." In other words the licensing authority is each individual state, not the NCEES.

Engineers do not HAVE to be registered except in certain cases and the NCEES is NOT the organizataion that issues the licenses. I believe that most engineers in the United States are not registered, professional engineers.

I am a registered engineer and took my test in the state of Indiana many, many years ago before the NCEES existed. Since then I have applied for and received licensing in about six other states based on my original Indiana exam. The NCEES was formed to help the individual states be more consistent across the board so that cross licensing between states was easier.

I believe that even to this day, participation in the NCEES national exams is a state option, not a requirement. Most of the states however, have abdicated their exam administration to NCEES.

John

#88

When you graduate from Engineering school in the U.S. you are also a "real" engineer, but that doesn't make you an *experienced* engineer.

Engineering is a licensed discipline, state by state, because engineering has a direct bearing on public safety. It is in the state's interest to protect the public and this has been recognized for a long time. Most states require about 5 years of work as an engineer before you qualify to be a registered professional engineer. The hook is that it is illegal to practice engineering without a license.

However, most graduates of engineering schools never become P.E.s If they work for a larger firm, or they work for a manufacturer, there is no requirement for an engineering license for every worker. In the case of a large engineering firm, the principal or the chief engineer, who literally signs off on drawings etc is a P.E. In manufacturing, the issue of public safety is covered by product liability law and by laws or regulations requiring certification or inspection of the component (by either a government entity or by a registered engineering firm--depends on what the product is).

I can't imagine that in Europe, merely graduating at age 22 would giver you license to practice engineering. There must be more to it.

Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 8:28 a.m.


#89

Hello Bill!


Thank you for your explanation, that makes things a little clearer for me!

Quote:
I can't imagine that in Europe, merely graduating at age 22 would giver you license to practice engineering. There must be more to it.

The thing is, that we do not graduate at 22 here. A "real" univerity study of engineering takes, depending on the subject, between 6 and 8 years, with ph.d. even 10 or more. During this period of time, you spend about a year in industry for practicums and other practical work. Few leave university at less than 25 years of age and all have some working experience already. But your diploma makes you a "prcatical engineer" then, as you call it in the states. I do not know of any cases where a 25 year old graduate in civil engineering was immediately awarded a contract for buliding a large motorway bridge, but theoretically, it would be possible.

Greetings, Max


#90

Quote:
Hello Bill!

Thank you for your explanation, that makes things a little clearer for me!

The thing is, that we do not graduate at 22 here. A "real" university study of engineering takes, depending on the subject, between 6 and 8 years, with ph.d. even 10 or more. During this period of time, you spend about a year in industry for practicums and other practical work. Few leave university at less than 25 years of age and all have some working experience already. But your diploma makes you a "prcatical engineer" then, as you call it in the states. I do not know of any cases where a 25 year old graduate in civil engineering was immediately awarded a contract for buliding a large motorway bridge, but theoretically, it would be possible.

Greetings, Max


To warm this up again, we have a position comparable to the U.S. "Professional Engineer" in Austria. These People must have a university degree (Diplomingenieur - Masters Degree), work 3 years for a PE and pass an exam to be "Ingenieurkonsulent" (Professional Engineers). This is not required in all fields of engineering, but every Architect, to plan or build a house, needs to be Ingenieurkonsulent (architects are simply called "Architekt"). So, even, if you earned the Dipl.-Ing. you are not allowed to build or plan houses - you can draw them - to build them you need the seal of an architect on your drawings.
This seal is absolutely required or you are not allowed to build anything.
In a certain way the architects (and other PE's) are treated as public officials (though they are private businesses) and their seals bear the eagle of the Republic of Austria - something, that is only allowed for governmental organizations.

If you are employed somewhere you usually don't need the seal (and the exam).
The status has nothing to do with your performance as an engineer - you can be a great engineer and don't need to be P.E.

I guess, this is a similar system, is it?

For the german speaking guys here's a link: www.arching.at

or (with an english part):
www.bsing.at


#91

Sounds very much like the US system, except for one thing. In Austria, the national government is apparently responsible for licensing engineers. In the US, this role falls to the state governments instead.

Imagine that Austrian engineers were licensed and issued seals by the various Bundeslaender (Carinthia, Tyrol, etc), and not by the national government. Then imagine that the engineering agencies of the various Bundeslaender formed an organization to develop and promote common standards for engineering licensure and examinations nationwide. Such a society would be the equivalent of NCEES in the US.

Are there rules about calculator usage on the Ingenieurkonsulent exams?


#92

Quote:
Sounds very much like the US system, except for one thing. In Austria, the national government is apparently responsible for licensing engineers. In the US, this role falls to the state governments instead.

Imagine that Austrian engineers were licensed and issued seals by the various Bundeslaender (Carinthia, Tyrol, etc), and not by the national government. Then imagine that the engineering agencies of the various Bundeslaender formed an organization to develop and promote common standards for engineering licensure and examinations nationwide. Such a society would be the equivalent of NCEES in the US.


OK, I had to check the law: (Ziviltechnikergesetz 1993) ->

for our German-speaking friends:

http://www.aikammer.org/bilder/ztg_1993_i.d.f._bgbl_i_nr._137_2005.pdf


Practically the exams can be (and are) done by the Landeshauptmann (the governor) who appoints some of his officials together with some PEs.
This is another similarity to the U.S. system.
I don't know, if the state or the chamber of Architects and PE's is creating the Body of Knowledge for the exams - maybe a combination.
The exam is oral and public (§11/1) which lets me think of a calculatorless exam.

Quote:
Are there rules about calculator usage on the Ingenieurkonsulent exams?


In §9/3 is written:

The exam consists of:
administrative law, business administration, laws and regulations valid for the area of expertise, rules of professional conduct

I wondered, if they had any specific exams beside law and talked to an architect.
Obviously they can trust a university diploma as long as it's from an Austrian University.
Universities - private or state - have to obey a lot of governmental regulations, and some of them are quality-control.
There are no private accreditation bodies like the N.C.A. - universities are accredited by the government.
Diplomas from other (non-Austrian) universities have to be checked seperately (I don't know how - but it's surely a complicated and frustrating process).

So, to make a long story short, there's nothing to calculate at the exam and I'd guess there are no calculator allowed :-)

The university institutes have different rules for their exams:
Some of them forbid calculators entirely (and the exams are easy to calculate, but hard enough to test the students capability to solve the problem).
I've seen any combination of calculator regulations.

I should mention, that open-book exams are practically nonexistent, at least at the Vienna University of Technology. I have yet to see these at other Austrian Universities.

#93

Quote:
However, I've never heard of anything similar on this side of the Atlantic so far. But what can be the root cause?

In Germany you'll find lists of approved calculators for High School level - different in every federal state.Have a look at Casio's German website
here.


#94

Quote:
In Germany you'll find lists of approved calculators for High School level
This list covers calcs used from grade 7 on. AFAIK, we were talking here about more experienced users :)

BTW, I do not think a graph calc in grade 7 is a very good idea. Pupils/students shall learn to do math themselves before using math "crutchs". But these are just my 20 milli-Euros, and this topic was discussed here already.


#95

There are of course professors of mathematics who restrict the use of CAS calculators in the exams they administer - I only couldn't provide such a nice list like Casio. ;-)

#96

Quote:
... However, NCEES does care -- very much -- about the contents of your calculator when you **leave** the exam room. Exam questions are not to be divulged or copied in any way, including copying them into a calculator ...

There must be more to it than that. It is certainly possible to copy text from the exam into the EQN function of the hp 33s and to read it out later quite easily if flag 10 has been set.


#97

Technically, yes, you can store text in the 33S or 35S in this manner. But the text handling capabilities are obviously rudimentary compared to those of modern graphing calculators.

On the 33S, the limitations include:

- No alpha-lock key -- every single letter must be preceded by RCL, which obviously hinders the entry of long text strings;

- No text editing features, except for the backspace key;

- A 255-character limit for equations used as text strings;

- No way to view long text strings, except by slowly scrolling through the single-line display;

- No way to output long text strings

I don't have a 35S, but assume that it is similar to the 33S in these regards. On the other hand, my 50G has none of these limitations.

NCEES is apparently willing to overlook the primitive text entry/storage capabilities of the 33S or 35S, in order to make RPN calculators available to examinees.

Edited: 17 Nov 2007, 1:15 p.m.

#98

That's an interesting list.
The HP's are fairly high end programmable models while the Casio's and Ti's are your basic non-programmable scientifics. They are in completely different classes.
I don't know anything about the NCEES exam (or even what it stands for!), but with all this talk about the 33S/35S getting approval, I would have thought that a programmable was needed for this test?, obviously not?

In that case why isn't there a bigger list of non-programmable models?, or the lower end Casio or other programmables?

Is HP's marketing geared around supplying the most powerful calculator possible for the NCEES?, even if it's not needed?

Dave.


#99

Quote:
I would have thought that a programmable was needed for this test?, obviously not?

A programmable calculator is not required for NCEES exams. Some people (like me) do find programmability to be a convenience for such exams, but it is not a necessity. The number of people who program their calculators for NCEES exams is large enough to support several vendors who offer 33S exam software.

Quote:
In that case why isn't there a bigger list of non-programmable models?

NCEES wants to keep the list short to simplify enforcement for the exam proctors, who typically have little technical knowledge.

Quote:
or the lower end Casio or other programmables?

Nearly all programmable calculators marketed in the US are high-end "graphing" calculators, with text entry/storage and communications capabilities. However, calculators with such capabilities are no longer allowed on NCEES exams. In effect, all graphing calculators have been banned.

However, the 33S and the 35S are not high-end graphing calculators, and they have little or no text entry/storage or communications capabilities. The 33S and the 35S are low-end "scientific" programmables, and they are only such calculators that are readily available in the US today. They are therefore the only programmables that are acceptable to NCEES. If Casio or TI still produce low-end, scientific, non-graphing programmables, they don't sell them here.

Quote:
Is HP's marketing geared around supplying the most powerful calculator possible for the NCEES?, even if it's not needed?

HP calculator marketing is practically nonexistent in the US. However, HP has acknowledged that the 33S is popular with NCEES examinees. Incidentally, the HP press release is incomplete; it does not include all 33S exam software vendors.


Edited: 15 Nov 2007, 7:16 p.m.


Quote:
Nearly all programmable calculators marketed in the US are high-end "graphing" calculators, with text entry/storage and communications capabilities. However, calculators with such capabilities are no longer allowed on NCEES exams. In effect, all graphing calculators have been banned.

However, the 33S and the 35S are not high-end graphing calculators, and they have little or no text entry/storage or communications capabilities. The 33S and the 35S are low-end "scientific" programmables, and they are only such calculators that are readily available in the US today. They are therefore the only programmables that are acceptable to NCEES. If Casio or TI still produce low-end, scientific, non-graphing programmables, they don't sell them here.


Most interesting, it appears you are right.
The US Casio range of programmables is only the graphing models:

US Models

The international market (like here in Australia) on the other hand has this range of Casio non-graphing programmables:

International Casio Programmables

Dave.

Quote:
I don't know anything about the NCEES exam (or even what it stands for!),

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is a national non-profit organization composed of engineering and surveying licensing boards representing all states and U.S. territories. NCEES develops, scores, and administers the examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the United States.
Basically, NCEES develops and administers the tests taken by engineers and surveyors to grant them status as Professional Engineers or Professional Surveyors.
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I would have thought that a programmable was needed for this test?, obviously not?

No, not required. As others have noted, the calculational requirements can be handled by most any calculator having basic scientific functions. If you happen to have a graphing/programmable calculator that you used in your education or use on your job, you will not be allowed to use it on the exam. You will have to obtain and become proficient with one of the models on the list.
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In that case why isn't there a bigger list of non-programmable models?, or the lower end Casio or other programmables

The list is kept short to enable the proctors to easily determine that a test-taker's calculator is acceptable. They did not wish them to have to wade through a long list of calculators for each candidate upon arrival at the test site.
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Is HP's marketing geared around supplying the most powerful calculator possible for the NCEES?, even if it's not needed?

While I can't speak for HP, I believe their marketing is geared toward supplying the only RPN calculators that are allowed, so that those engineers and surveyers that use an HP model that is banned will have an RPN alternative rather than having to learn to be proficient with a Casio or TI model just to take the test. Note that there has been discussion of not allowing any calculators to be brought by the examinees. Examinees would be provided with a calculator at the test site. Since HP makes the only model(s) that have both RPN and algebraic capability, perhaps they hope to corner 100% of that market. (Including a pre-test sale to all examinees so that they will be proficient in using the calculator provided at the test.)

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Note that there has been discussion of not allowing any calculators to be brought by the examinees. Examinees would be provided with a calculator at the test site. Since HP makes the only model(s) that have both RPN and algebraic capability, perhaps they hope to corner 100% of that market. (Including a pre-test sale to all examinees so that they will be proficient in using the calculator provided at the test.)
Earlier this year, NCEES asked committees for both the engineering and surveying exams to recommend a single preferred calculator model. Both committees favored the HP-33S. Details on p. 11 here. However, NCEES apparently has no plans to start issuing calculators in the immediate future (at least through 2008).

Edited: 15 Nov 2007, 8:45 p.m.

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Examinees would be provided with a calculator at the test site. Since HP makes the only model(s) that have both RPN and algebraic capability, perhaps they hope to corner 100% of that market. (Including a pre-test sale to all examinees so that they will be proficient in using the calculator provided at the test.)

The hp 33s does have an algebraic capability but it will drive any confirmed algebraic user crazy with features like parentheses as second functions. To understand that those who prefer RPN only need to consider how they would feel about an RPN calculator which offered ENTER as a second function.


The 35s has parentheses as primary functions. We are not always talking about the 33s anymore.


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The 35s has parentheses as primary functions. We are not always talking about the 33s anymore.

From the algebraic user's viewpoint the availability of parentheses as primary functions was a step forward on the 35s; however, that improvement was countered by a big step backward by the return of the ENTER key to the traditional RPN position.

It may be that TI guys are just captives of habit. After all, since the introduction of the Datamath 2550 in 1974 they have been able to rely on the positioning of the four arithmetic keys and the key which tells the machine to complete the evaluation of the input, whether that key is an = key on A.O.S. machines or an ENTER key on E.O.S. machines.

I do remember that there was a lot of gnashing of teeth when the HP RPN community saw that the ENTER key on the 33s was a single width key in the lower right part of the keyboard. The return of the ENTER key to the traditional RPN size and position was a move to placate that community. I would have thought that the community would have been more receptive to change since change had happened before. Do you remember that the four arithmetic keys were at the lower left portion of the keyboard and in the order - + x / reading from the top on the HP-35 through the HP-41 but were moved to the lower right and in a different order / x - + after the HP-41? Does anyone know why they did that?

There was more gnashing of teeth last summer when the HP RPN community saw that parentheses were primary functions on the 35s and as such may have prevented the inclusion of other, possibly more desireable, primary functions on the keyboard. Someone has said that you can't please everyone all of the time. I suggest that the inclusion of both RPN mode and algebraic mode on the 33s and the 35s may have resulted in machines which can be properly described as "jacks of all trades, to the satisfaction of few." If that is the way that HP can attain domination of the NCEES market it will have to be seen as a good business decision.


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From the algebraic user's viewpoint the availability of parentheses as primary functions was a step forward on the 35s; however, that improvement was countered by a big step backward by the return of the ENTER key to the traditional RPN position.

It may be that TI guys are just captives of habit. After all, since the introduction of the Datamath 2550 in 1974 they have been able to rely on the positioning of the four arithmetic keys and the key which tells the machine to complete the evaluation of the input, whether that key is an = key on A.O.S. machines or an ENTER key on E.O.S. machines.

I do remember that there was a lot of gnashing of teeth when the HP RPN community saw that the ENTER key on the 33s was a single width key in the lower right part of the keyboard. The return of the ENTER key to the traditional RPN size and position was a move to placate that community. I would have thought that the community would have been more receptive to change since change had happened before. Do you remember that the four arithmetic keys were at the lower left portion of the keyboard and in the order - + x / reading from the top on the HP-35 through the HP-41 but were moved to the lower right and in a different order / x - + after the HP-41? Does anyone know why they did that?

There was more gnashing of teeth last summer when the HP RPN community saw that parentheses were primary functions on the 35s and as such may have prevented the inclusion of other, possibly more desireable, primary functions on the keyboard. Someone has said that you can't please everyone all of the time. I suggest that the inclusion of both RPN mode and algebraic mode on the 33s and the 35s may have resulted in machines which can be properly described as "jacks of all trades, to the satisfaction of few." If that is the way that HP can attain domination of the NCEES market it will have to be seen as a good business decision.


I originally thought the 35S would replace the 33S, but now it's obvious that it likely won't. I think they cater nicely to two different markets.
The 35S is more of a "programmers" calculator with the traditional HP look'n'feel, more suited to the RPN users. While the 33S seems more suited to the occasional programmer and algebraic users with more dedicated keys (parentheses issue aside).

I'm of the belief that you can't even please some of the people all of the time!

Has any of us ever found their *perfect* calculator in every minute detail? I know I haven't, and never will. We have to choose from the ones available, and even when you design your own, compromises always creep in.

Dave.


As long as you don't look outside, the "perfect" calculator is the one you are using and have always used!

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I'm of the belief that you can't even please some of the people all of the time!

Has any of us ever found their *perfect* calculator in every minute detail? I know I haven't, and never will. We have to choose from the ones available, and even when you design your own, compromises always creep in.


It seems to me that when talking about calculator users like those who populate this forum you can't please even a few of the people any of the time. That must drive calculator manufacturers crazy.


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It seems to me that when talking about calculator users like those who populate this forum you can't please even a few of the people any of the time. That must drive calculator manufacturers crazy.

I doubt they even know.
The bulk of sales go to people who don't care, and are happy to just use whatever calc they put out, as long as they have several to choose from.
Marketing will often just blindly chase markets without half a clue to what people actually want. A lot of it I suspect is suck'n'see.

We are minority fusspots! :->

Dave.

I am going to respond to "perfect calculator" and just say that I very much want HP to be my provider of a perfect calculator, or should I say perfect family of calculators. However that is not happening for me today. My current favorite calculator is the hp50g (with the hp49g+ a very close second). I love its beautiful multi line screen, but it is a bit big. So I am playing with the hp35s, but find myself becoming bad at operating both these machines due to their significant differences in keyboard layout. A calculator should be a tool to use without thinking, or at least without thinking "where is the enter/= button". So what would be my perfect family of calculators? To say in a few words I would love to stick with the hp35s and see the hp50g redesigned with a keyboard that is arranged like the old 48g, but with hp35s style buttons.


I'd like to see an HP family of calculators too, with similar design and buttons to the HP35S:

HP35SII - a debugged and modestly enhanced 35S

HP45S - for professional use, drawing on the many ideas presented in this forum (fwiw i would like portrait with a 4 or 5 line display, and a full set of menus including tvm)

HP55G - an updated HP50G

I am not in the industry and do not know the commercial viability of this proposal, but as a customer I would certainly buy more than one of these calculators, and this premium range would enhance my perception of the HP brand.

I had it so easy, not having to worry about calculator restrictions!

When I took the EIT in 1979, I had three HP-55 calcs with me: mine, my dad's, and my brother's. I practically wore out the ON/OFF switch, but I managed the batteries well enough that my calc made it through the entire day and I didn't need the other two. A friend of mine had three HP-65 calcs from his work, but he kept them on most of the time and ended up using all three.

When I took the California Civil PE in 1983 I had an HP-41CV with the Structures and Surveying Pacs, plus a bunch of programs I had written, and my HP-34C and HP-55. I only used the 41. The ROMs and my programs saved me at least an hour during the course of the test. BTW, the old test gave you 21 word problems to choose from (20 civil + 1 required seismic), of which you had to solve 8 in 8 hours, showing all your work. One hydraulics problem took me 5 seconds to solve using a program I had written and five minutes to document what I had done. That allowed me to tackle an easy but long reinforced concrete problem that was almost identical to a design I had completed about six weeks prior.

Ah, for the good old days!

Fred


California (like all other states) now uses the NCEES 8-hour Civil PE exam. NCEES calculator rules are strictly enforced on this exam (and on all other NCEES exams).

However, California also requires Civil PE candidates to pass two supplementary, 2.5-hour, state-specific (non-NCEES) exams, which cover seismic design and surveying issues. Since these are not NCEES exams, the NCEES calculator rules are not mandatory. California *continues* to allow any non-QWERTY calculator, such as the 41, 42S, 48GX, 49G, or 50G, on all California-specific exams. There are currently several other such exams, including the California Traffic, Geotechnical, and Structural III exams, and the supplementary California-specific Professional Surveyor exam.

So civil engineers and surveyors in California are still using more powerful HP calculators for at least some of their licensing exams. When I took the Civil PE exams in California, I had to use my NCEES-approved 33S for the NCEES exam, but I was able to use my NCEES-disapproved 48GX for the two California-specific exams.


Edited: 16 Nov 2007, 12:45 a.m.

I find this a fascinating discussion.

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I had it so easy, not having to worry about calculator restrictions!

In Georgia in 1983, there were no calculator restrictions, except they had to be "battery powered". However, this proved only to be a logistical issue (not enough outlets), not a hard rule. I arrived early, and chose a table near a wall, and had no problems from the proctors using my TI-59 even with the printer cradle plugged in!

This was all proved moot, though, because the most important factor in succeeding on the exam turned out to be the ability to efficiently define the problem and develop a solution, not calculation speed (sort of like real engineering, huh?).

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BTW, the old test gave you 21 word problems to choose from (20 civil + 1 required seismic), of which you had to solve 8 in 8 hours, showing all your work.

Yes, and then those exam booklets with solutions "showing all your work" had to be separated, and the individual questions grouped together, to be sent to the question authors to be graded, then the grades transmitted back to the central location to be tabulated, before you could be notified of the exam results. All this effort is why the state boards agreed to the present method of multiple choice short questions, with "answers only" grading.

BTW, the questions were new for each exam, so copying the questions wasn't an issue. But this also made more work (constantly preparing new questions).

So we have a dumbed down, if you will, list of approved calculators, to make it easier on the exam proctors, and a dumbed down method of testing, to make it easier on the exam preparers and graders. But does this serve the interests of the profession?

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Ah, for the good old days!

Not because they are old, but because they had some good procedures that have been lost in the interest of mass production. In this case, of engineers, but the same could be said of the calculators themselves. Why don't we just outsource the testing to China?

:-)

Martin


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