NCEES reapproves 33S and 35S



#29

NCEES has announced that there will be no changes to their "approved calculator" list for 2009. The HP-33S and HP-35S remain "approved" for NCEES exams, which are used in the US for licensing of professional engineers and surveyors. This is one of the most important (perhaps the single most important) market for these calculator models.

Quote:
"The 2009 list is the same as last year's, which was well-received by examinees, proctors, and licensing boards," explained Tim Miller, P.E., NCEES director of exam services. "NCEES felt that the list continued to meet the need to protect exam integrity, while still offering flexibility."

Edited: 17 Nov 2008, 1:56 p.m.


#30

Strange.

Why not a 32sii, why not a 35? People would at least have a decent keyboard ...

I know that there were many discussions about NCEES on this board so feel free to submit your "corn of pepper" ;)

For my part, I will never attend such an exam, so I don't really bother.


#31

Patrick,

AFAIK that's something US-specific, which I gave up trying to understand. Let them have their fun, as long as it doesn't affect others, I don't care anymore.


#32

Yep. It is American. It is a bureaucratic mess. It all happened when mostly foreign students were going into exams with 48GX machines or fancy TI and walking out with the exam questions typed in. They were sent in not to take the test, but rather got paid to sit for the exam so that they could collect the questions, which were sold for big bucks in a black market arrangement. The most outstanding case is described below, but there were others.

So the test administrators (The NCEES) clamped down and said "no more old calculators!!!

Quote:
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying has obtained a copyright infringement and unfair business practices judgment against a former examinee who inappropriately and unlawfully copied questions from the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. NCEES filed the civil suit against Siavash Hakkakian of Sacramento, California, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California soon after he was convicted on a criminal misdemeanor charge of attempted examination subversion by the state of California.

During the April 2002 administration of the FE examination, Hakkakian was observed using a calculator in an odd manner. The California Board representatives who observed him during the examination believed he had altered his calculator to use as a scanner and was scanning the examination questions to remove them from the site. When he refused to let them inspect the calculator, he was dismissed and disqualified from the examination.


more here:

http://www.pobonline.com/Articles/Industry_News/3979771d9f0f6010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____


Edited: 18 Nov 2008, 2:03 p.m.


#33

Quote:
Yep. It is American. It is a bureaucratic mess. It all happened when mostly foreign students were going into exams with 48GX machines or fancy TI and walking out with the exam questions typed in. They were sent in not to take the test, but rather got paid to sit for the exam so that they could collect the questions, which were sold for big bucks in a black market arrangement. The most outstanding case is described below, but there were others.

So the test administrators (The NCEES) clamped down and said "no more old calculators!!!


Yep, typical bureaucratic response.

They had better pat-down and x-ray the people next, because anyone could take in a concealed micro camera and do exactly the same thing. Easier than modifying a calculator IMO.

Dave.

#34

Quote:
It all happened when mostly foreign students were going into exams with 48GX machines or fancy TI and walking out with the exam questions typed in.

Ah. So we know who's fault it all is. It's the foreigner's! Yeah. You don't live in Wyoming, do you?

#35

Now now, let's not get testy. Facts are facts. I didn't make this up.

Perhaps Americans sitting for the test are more apt to be trying to actually prepare for a career in engineering in the U.S.? Just a thought.

Really, you'll have to ask the perpetrators why they did it.


Of course, who was buying the exam questions? Americans.

Edited: 18 Nov 2008, 5:09 p.m.


#36

In Walter's defense, the article, and other Google searches, state "Siavash Hakkakian of Sacramento, California". He/She? does have a strong Finnish name, but whose to say he/she is a foreigner? The accused could be American born!

I wonder how much a 48GX with a built in scanner would go for on ebay..

Wait.. Walter, what's wrong with Wyoming??


Edited: 18 Nov 2008, 5:20 p.m.


#37

Thanks Pal, but now I must run in defense for Finland ;) For me, "Hakkakian" sounds Armenian, but I have no idea about the first name. If he/she is US-born, then any idea about the first name won't help in any way, anyway (think of Chelsea, Paris, etc.).

Nothing wrong with Wyoming as a state, just took a look at Wikipedia ;)

#38

To a true finn "Hakkakian" does not sound very finn-thing. Iranian, perhaps?

#39

To comment further on this exam. Several years ago, I would have been against licensure, but having moved from a small firm to a much larger firm with 40+ electrical engineers, I am surprised at how a large percentage of these engineers lack basic engineering fundamentals. For most, their knowledge is not nearly as solid as it should be.

For my own self, I had to obtain 2-3x the documentation, prove myself capable and compentent and have my transcripts reviewed with a fine tooth comb to take both the EIT and later the PE exam. The reason; I have a liberal arts degree. So for me, the exam is really my only entitlement to be an engineer.

Needless to say, the US probably needs some kind of universal bar to measure its engineering graduates with. Remember, this exam is for engineers who plan to practice engineering for the public on projects that may affect hundreds or thousands of lives on a daily basis (Every bridge in the US must be designed by a licensed Engineer). It is not needed by the majority of engineers who work for private firms in the US.

Many foriegn countries have a much deeper engineering curriculum that we have in the USA and would feel insulted to be subjected to this exam process. However, this deepness of subject comes at the expense of broad education that American engineers do get with the chance to explore other areas of study in their first year or so of school. Admittedly, many Americans consider the other courses fluff to help boost a GPA or blow them off.


#40

Quote:
I have a liberal arts degree. So for me, the exam is really my only entitlement to be an engineer.

Does this mean you could take the exam no matter what you studied? And if you pass, you're a licensed engineer even if you studied at law school or didn't study anything at all?


#41

Yes, but each state handles this. In some states, non-graduates have been proscriptively banned in recent years; in others, the traditional apprenticeship to engineering path cotinues to exist.

#42

Quote:
I have a liberal arts degree. So for me, the exam is really my only entitlement to be an engineer.

Unlimited opportunities? Sometimes I am glad to live in Central Europe where I can rely on a plumber being a plumber ;)

Edited: 19 Nov 2008, 2:29 a.m.


#43

Quote:


Unlimited opportunities? Sometimes I am glad to live in Central Europe where I can rely on a plumber being a plumber ;)


Walter,

a German "Joe, the plumber" would have the same problem here as he had in the US. He could work for a plumbing company as a "Geselle", but if he wanted to run the company himself, he would have to do an additional exam and get a master plumber's license - the so called "Meisterbrief".


#44

Quote:
He could work for a plumbing company as a "Geselle", but if he wanted to run the company himself, he would have to do an additional exam and get a master plumber's license - the so called "Meisterbrief".

George,

you are very well informed :) Just one important point to add: Joe may work as plumber-"Geselle" only after little Joe successfully finished his apprenticeship in plumbing. And this apprenticeship works only at a company where at least one master plumber is employed taking care of this, and it may take 3 to 4 years. So no shortcuts from Fine Arts to Engineering.


#45

In the U.S. there are no "short cuts" for Arts grads who go into technical fields. On the contrary, as Ron Ross describes, they are put through far more scrutiny than a graduate of an engineering school. In some states, non engineering graduates have been banned from sitting for the exams--which is being carried out by bureaucrats here who look to European standards (seriously, it is true--I've spoken with one about this!)

Frankly, I don't see any reason to grumble about the possibility of non-traditional paths leading to an engineering license. The tests are arduous, and meaningful; the work experience review is very detailed. The number of years that a non-engineering graduate must work in the field before qualifying to sit for the exam is 2 or three times that required for the graduates.

In the end, there is more than one way to get from here to there and in the U.S. we recognize that a bit more than in Europe, though we are rather alarmingly moving towards a very rigid system.


#46

I would have to raise my hand as accused on that count of career wandering and my fondness for our system's flexibility:

-My undergraduate degree is a BA in Biochemistry (BA because I left the US college and finished it in Germany).

-In the following eight years, I served primarily in the Infantry but later moved on to tour certain sections of the world with small groups of interesting gentlemen.

-I left the service with epilepsy (to many concussions) and decided I wanted to work in the power industry; I became a power systems engineer with a nice large corporation.

-To support this effort, I really thought I should get the "P.E." behind my name.

...and I found that the FE was actually rather fun after the serious pain of truly earning and documenting enough relevant experience (i.e., ten years worth, four of which can be education if I took the right courses needed to shore up my degree to that of an accredited one). This spring's exam should be as much fun as well; I love these tests. (For the most part, my calculator just sits beside me...off. The curse of a calculator is it will always give you an answer.)

edited: fixed spelling errors and italic markers

Edited: 19 Nov 2008, 12:27 p.m.

#47

Quote:
Every bridge in the US must be designed by a licensed Engineer.

Even the bridge in Minneapolis!

Licensing really doesn't protect the public.

Palmer


#48

Hi Palmer:

From a recent article:

Quote:
The safety board is expected Friday to issue a formal finding of probable cause in the accident. But investigators honed in Thursday on the insufficient review process to catch the bridge design flaws and the absence of standards regarding the stockpiling of construction equipment and materials.

"Nobody is aware of the (bridge-loading) process because there is none," safety board member Steven Chealander said, referring to how the Minnesota Department of Transportation issued overweight permits to Progressive Contractors Inc., the company conducting a bridge deck resurfacing project.

"Somebody missed the whole idea that we are going to put 287 tons of equipment on that bridge," Chealander said.

The Federal Highway Administration is formulating new standards for balancing weights on bridges during construction.

The Minneapolis bridge was loaded to the point of collapse at its weakest spot in the middle of the span, investigators determined.

"This was the approximate weight of a 747 on a small spot," Rosenker said. "This is truly a very heavy, concentrated load."

Machinery and paving materials were parked and stockpiled on the center span at the time.

The original weight of the deck truss when the bridge opened in 1967 was 18.3 million pounds. Ten years later, 3 million pounds of weight was added when the bridge deck was thickened. A barrier and a deicing system were later installed, adding another 1.2 million pounds, investigators said.


So rather than licensing, you would do what?

Licensed professional engineers are liable in very specific ways and the licensing is part of that process--and helps to ensure that those practicing both have the requisite skills and experience as well as take the issue seriously.

The bridge had a design flaw, but I don't think that negates the value of licensing.


#49

Quote:
So rather than licensing, you would do what?

Licensed professional engineers are liable in very specific ways and the licensing is part of that process--and helps to ensure that those practicing both have the requisite skills and experience as well as take the issue seriously.

The bridge had a design flaw, but I don't think that negates the value of licensing.


Clearly, licensing is not enough. I would rely on design reviews by outside activities.

My observation is that professional organizations typically reserve to themselves the right to assign liability and are typically loath to assign significant penalties on their members as a part of liability -- it's the "grace of God" effect.

Palmer

Palmry


#50

Yes, of course...but there are design reviews (and were in the Minneapolis bridge).

And so how do you judge whether the judges are proficient enough to review the bridge....

As you've noticed, the "house that 10,000 monkeys built"--Wikipedia--could never safely review anything. Even design review is no substitute for qualified professionals--the reviewers need the same level of skill!


#51

Quote:
And so how do you judge whether the judges are proficient enough to review the bridge....

You start to judge the proficiency of judges the same way that you judge the proficiency of the original designers -- by looking at their education, their past performance and their current capability. But you should try to include generalists in your panel of judges. As an example I point to the failure analysis after the shuttle disaster where the O-ring on the booster failed. The aerospace guys spent a lot of time and effort on failure analysis but it took Feyneman to recognize that the O-ring material lost it's plasticity at low temperatures.

Truthfully, I suspect that the real deficiency in design reviews is not the capability of the members of the panel but rather financial limitations imposed on the panel. It goees back to that old mantra of managers "Sooner or later you have to fire the engineers and go to production."

#52

Quote:
Even the bridge in Minneapolis!

Licensing really doesn't protect the public.


We license car drivers -- yet this doesn't seem to prevent car accidents.

So we could eliminate the licensing process for car drivers. We could it legal for everyone to drive cars on the public roads, without regard to their age, ability, training, traffic violations, accident record, insurance, or visual acuity. You don't need a license to operate a bicycle on public roads, so you could eliminate the license requirement for car drivers as well.

But it's probably a bad idea from a public safety perspective.

#53

Quote:
Why not a 32sii, why not a 35?
Because it's much easier to enforce a policy that only allows a few specific models. If the list is very short (as it currently is), then an exam proctor can easily learn to recognize the approved models, and can then tell at a glance whether or not an individual calculator is in compliance. Note that NCEES exams are typically administered to hundreds of candidates, even thousands at some locations, so there are a lot of calculators to check, and not much time to do it.

NCEES initially tried a more flexible policy, but it was a failure. Over the years, calculator manufacturers have produced hundreds or thousands of different models -- dozens from HP alone. So exam proctors were frequently confronted with unfamiliar models, and were confused about their acceptability. The people who proctor licensing exams are typically not calculator enthusiasts, and do not want to make "on the spot" decisions regarding calculator acceptability.

Edited: 18 Nov 2008, 2:22 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#54

Quote:
AFAIK that's something US-specific

NCEES exams are only used for licensing in the US and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc). However, NCEES has started offering them in a few other countries as well (e.g. Japan and Canada), presumably for engineers who are interested in US licensure.

Edited: 18 Nov 2008, 2:17 p.m.

#55

Hi There, I will use this forum to defend the simplistic approach to the NCEES having an extremely short list of approved calculators. A few weeks ago a young friend of mine sat for the Math SAT exam. When he walked in with his hp49g+ (a gift from me) he was told it was not allowed and a cheep SAYNO calculator was handed to him in its place. Clearly this calculator is allowed on this test (just check the web site), but because the proctor was ignorant (I would like to use other words) the calculator was disallowed. As a result this student was unfairly handicapped by a calculator with which he was unfamiliar and did NOT support RPN. The SAT policy lists Graphing Calculators as acceptable, but excludes calculators with QWERTY keyboards and PDS and many other devices that can perform calculations.

... Chuck


#56

I mistyped, PDA as PDS.


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