NCEES Banning of 48GX, 49G, TI83, TI89, Etc



As a simple matter of fact, a calculator is a tool for a technologist - whether an engineer or otherwise. I wrote to the NCEES and asked why they had done this. The reply was that they have had a rule banning devices with comm capability for some time. Since they have heard about mods to the (now) banned calculators that would allow cheating, they decided to enforce the rules. This is my response to them:

Thank you for your reply. I had actually thought that it might be something of that nature. As a PE for thirty years, I certainly am among those that want to maintain integrity in the examinations. Having said that, I wish to make a few points if you would take the time:

1. With today's technology, a cheater can communicate with a wristwatch.
2. The existing infrared comm capabilities of the various calculators that you are banning are short range and probably useless unless they are modified. 3. If someone is going to the trouble to modify an Hp49g or TI89, they could just as easily modify a TI35 or HP9 or Casio whatever. In fact, an hp42s (obsolete but still available) has infrared capability and could be modified quite easily.
4. Entering text into any of the calculators that your are banning, even the QWERTY keyboard models like the Ti92+, is a long laborious process. Anyone entering anything of value would surely be noticed by the proctor.
5. Including college and professional practice I have been working with technical tools for forty years. I am trying to imagine how I would prepare for the PE exam now when I was told that I was not allowed to use the tools of my trade.

I do not believe that banning these calculators is the correct approach. For what it is worth, based on the communications that I have had with a number of registered engineers, I am far from alone in this belief. I would suggest the following alternative approach.

1. All calculators that are to be used in the exams must be submitted for examination by the proctor(s).
2. All applicants using calcs with comm capability should be seated in the same general area to make the job easier for the proctors.
3. When students leave the test site, they must submit their calculators to the proctor for a hardware reset.

Closer proctoring and monitoring is the correct answer not taking the engineer's tools away from him/her just when they are most needed.

John Cadick, PE

I suggest that everyone (pro or con) contact NCEES and let them know of your position. The gentleman that I correspnded with is j carter @ ncees . org. Remove the spaces for email.




You might also suggest the simple procedure of taping infrared ports.

I'd also note that anyone who did successfully modify the 42S would have some cash coming from me if he'd be willing to do mine, and would definitely have to have some reasonable knowledge base to do so.



;-} Yeah, modification of the 42s might be more than a chore. I hope that NCEES realizes my meaning is that he who wants to cheat, will figure a way.


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