The state licensing boards that compose NCEES, the organization that develops and administers the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the U.S., have voted to begin converting the PE and PS exams to a computer-based format.
decision was made during the 2012 NCEES annual meeting, held Aug. 22–25 in St.
Louis. It follows a 2010 decision to convert the FE and FS exams to
computer-based testing, a transition that will be completed in January 2014.
The PE exams will be
converted to CBT in 2015 at the earliest, but as NCEES Executive Director Jerry
Carter explained, the transition will be paced for each exam. “We offer 25
different PE exams in 17 different engineering disciplines, and NCEES will
review each exam individually to determine what it needs to move to CBT,” he
said. “The language approved by the Council is ‘at the earliest feasible date,’
and NCEES will move carefully and deliberately with each conversion to ensure
that the exam continues to reliably measure professional competence.”
There is no set time
for converting the PS exam to a computer-based administration, but Carter
explained that NCEES wants to gain experience with computer-based testing for
the FE and FS exams before it moves another exam to the new format. Carter also
noted the advantages, including greater scheduling flexibility for candidates,
more uniformity in testing conditions and enhanced security for exam content.
The PE or PS exam is
typically the last step in the engineering or surveying licensure process. Over 25,000 candidates
took the PE exam in the past year, which included October and April
administrations. Over 1,200 examinees took the PS exam during the same period.
Among other actions
taken at the annual meeting, NCEES member boards expressed their support for
strengthening licensure’s protections by applying them toward engineered
products and systems. They approved an amendment to the NCEES Model Law to
require responsible charge of a licensed engineer over the engineering design
of buildings, structures, products, machines, processes and systems that can
affect the public health, safety and welfare. The amendment is a response to
provisions in many state laws, known as industrial exemptions, which exempt
firms that manufacture products from requiring a P.E. to oversee their design.
“The newly added
requirement is subject to implementation at the state level,” Carter said. “But
adding it to the Model Law-which serves as a best-practice model for
state laws-demonstrates the boards’ commitment to protecting the American
Full details on all motions considered during
the annual meeting will be included in the official minutes, which will be
published later this year.
NCEES Approves Computer-Based Testing for PE, PS Exams
September 5, 2012