The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and a test preparation company for certain NCEES exams have reached an $800,000 settlement agreement regarding allegations of the unauthorized use of copyrighted practice questions belonging to NCEES. The agreement was finalized March 15, 2018.
In addition to the settlement payment, the test preparation company has agreed to permanently remove the NCEES-owned material from its print and online materials on an agreed-upon schedule. Per the terms of the agreement, the test preparation company does not admit any guilt regarding copyright infringement or liability to NCEES, and NCEES will not disclose the company’s identity.
NCEES produces licensing exams for the professions of engineering and surveying, including the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. The nonprofit organization also publishes study materials, including practice exams, to familiarize candidates with the format and content of the exams. NCEES alleged that the test preparation company used NCEES’ copyrighted practice questions in its exam preparation materials without NCEES’ authorization.
“While this settlement includes a monetary payment, NCEES’ focus, as always, was on protecting its intellectual property,” said NCEES Chief Executive Officer Jerry Carter. “NCEES and its volunteers have literally thousands of hours invested in the development of high-quality examination items that assist licensing boards in performing their important work. We will take whatever steps are required to protect our intellectual property. We are glad to have arrived at a resolution that upholds our rights.”
NCEES will discontinue the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Software Engineering exam after the April 2019 exam administration. Since the original offering in 2013, the exam has been administered five times, with a total population of 81 candidates. Only 19 candidates registered for the April 2018 administration. Per NCEES exam development policy, the Committee on Examination Policy and Procedures (EPP) is required to review the history of any exam with fewer than 50 total first-time examinees from NCEES jurisdictions in two consecutive administrations and provide recommendations to the NCEES board of directors concerning the desirability of continuing the exam.
At the January 2018 meeting, the EPP Committee reviewed the history of the PE Software Engineering exam, the low candidate population, and the potential for increasing the number of first-time examinees. After consideration of all information, the EPP Committee recommended that NCEES discontinue the PE Software Engineering exam.
At its February 2018 meeting, the NCEES board of directors accepted the EPP Committee’s recommendation to discontinue offering the PE Software Engineering exam. Since this exam is offered only once per year, the board directed that NCEES discontinue the PE Software Engineering exam after the April 2019 exam administration.
NCEES provided official notification to all member boards of the discontinuation of the PE Software Engineering exam in accordance with policy.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying has begun the search process for a new chief executive officer. Current CEO Jerry Carter will retire on September 30, 2018. The NCEES board of directors has formed a five-member CEO Search Committee, chaired by NCEES President Patrick Tami, P.L.S. The committee will accept applications from qualified candidates until April 30, 2018.
“Under CEO Carter’s leadership, NCEES has become one of the most respected organizations in the engineering and surveying professions. He has greatly improved our ability to achieve NCEES’ mission by bringing about a significant evolution of the Council’s services and governance,” Tami says. “Thanks to him, our new CEO will be able to continue our mission with a dedicated staff and strong financial footing.”
NCEES helps its member licensing boards carry out their duties to regulate the professions of engineering and surveying. It develops best-practice models for state licensure laws and regulations and promotes uniformity among the states. It develops, administers, and scores the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the country. It also provides services to help licensed engineers and surveyors practice their professions in other U.S. states and territories.
Candidates for the position should hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and have at least five years of executive-level leadership or management experience. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader with strong financial experience in leading an organization, preferably in an engineering or surveying community. He or she will have an understanding of organizational governance and its structure and be a strong collaborative leader of NCEES leadership, staff, members, and volunteers. Previous experience at an executive level is preferred.
NCEES is currently seeking licensed chemical engineers to participate in a professional activities and knowledge study, or PAKS, for the PE Chemical exam. The results of this online survey will be used to update specifications for the exam, which is used throughout the United States for licensing purposes.
NCEES requires a cross section of licensed professional engineers practicing chemical engineering—including those working in industry, consulting, the public sector, and academia—to complete an online survey about the tasks and knowledge required of a licensed chemical engineer with four to six years of experience to practice in a manner that safeguards the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The survey can be completed in approximately 40 minutes.
“These studies help NCEES ensure its licensing exams remain relevant to current professional practice,” explained Director of Exam Services Tim Miller, P.E. “The value of this PAKS depends on the number of people who participate, so NCEES is eager to get a large response from professional engineers across all areas of chemical engineering.”
For access to the online survey, visit ncees.org/PEChemical before the deadline of February 28, 2018.
How and when examinees receive their results varies by state. Some boards use NCEES Exam Administration Services to release the results directly to examinees; some release them through another testing service such as PCS; and other boards release the results themselves. In addition, some state boards validate the results at a board meeting before they can release them to examinees.
To find out how you will receive your result, select your state (or foreign entity) and exam from the engineering webpage.
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Beginning January 1, 2018, NCEES is reducing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam registration fees by $50 to $175. The reduced fee will apply to registrations completed on or after this date; the new price will not be honored for registrations completed before January 1, 2018.
The FE exam is the first of two exams required for professional engineering licensure; it is designed to test students’ knowledge of concepts learned while earning an accredited bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline. The FS exam is a similar exam designed for surveying licensure candidates. These exams are currently taken by nearly 47,000 examinees throughout the United States and 15 foreign locations annually. They are computer-based exams administered throughout the year at Pearson VUE test centers.
“NCEES and its member boards are committed to reducing barriers to licensure,” NCEES Chief Executive Officer Jerry Carter explained. “Moving to year-round computer-based testing for these exams, which gives candidates greater scheduling flexibility, was an important part of those measures. The organization is taking the additional step of lowering the price of the fundamentals exams to ensure that cost is not a prohibitive factor in starting on the path to licensure.”