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RE: Off-subject(?): Indiana PE exam(s)

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Charles,

Could you (or some other California PE) tell a little more about the
Special Seismic and Surveying exams?  I plan to apply for reciprocity in
CA sometime soon, and as I understand it I will have to take those exams.
I am curious as to what type of items are covered on the exams and the
length of the exams.  The surveying exam is probably more or less
self-explanitory, but what does the seismic exam entail?  Is it general
seismology issues or is it structural seismic design or something else?

Thanks,

Scott

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Scott E. Maxwell, SE, PE
Structural Engineer

SmithGroup Inc.
500 Griswold Street, Suite 200
Detroit, MI  48226

Telephone: (313) 442-8253                              Fax: (313) 983-3636

Email for Business: smaxwell(--nospam--at)dt.smithgroup.com
Email for Personal: smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu
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On Thu, 24 Feb 2000, Charles Greenlaw wrote:

>      Re: California SE Exam vs NCEES Struct I and II Exams 
> 
> At 11:40 AM 02/24/2000 -0500, you wrote:
> > The Western
> >Zone SE exam (16 hour) is different from the Structural I and II (16
> >hour) and I know that in CA you can't get reciprocity as an SE unless
> >you've taken the Western Zone SE exam, and also passed the Civil PE and
> >the Special Seismic and Special Surveying exams as well.  The Western
> >Zone SE exam has been previously given in Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
> >California and Hawaii.
> ...................................
> 
>         This is correct on both points. The "Western States", or zone, SE
> Exam is now back to being California-only, the way it started out. The
> others switched over to the NCEES Structural I and II "national" exams. Who
> may do what, as to structural work and use of the SE title, varies from
> state to state even though exams in common are used. 
> 
>         Why did the California SE Exam fall from favor? 
> 
>         I heard two members of the Nevada Board give their reasons to the
> Calif Board, and I read a Washington Board newsletter article that announced
> and explained the switch. The reasons were circumspectly set forth: The
> California SE exam did not serve their purposes as well as the National SE I
> and II exams, etc. My opinion is that the California SE Exam had fallen into
> a lengthy pattern of inept and unfair practices, in recent years accompanied
> by well-founded charges of gross error, cover-ups, indifference in grading
> to following instructions the examinees were bound by, denial of credit for
> correct alternative answers, and leaks of exam info by problem writers.
> 
>         I related to the Calif Board at its Dec 1999 meeting my own
> experience as a member of the by-invitation-only SEAOC committee that wrote
> and graded the 1981 Calif SE Exam. Another committee member had written a
> retaining wall on piles problem; my job was to prove out the problem and
> solution. I found three equally valid solutions, each very different from
> the others, according to which two (of three possible) conditions of static
> equilibrium were used to solve for pile forces. Local sub-committee members
> agreed the problem had to be revised. It was, by others higher up, but not
> in a way that cured any portion of the defect. The problem writer then
> graded everyone to his originally written problem statement and favored
> solution, and marked way down all other valid approaches. My repeated
> protests to the local chairman were not acted upon, and I was not asked back
> the following year. 
> 
>         Various minor revisions in the SE Exam procedure have been
> instituted by the Calif Board since then, but the whole activity is kept so
> undercover, increasingly so in the last 5 years since a vigorous lawsuit hit
> them, that it is very easy for them to continue disreputable practices and
> very hard for outsiders to ferret out misconduct. The wagons are tightly
> circled.
> 
>         A friend who annually writes and grades problems for the NCEES
> Control Systems Engineering Exam tells me that valid solutions that the
> graders had not forseen are cheerfully given all the credit that expected
> solutions are, and that pride in fairness and integrity is uppermost.
> Perhaps such an image helped attract the other "Western States" to the NCEES
> Struct I and II Exams.
> 
> Charles O. Greenlaw SE   Sacramento CA
> 
> 
>