Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: California SE exam

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

It's been a number of years since I was involved with the exam, however, at
least in SoCalif, we used to intentionally assign problem authors to grade
different problems than their own during grading.  Some graders sometimes became
a bit too opinionated during the grading process, but that tended to correct
itself by grading each test twice - the divergence of opinion was expressed as a
significant difference is scoring, and the problem would come to the team
leader's attention pretty quickly.  It was not difficult to apply a little
"social pressure" on the opinionated grader by having a general table discussion
about the problem.  I think that the final grading tended to be quite fair and
accurate.

When I used to write problems, I learned to try to "stage" problems, by starting
the problem with fundamentals for a portion of the credit, adding another
portion which would demonstrate greater understanding and experience, and then a
small portion which would demonstrate mastery.  When grading the problems, it
was surprising how many applicants could not even grasp the fundamentals -
statics, even.  It tended to become pretty easy during grading to separate the
engineers who were really good, the ones who understood engineering fundamentals
but not code details, and the, unfortunately very many, who didn't have a clue
about things that are quite fundamental.  Scary to think those people have CE
licenses may be practicing today.

We used to describe the test as not having very many curve balls but a whole lot
of fast balls.  The examinees need to know their stuff well before walking in,
keep a cool head, and work quickly and efficiently.  Exactly the traits that you
would want in any engineer you hire.  I have a lot of respect for any engineer
who passes the test, and I'd hate to see it get watered down by politicians who
are suspicious that we are only being "self serving" or are only trying to
reduce the cost of the exam.

regards, Martin