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RE: SE Licensing in Washington State, Exam Results

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You snivel wonderfully!

I took the Washington Structural III at its first offering (and was
one of the two who passed).  I found the exam to be tough but fair.  I
agree that the latest pass rate was disappointing; perhaps the
examinees were distracted,unprepared, or unqualified.  The overall
pass rate (for six administrations of the exam) seems reasonable to

It sounds like your reasoning is "I failed so the process is obviously
unfair."  You describe an "obvious inequity" for those "who would like
an SE in Washington."  At present (unfortunately) there is not a
practice act in Washington; no one is REQUIRED to have a Washington
SE.  I suppose you feel that high standards for graduation are an
obvious inequity for undergraduates and that high standards for
admission to college are an obvious inequity for high school students.

For the record, about 1 in 5 examinees have passed the exam (not 1 in
10), as noted below.

October 1998:  2 of   7 (28.5%)
April 1999:    5 of  27 (18.5%)
October 1999: 21 of  56 (37.5%)
April 2000:    9 of  49 (18.4%)
October 2000: 17 of  59 (28.8%)
April 2001:    6 of  67 ( 9.0%)
Total:        60 of 265 (22.6%)

To echo Neil's comment, "If you didn't pass the test, review the areas
that you think that you are weak in, study hard and go for it again."
If failing the test has so soured you on structural engineering that
you're just going to whine, you should probably find another
profession.  Or if you can't face the rigors of a profession, you
could just get a job.


P.S.: I suspect that Messrs. Twiss and Huston often go unthanked--only
hearing gripes from those who fail.  Mr. Twiss, thank you for your
diligence in regulating professional practice in the State of
Washington.  Mr. Huston, thank you for your sustained effort to
support the Board of Registration by producing and grading exams to
weed out unqualified applicants.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Michael Valley, P.E., S.E.                   E-mail: mtv(--nospam--at)
Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire Inc.              Tel:(206)292-1200
1301 Fifth Ave, #3200,  Seattle  WA 98101-2699      Fax:        -1201

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Smith [mailto:rq_smith(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 7:56 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: SE Licensing in Washington State, Exam Results

Here?s an excerpt from the minutes of the August 22 meeting of the
Qualification Committee of the Washington State Board of Registration
Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

?3. Examination Issues
3.1 Locally Prepared Exams
3.1.1 Structural III ? Washington?

The minimum passing score session was held on August 8th.  Ms. Duevel
(1 of 2 SE?s on the 7 member Board of Registration) attended the
meeting and
participated in the process.?

The recommended minimum passing score is 21.4 points out of 40.  This
score resulted in 6 out of 67 examinees succeeding for a 9% pass rate

This is the lowest minimum passing score ever set for this exam and an
extremely low pass percentage.  It was thought by some that the
might have had some impact on (the examinees) preparation.  Two of the
passing engineer specialize in bridges.  Eleven bridge engineers sat
for the exam.?

The unfair SE examination procedure in Washington results largely from
SEAW?s aggressive involvement in the examination process.  This
benefits the licensed SE?s in Washington, especially if they have one
of those examinees working for them.  It creates an obvious inequity
for unlicensed engineering graduates, Washington-licensed Civil
engineers and any SE from another state who would like an SE in
Washington.  The process includes:
1) Already having a professional engineer?s license in another
and two years of structural experience.
2) If you don?t make the 1 in 10 odds of passing the examination this
you can always wait another year to take it again.
3) No one has ever had a failing score changed to a passing score by
appealing the grading of the Washington SE examination written by Mr.
Huston and his SEAW committee.  In fact you will end up with a lower
score than the original.  They can do this with impunity because the
rules governing engineering examination appeals in Washington do not
allow a 2nd appeal to the Board.  If you want to make a 2nd appeal of
Washington SE exam results have your attorney and expert witness ready
because you must plead the case in Superior Court.  Don?t forget to
ask the Board to retain your SE exam work because otherwise they will
shred it soon after the review period has finished.

So much for a national standard for structural engineering licensing.

Send any comments to this list serve and:
1) George Twiss, Director of the Washington State Board of
Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors at:
2) Edwin Huston, Chairman of the Structural Engineers Association of
Washington Exam Writing Committee at:

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