Alternative Item Type (AIT) FAQ
Will I get the same AIT problems as my friend did on his FE Exam?
Remember the good old days of college when we could head in to a test and know exactly what was going to be on it because our friends took the same class the previous semester and dialed us in with the “need to know”?
Remember the test banks that we could pull from for years knowing that what we were seeing on them would be exactly what we could expect to see on the exam…and the professor nnnnneeeevvvveeeer changed it!
Oh, the days of “faking it ’til you make it”.
I admit, I lived by the motto “C’s for Degrees” and chose many times a keg stand or ice luge over studying…but I found a way to make it happen at the end of the day.
But as far as the FE Exam goes, or for the matter, becoming a Professional Engineer…there are no “C’s for Degrees”, you’ve got to be legit.
There exists no test bank out there that you can pull from.
There exists no individual that can give you the exact experience you are going run in to.
There exists nothing but all out grit and hard work.
Now maybe there is a beer bong the night before…but I would advise against that.
So will you get the same AIT problems on your FE Exam that your buddy did when he took the exam?
The answer is No.
Buzzkill, I know…but although working the system in college “don’t hurt nobody”, working the licensing system could definitely put the public in harms way, and that we can not stand for.
We need engineer legit-ness up in this mofo.
Now back on the topic at hand and what you can expect for the AIT problems on your upcoming FE Exam.
Each FE Exam is 100% unique…no two are the same….ever.
This is not something we are used to when it comes to preparing for exams.
In college, every single class we took had a professor that followed along the lines of what is called fixed-form delivery when it came to producing exams.
Fixed-form delivery is something we have been exposed to for a very long time, from the time we were in grade school, and entails the professor grabbing a collection of problems that would be delivered together…allowing them to quickly and accurately assess our understanding of the concepts that we were learning.
This method was good for the professor because they didn’t have to rewrite each exam over and over again…they could basically produce one and call it good.
Now to give some credit to the Universities, they quickly realized the downside to following such a form of exam delivery and made it mandatory that several fixed sets where in rotation to ensure that their existed some semblance of security…at least enough to allow them to sleep at night.
The problem existed though that over a certain period of time, the volume of the exam would increase, the exposure of each fixed set would be established, and the security of the exam would be fully stripped…manifested from this exposure came those beloved test banks.
With test items evidently well known to the population of students, professors and Universities attempted to counterjab by introducing 4, 6, or even 10 different versions of the same exam.
Only problem here is that this effort took a lot of energy and it was only a matter of time that, once again, every version of an exam would find it’s home in a local test bank.
If there existed a way to hack education, engineers were going to figure it out…and the fight was obviously going to be relentless for those who swore allegiance to this form of exam delivery.
So as we can see, their was a problem here that needed to be addressed, especially by the folks who ran high stakes licensing exams like the FE Exam…and the NCEES “got’s it dialed”.
Using Item Response Theory, a statistical process for high stakes exams, the NCESS develops each exam administered using the linear-on-the-fly approach, or LOFT, algorithm.
LOFT takes exam development to an extreme, attempting to construct a unique FE Exam exam for every single person that sits for the exam.
This algorithm results in the development of an infinite number of individualized exams that are all 110 questions in length, but none of which are the exact same 110 questions.
The LOFT method of exam delivery is popular amongst professional examinations and takes a stance between two common testing methods, those being the traditional linear fixed-form delivery and the computerized adaptive testing.
LOFT takes a middle ground, adopting components from each of these methods in an effort to maintain the equivalence of the set of items that each examinee sees, which is found in fixed-form delivery, while attempting to reduce item exposure and enhance test security, which is the strength of computerized adaptive testing.
The algorithm will assemble your unique exam in line with the same specification framework (i.e., the same number of questions per topic area that is defined in your particular discipline specifications) taking problems from a pool of content that has been reviewed and vetted ahead of time.
So no, you won’t get the same AIT problems that your buddy did last week in his exam, and this is by targeted design…but you will be ensured that you will get an exam that is relatively the same in difficulty as your buddy did last week.
Thumbs up that.
Death be to the test banks…but for the world, that’s what we need when it comes to licensing Professional Engineers.
You need to be legit, period…as always, with Love, Prepineer
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