NCARB's Practice Analysis Validates Registration Exam and Intern Development Program

28 February 2001

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) recently published the results of its Architecture Practice Analysis Study, a comprehensive analysis of the profession of architecture as it is practiced today. More than 1,700 participants, including practitioners, educators, interns, major consumers of architectural services, and other professionals whose work interfaces with architects, contributed to this extensive survey.

The study took a multi-method approach to identify the tasks and knowledge/skills that are important to the competent performance of recently registered architects. One function of the survey is to ensure that NCARB initiatives are in alignment with significant current, emerging and future practices. An additional function of the survey is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Survey results support the content validity of the current ARE and reflect that NCARB has a strong foundation to develop future versions of the exam.

Based on study results, other NCARB services were also validated, including the Council's Intern Development Program (IDP). Survey findings support the need for the IDP, as respondents emphasized the need to dissolve any perceived gaps between education and practice. In fact, participating architects indicated that the IDP is a critical time for acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills for competent professional practice.

Peter Steffian, FAIA, president of NCARB's Board of Directors, noted, "The Practice Analysis represents the culmination of 18 months of dedicated efforts to accurately record the views of the architecture profession and its current and future needs. It is important to note that the study supports NCARB's role in the development of the Architect Registration Examination and the Intern Development Program."

Some 4,600 architects, educators, and interns in the United States and Canada were invited to complete the survey. Nearly 40 percent of the surveys were completed and returned, an overall response rate considered to be excellent.

Development of the Practice Analysis was based on information gathered from focus group sessions, visits to architecture firms, telephone interviews, discussions with architecture "trend spotters," and meetings with collateral organizations (the American Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Architecture Students, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards).

Overseeing the development and distribution of the study were NCARB's Practice Analysis Steering Committee and primary consultant, The Chauncey Group International. Steering Committee Chairman Dennis Astorino, AIA, explained, "We felt our role was to ensure that the project was of the highest quality. And, we were able to accomplish this goal by working with dedicated people from The Chauncey Group and members of the NCARB Steering Committee as well as senior staff from the NCARB office." Joining Astorino on the committee were representatives from each of NCARB's six regions: Alan W.T. Baldwin, Jr., AIA (Region 3); Cornelius (Kin) DuBois, AIA (Region 6); H. Carleton Godsey, AIA (Region 4); Warren Tvenge, AIA (Region 5); Douglas W. Whitney, AIA (Region 1); Margot Woolley, AIA (Region 2); and Mark McKechnie, AIA, NCARB Director of Professional Development.