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Discrimination in exams?

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by hbroomhall, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Not sure precisely where this should go.

    Interesting article in The Register about a discrimination case in a computer administrated exam where the candidate was blind.

    Harry.
     
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  2. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    they are IT Pros and human-beings in the end, so im glad she took action..
     
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  3. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I was sympathetic to her cause...

    ...until I read the article. :dry

    Seems to me that they took reasonable efforts to provide the PMP exam to her. Security of the exam IS a concern. I certainly would not have allowed ANY other software to be installed on my testing center equipment, or allowed any other computer to distribute the exam.

    So if I'm simply "uncomfortable" with taking computer-based exams, should I be allowed to request that they give me a paper-based one? No. Therefore, if she's merely "uncomfortable" with the alternative suggested by PMI, that's just too bad. I'm uncomfortable with looking at a 14" monitor and using a mouse that doesn't fit my hand well. But I can't tell PMI how they *must* implement their exam if ANY usable option is available to me; neither should she.

    I'm not sure why they couldn't have delivered her a Braille version of the exam, complete with tactile images, but the article never mentions whether either side made that suggestion. Bottom line is, PMI gave her an alternative that allowed her to take the exam, regardless of how uncomfortable it made her.

    What if a disabled person sued a company because they want to enter the company's building by a side door, but the only wheelchair-accessible ramp leads to the front door? Even if it makes the disabled person "uncomfortable" to use the front door, reasonable efforts to allow the person access to the building have been made, have they not? Same with the PMP exam, in my opinion.

    I rest my case, your honor. :hammert
     
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  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    It is a difficult one - the whole issue.
    I don't know what Pearson VUE do (or whoever) to cater for people who can't use a monitor, keyboard or mouse.
    I can understand them not allowing software or hardware to be added to their systems, so how does it work?

    (although I believe that you are allowed a 1/2 hr extension to an exam if Engish isn't your native language - but even that doesn't make sense, why not take the exam in your native language? Whenever I book an exam they ask if I want the English version. If I was Chinese, I'd say 'no, I would like the Chinese version please')

    IT is odd because it is very clinical. If you heard of a blind gardener, you'd think 'oh, they must have a good sense of smell/touch', or a deaf musician 'oh, they can feel the vibrations'.

    But IT offers none of these 'optional' senses, unless a device or software is installed to make them available.
    That's great when you are at your desk where your disability has been accounted for, but not in an Internet cafe.

    Why not?

    Legislation regarding disability is extremely strict - new buildings must have X number of disabled parking bays/lifts/toilets/wheelchair ramps per employee, so why is it not compulsory to offer these for accessing a PC?

    I guess it is a matter of time...
     
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  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Yeah - and she passed the exam, so what is some people's problem?
     
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  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Because it made her... UNCOMFORTABLE!!! :ohmy Lord knows we can't have that.
     
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  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I often feel uncomfortable in exams.
    I get asked questions that I don't know the answer to.

    Nobody seems to give a sh1t though.
     
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  8. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Perhaps we should sue. :deal
     
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  9. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    I find it hugely ironic that someone coming from a country where McDonalds got sued for serving hot coffee is critical of this story.:D The company decided by themselves what was appropriate action to make their service accessible to blind people with no attempt at dialogue. Unless they happen to emply a lot of blind people, how do they know what's best? Don't you think they should have asked someone who new better - like the blind woman herself or maybe the RNIB?
     
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  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Most people in the US think the woman who got scalded by the coffee is a moron. :dry

    There doesn't have to be dialogue. They simply have to provide a solution that works. They didn't have dialogue with me to discuss what I thought should be changed on their exam processes... why MUST they consult with her? Plus, the article doesn't say they didn't discuss things with her... in fact, there's indications that dialogue WAS made.

    Neither do they have to "know what's best". They simply have to make a reasonable effort to provide the exam to her so that she can answer the questions. If they've done that, they've fulfilled their legal responsibility.

    Lastly, why do they have to employ "a bunch" of blind people? Isn't one sufficient? Or does one HAVE to be blind to be able to understand what it's like to not be able to see?
     
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  11. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    My point is that the best people to judge what's the best method of presenting this exam to blind people are blind people themselves.

    Also, the dialgoue was very one sided, they declined every one of her requests.
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's not one sided at all. They stated the reasons why they declined her requests, which were quite unreasonable:

    - Installing software on the testing center computer
    - Allowing her to take the exam on her computer
    ...both of which compromise the integrity of the exam.

    Would you have allowed either of those requests? I certainly would not have, for the same reason PMI gave.

    They offered her a reader for the computer based form. They also had a paper based form. I'm not sure if they would have offered it in Braille, but if they would have, that was two viable options.
     
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  13. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    How would it have compromised the integrity of their exams? Do you think they don't have anyone technically savvy enough to examine her software before hand to look for potential malware, install the software then re-image the machine afterwards to make sure there's no trace of it left?
     
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  14. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I think the point here Baba is - are they required to?
    No doubt they may have the technology or know how, but if nobody has told the testing centre that they have to cater for people in this way then why sould they?

    In fact, the chances are that they can't make the decision themselves. If it was a Pearson VUE centre, they would have to stick with the rules. Sure, they could ask Pearson if they were allowed to do X, Y or Z - but you know what it's like trying to push through an exception to the rule.

    The thought behind my original post was, if a building is required to have a wheelchair access ramp and a disabled WC - why aren't they required to have a braille reader or some such available.

    It just seems to be an area where regs haven't caught up.
     
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  15. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Actually, no, I don't. For example, let's say I wanted to capture screen shots, much like a braindumper would do. Unless you knew specifically what to look for, you'd probably not be able to find it... and if I developed my own screen capture program that ran silently, you'd never know. Thus, the integrity of the exam would be compromised.

    Not saying that she would do that... but if you make an exception for her, eventually you'd have to make an exception for someone that WOULD do something like that. And that can't be allowed to happen.
     
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