Last spring, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) decided to retire a restrictive exam expiration policy known as the ‘rolling clock’ and has since reinstated 6,658 Architect Registration Examination (ARE®) credits. Over 3,000 candidates had at least one ARE 5.0. credit reinstated.  

Effective May 1, 2023, NCARB retired the rolling clock policy and implemented a new score validity policy, which bases the validity of exam scores on the version of the test instead of a fixed time frame. As part of this policy change, NCARB reinstated previously expired divisions of ARE 4.0 and transferred the appropriate credits to ARE 5.0 divisions. 

NCARB identified the rolling clock policy as a potential source of unconscious bias, and further analysis confirmed the policy disproportionately impacted women and people of color. Additional research into exam content found that the new policy based on exam version more fairly addresses exam validity and ensures candidate competency.   

As a result of the policy change, women and Black ARE candidates were more likely to receive reinstated ARE 5.0 credits. Additionally, one in five inactive candidates who had a credit reinstated have since started testing again, and nearly 70 impacted candidates have since completed the exam.  

“NCARB’s decision to retire the rolling clock policy last year emphasizes our commitment to removing barriers to licensure,” said NCARB President Jon Baker, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP. “The score validity policy continues to uphold exam integrity while increasing equity.” 

At the time of the policy change, some jurisdictions had rolling clock policies that required regulatory or statutory rule changes that prevented immediate adoption of the policy. NCARB has been working with Member Boards to help align their requirements with NCARB’s. Fifty-two licensing boards now align with NCARB’s new score validity policy, with the final three actively working with their state legislators to get the policy adopted in the near future. 

Learn more about NCARB’s score validity policy.