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July 29, 2014
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VE Manual : 9.5 Maintaining Examination Integrity

The Volunteer Examiner plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of the amateur service Volunteer Examiner program. VEs also bear an important public relations burden. We expect you to be an "expert" on amateur testing and licensing.

We will not coordinate any exam which we believe is not conducted in accord with high standards. W5YI-VEC has the authority to invalidate any session in which confidence is lacking. We reserve the right to remove a VE accreditation for any reason or for no reason at all. Our decision is final in any dispute without appeal and by accepting a VE appointment you agree to abide by our decisions. We want the reputation of the W5YI-VEC program to be "squeaky clean." Rumors and "innuendo" to the contrary can do nothing but damage the program and amateur self-testing in general.

We are trusting and depending on our VEs to conduct exam sessions in a thoroughly professional manner. Every amateur has worked hard to obtain their amateur operator status. Act accordingly. Being a Volunteer Examiner is the highest calling in the Amateur Radio Service.

The role of the VE is an incredibly important one to the future of amateur radio as we know it. This is your opportunity to influence the caliber of the service and to repay the hobby for the enjoyment it has brought you over the years. It goes without saying that the quality of the person that enters the amateur ranks is directly proportional to the quality of the Volunteer Examiner program.

Be suspicious of exam cheating at all times. It happened during FCC-administered test sessions and still occurs under the VE/VEC System. Be particularly watchful for mistaken identities (a person taking the examination for someone else), micro-recorders, and forged/fraudulent records (particularly amateur operator licenses and Certificates of Successful Completion of Examination). Safeguard all blank certificates and examination materials.

The worst possible situation for a VEC is one in which a VE team assists applicants to pass. It is very difficult to detect, but eventually the "word" gets out about "easy" test situations. We will take firm measures to stop all instances of testing irregularities at once. Unfortunately more than one W5YI accredited volunteer examiner has had their operator/primary station license revoked and/or suspended for the remainder of its term.

The rules require that a VEC report any suspected irregularities in the administering or taking of examinations to the FCC. Report wrongdoing to us immediately, preferably in written form, so that it can be investigated. A number of complaints about the testing procedures of a specific team can mean that something is not being handled properly. We have no alternative but to act on these complaints to safeguard the integrity of the VE system.

We hold Contact VE team leaders particularly responsible for exam integrity since all testing materials are forwarded to them. Team leaders should be very careful about releasing any preprinted test copies to other VEs as control of the testing materials would be lost. It is the Contact VE that will be held personally accountable if there is any question of prior knowledge of test contents.

The rules are very specific about relatives (see 97.509(d)). Be certain that related VE team members, and the CVE are excluded from testing a candidate. Computer generated exams may be allowed for testing of related applicants but the test must be generated on site, at the session and witnessed by 3 unrelated VE team members. If a computer is not available an unrelated VE team member should always generate the actual written paper examinations and not the CVE Team Leader if the applicant is related to the CVE. The VEs should take whatever steps necessary to preclude any appearance of testing "irregularity" in both the generation, administering and grading of the exams.

We monitor "pass/ fail rates" very carefully. Consistent high pass rates give cause for suspicion. We are counting on you not to violate the trust that we have placed in you. We give every VE the benefit of the doubt to begin with. To be accredited as a W5YI-VE is a simple, quick procedure. To retain this accreditation and especially to be a team leader requires that you be a thoroughly respected member of the amateur community. Fair or not, we will have no alternative but to take action if you or your team becomes the object of controversy. More than once we have had to suspend testing by a VE team - even though we lacked concrete evidence of fraud. We also reserve the right to arbitrarily disaccredit W5YI-VEs who have been suspended or disaccredited by other VEC organizations.

97.509(e) reads: "No VE may administer or certify any examination by fraudulent means or for monetary or other consideration including reimbursement in any amount in excess of that permitted. Violation of this provision may result in the revocation of the grant of the VE's amateur station license and the suspension of the grant of the VE's amateur operator license."

We will do everything in our power as the coordinating VEC to have your amateur radio licenses revoked and your involvement publicized should you knowingly participate in a fraudulent session.


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