New Data Shows That Men Outperform Women on the Architect Registration Examination

Of the more than 100,000 licensed architects in the United States, only 17 percent are women.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has published new data to help inform essential discussions about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession. For the first time, the NCARB has provided data on passage rates for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The ARE, which is administered by the NCARD, is a six-part exam taken by candidates seeking architectural licensure and is required by all state licensing boards in the United States.

NCARB analyzed the pass rates from more than 32,700 ARE exam participants, studying information on race, ethnicity, gender, and age. NCARB explains that passage rate data will “help inform essential discussions about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession, including the current licensure framework.”

Overall the pass rate was 55 percent. This varied among the six sections of the examination from a high of 66 percent in construction and evaluation to a low of 44 percent in project planning. Men outperformed women on all ARE divisions, with the exception of practice management, where men and women performed equally. The disparity between men and women was greatest on the project management and design section and the project design and development section, where men performed 12 and 15 percentage points higher than women, respectively.

For most races/ethnicities, the same trend of men outperforming women was seen across most exam divisions. The exception was candidates who identify as Black or African American. Black women had higher pass rates than their male counterparts on four of the six ARE divisions.

NCARB’s data science and examination teams have been actively working to understand the causes of testing disparities. Jared Zurn, vice president for examination at NCARD said that “while there is always more NCARB can do to ensure our programs are fair and accessible, we cannot do it alone. We are calling on firms, academia, test-takers, and the entire architecture profession to help us resolve disparities and continue this serious, but necessary conversation about the path to licensure.”

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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