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There is no confusion over ARB exams

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The ARB can give an immediate and short response to Peter Gibbs-Kennet's lengthy letter (AJ 13.01.05).

First, the statutory basis of the ARB's examination is clearly set out in Section 4 of the Architects' Act 1997. The ARB's examination procedures received full legal scrutiny and were publicly consulted on before approval.

Second, the new examination procedures arose out of recommendations on the previous process from an independent panel of experts, including one of the progenitors of the Quality Assurance Agency's Code of Practice on assessment. The ARB has an excellent record of submitting its procedures to external scrutiny by experts in the relevant fields, and will continue this practice in relation to its examination procedures.

Third, there is no confusion; ARB is assessing the work presented by candidates for examination against criteria, not evaluating their qualification.

Anyone who reads ARB procedures cannot be left in any doubt on the matter.

Finally, is Gibbs-Kennet suggesting that those who submit for examination with RIBA-validated qualifications should be subject to a less rigorous examination process or have special exemption?

That could not be justified in the public interest. For example, out of 39 candidates with RIBA-validated qualifications examined in a recent session, only 21 met the ARB criteria.

Dr Jon Levett, head of education, ARB

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