On June 29, ATEC appealed the denial of its Jan. 30, 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to make the A&P exam question and answer test bank available for public inspection. After receiving numerous reports of vague, inaccurate or unanswerable exam questions, the board determined that access to the test bank was essential to ensuring questions and answers are – first and foremost – correct, accurate and clearly written.
Although we are hopeful that we will prevail in our appeal, there may be an alternative—and perhaps more fruitful—avenue. While drafting the appeal we discovered that other segments of the aviation community had similar problems when their certification exams were removed from public scrutiny. In 2011, the Airman Testing Standards and Training Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) was created to address concerns that the FAA’s testing standards and materials for pilots were not keeping pace with training methods and technology. The committee recommended that a group of industry professionals should be formed to “bolster” the development of the pilot exam. Indeed, ARC’s 2012 report concluded that “returning the question bank to the public domain—where it previously resided—is the most effective way by which the aviation industry and FAA can work cooperatively to review, revise, and better focus what knowledge applicants must demonstrate during [the exams].” 
We contacted the authors of the report and were informed that there will be a part 147 ARC in the near future. Currently we are scheduling meetings to discuss how ATEC and its members can be involved in the process. We hope that by participating in the committee we can demonstrate that public oversight and coordination with part 147 schools is essential to ensure the integrity of the A&P exam.
 Jens C. Henning ET AL., A Report from the Airman Testing Standards and Training Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to the Federal Aviation Administration (2012).
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