April 1, 2006

NCCAOM Cancels February Exams Due to Security Breach.

By Editorial Staff

Acupuncture Today has received a press release from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) regarding the cancellation of all of its February 2006 exams as the result of an apparent breach of its test question database. The NCCAOM's press release, listed below, has been printed in its entirety for review by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.

Make sure to visit AcupunctureToday.com for future updates on the NCCAOM as they become available.

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NCCAOM Takes Measures to Preserve Certification Standards

Contact: Mina Larson
February 8, 2006
(703) 299-5893

Alexandria, VA - On February 7, 2006, NCCAOM confirmed that a breach of security has occurred involving a number of examination questions intended for use in the February 2006 examination administration.

NCCAOM believes that these test questions have been available to an unknown number of persons registered for the February 2006 examinations. As a result of this unfortunate incident, NCCAOM has canceled the February 2006 examinations. All old exam questions will be retired and replaced with a new set for future examinations.

The NCCAOM is dedicated to legitimate, reliable, and relevant professional testing in that our mission is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public. "We were faced with the painful duty of canceling scheduled examinations. A compromised test would not give us assurance that every successful examinee is competent to practice safely. Commitment to our mission required us to follow this difficult path," stated Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, Ph.D., CAE.

To remedy this situation and guarantee that it does not arise in the future, NCCAOM has launched a program to deepen our pool of reserve examination items and begin the enhancement of security measures relating to the database and examination procedures. This includes a move to administering future examinations by computer, rather than the current pen and paper method. Each test administration will be held at a secure test center with stringent entry and exit identification, along with video and audio taping of all examinees during the test administrations.

The NCCAOM is deeply committed in maintaining the professionalism and integrity of its examinations and will be investigating this incident to the fullest extent of the law. Anyone associated with the stealing of the NCCAOM examination questions will be vigorously prosecuted. NCCAOM recently settled a lawsuit against Mr. Decheng Chen for using NCCAOM examination questions in his review courses and books. Meanwhile, the staff and Commissioners of the NCCAOM are dedicated in assisting all of the scheduled February 2006 test takers through this process. "We recognize the disappointment that this postponement will be to many candidates who have worked hard to prepare themselves for the February examination date. Obviously, their study will never be in vain. We feel it is our ethical duty to act consistent with our organization's stated mission of protecting the public through recognized standards and we feel that we owe it to our examinees to offer a fair and equal examination," said Board Chair, Bryn Clark, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM).

The next examination will be administered in June 2006 and all those scheduled for the February examinations have the choice of taking their examinations in June 2006 or October 2006. Other positive news is that starting in June 2006 there will be a two-week window in which candidates may take their examinations. As more information becomes available we will post it on our website, or will send it to candidates by electronic mail or U.S. Postal Service.

We appreciate your patience as we work through this very difficult situation. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Mina Larson, Director of Communications and Marketing at 703-299-5893 or by email at .

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The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization established in 1982. The mission of NCCAOM is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public .


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