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Old 06-15-2018, 09:06 PM   #1
scott.henry
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Default Academic Boards at Nuclear Power School

Students that are struggling academically through the Nuke Pipeline, at some point, may go in front of an academic board. For NPS this will typically happen during week 12 following the completion of all first half courses and again in week 24 after the comprehensive exam has been taken, although an academic board may be convened at any time. There are several criteria that are used to determine if a student will be given an academic board, but the common ones are 2 first half course failures (for week 12 boards) or failure of the comprehensive exam (for week 24 boards).

An academic board, although typically seen in a negative light, is actually a positive thing. It gives the student an avenue other than a written exam to display their knowledge. An academic board consists of a chairman and an instructor from each subject the student is currently taking. The student will be asked questions from each subject and will be graded on their answers. In this setting the student has a chance to display his or her thought process to the evaluators, unlike a written exam. This is why I say an academic board is a positive thing. Not only are the students getting evaluated on correctly answering the questions, but the board is also assessing their potential to complete training. It's kind of a "whole person concept" thing. If they can demonstrate a solid thought process and arrive at a mostly correct answer, the board will, most likely, pass a favorable recommendation to retain them in the program. I would argue that the thought process is more important than getting a correct answer. Some students will completely bomb a written exam, but given the chance to talk through a problem, will pass with flying colors. Even if the board does not pass a favorable recommendation for retention, the ultimate decision to retain or dis-enroll the student lies with the NNPTC Commanding Officer.

Just like every other exam in NPS, the minimum passing score is 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. When I sat on an AC Board, my philosophy was "Able to recognize correct answer when prompted = 2.5 knowledge." Most of the other instructors shared that philosophy as well. Most of the time, it only took a pointed question to spark a thought and the student would fill up the board with information.

If your sailor is struggling and tells you they have to go to an AC Board, tell them that it's not a bad thing. Even if they go to a week 12 and a week 24 AC Board, they will be better for it. By the time they get to their oral boards at Prototype, they'll be pros at standing in front of instructors and answering questions.
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