Testing Center Workgroup Recommendations

The content of this post is a copy of what Mike Midgley, VP of Instruction, sent out to all faculty on November 6, 2018.


Good afternoon. Earlier this year, as discussed in the attached report, TESTING CENTER WORKGROUP RECOMMENDATIONS, a letter was sent to all faculty informing them that the College’s Testing Centers would be phasing out the use of customized red scanforms for testing beginning in Fall 2018. This decision was primarily based on the institution’s inability to find a permanent solution to support outdated technology used to grade exams using the red scanforms.

Subsequently, concerned faculty members urged the Provost to suspend the decision pending a thorough investigation with faculty involvement. The Provost agreed and charged the Vice Presidents of Student Services and Instruction to form a large workgroup to study this issue. Ten members were appointed by Instruction (including 7 faculty) and six were appointed by Student Services. Additionally, he requested that the testing center mission and strategic direction be reviewed and that a set of recommendations on the use of Testing Centers be explored.

A 16-member workgroup was established with representation from student services, instruction, and technology. Their charge was to examine the Instructional Testing Centers’ Mission, policies and practices, and to provide recommendations to ensure that testing services at ACC meet student needs and promote student success. In doing so, the workgroup was asked to benchmark ACC testing practices and policies against peer institutions.

The Testing Center Workgroup submitted their recommendations on September 11, 2018. The recommendations and the administrations’ response to the recommendations are attached. Please note the following regarding use of Red Scanforms.

  • We support the recommendation to transition from red scanforms to Blackboard/Respondus or to green scantrons. The use of red scanforms will continue through the end of the Fall 2018 semester, but will not be supported thereafter.
  • Individual faculty will have the option to use green scantrons starting in the Spring 2019 semester.
  • We support the recommendation to provide Instructional Design Services training sessions. Dr. Erasmus Addae, AVP for Distance Education, will work with Dr. Susan Thomason, AVP of Instructional Services to contact all current faculty users of red scanforms and inform them of training options to support conversion to Blackboard/Respondus.

While this is the most pressing issue included in the Workgroup’s report, additional recommendations were made to revise the Testing Center mission statement, add Academic Testing to the responsibilities of the Assessment and Advising Committee and to add one additional Full-time faculty representative as appointed by the Faculty Senate, and to discontinue the 30 minute grace period for instructional testing (with notification to students).

Finally, based upon a survey of similar institutions (Alamo, Houston, Dallas, and Lone Star College Districts), it was discovered that none of them allow Testing Centers to be used for regular testing of students in face-to-face courses. They are generally used for assessment purposes (e.g., TSI, GED, etc.), make-up exams, and Distance Education exams. We support the recommendation that ACC reduce use of Testing Centers for in-class courses, and will review that recommendation further during the Spring 2019 semester. As a part of that review, we want to provide an opportunity for instructional faculty to comment on what regular (in-class) testing for face-to-face students should be considered for administration in the Testing Centers, and what criteria should be used to determine that. Currently, there is no existing written criteria as why certain ACC courses are allowed to utilize the Testing Centers for in-class exams, and others are not. Please submit your comments to your department chair and we will ask department chairs to forward them for review.

The Testing Center Workgroup Recommendations and the Administration’s response to the Recommendations are attached. We encourage you to review those documents and the supporting materials.

Mike Midgley

Vice President, Instruction

midgley@austincc.edu

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