The Testing Services center has become one of the least popular places to be on campus. Most students dread taking tests there because of the stressful environment it creates.
The center was created with a great concept in mind and has positive qualities. These include unlimited or extended time on tests and giving students flexibility to choose when to take them.
“We adopted a classroom testing center because there are great advantages for students having more time and [teachers having] more time in class to teach,” said Colleen Sorenson, Director of Testing Services.
Although these benefits are helpful for students, there seem to be more negatives that bring discomfort. Anyone who has ever used the center may be perplexed by its small size, especially as it is supposed to accommodate our increasing student population.
“One of the things we’re working towards is offering more sites and availability to students,” Sorenson said. “During heavy usage periods, such as weekends, students will have more options to go to a testing center in a couple of different locations.”
The small center does not get much better when a student takes their first step inside. After the student waits their turn in line and is able to take their test, the classrooms available for test taking are small, crammed and muggy. In spite of these circumstances, the center still runs thousands of tests per year.
“We administer 250,000 tests a year,” Sorenson said. “Weber gives about 200,000 and the others are all far less than a hundred thousand. For a state school, we give the most tests.”
Natural distractions in the testing rooms are not the only ones students face while attempting to concentrate. Employees constantly walk down the rows eyeing students as they monitor cheating. This constant movement increases the difficulty to focus.
Not only is it stressful to take tests in the center, there is also a price to pay for procrastination or conflicts in scheduling. If a students schedule does not permit them to take a test until the last day proctored, they are charged a $3 fee, which is inconvenient for full-time students with part-time jobs. This fee goes toward paying for testing center staff salaries and wages.
Aside from the discomfort of the center, tests administered there have one large academic disadvantage: students are not provided the opportunity to ask for clarification on a question during their test, as they would be able to if it was in class with the professor present. This could cause lower than normal test scores compared with in-class tests and can become quite frustrating to students.
The testing center might not be ideal for most students but there are advantages.
Additionally, the classroom testing center staff is well aware of the discomforts students often feel. Because of this, they are doing their best to provide the best in academic testing all around campus. These good qualities should be recognized, but some things in the center must change to accommodate changing circumstances in the school as a whole.