Academic testing center has an uncertain future

Julia Carpio

The Academic Testing Center is where many students go to take make-up exams or test retakes. However, that could change due to a lack of funding that occurred this August.

The testing center opened its doors in the summer of 2012. Sponsored by a grant that Dr. Pamela Webster received, a director was hired to head the program. Now that funding is gone, the director has left leaving, Webster in charge.

“We are trying to find other funding to help it continue,” Webster said.

The process requires some paperwork by the professors and students simply need to make an appointment or walk in to take the exam.

“What happens is an instructor has to let us know that they have a test they want to give,” Webster said. “Our proctors give the exam, a student comes in and takes the test, and then it goes back to the instructor for grading.”

Webster said that, in the past, proctors did all of the grading as well. However, complications arose with that method.

“We don’t do that now,” she said. “It’s just too much. Proctors need to concentrate on giving the exam.”

Students do seem to have a few problems with the testing center, but Webster said that it is over things that cannot be controlled.

“Sometimes we will have students who aren’t happy about leaving their belongings in a cubicle,” Webster said. “More than anything we get complaints about things out of our control such as it’s too cold or it’s too hot.”

Other complications that seem to occur during the retake and makeup exam process are issues with getting tests back to the correct professor.

“If it’s a makeup test, there’s a form professors attach to the test, so they usually get [to the professor],” Webster said. “With tests given more frequently, like the math competency exam, issues happen mostly at the beginning of the semester when people don’t know their instructor’s name yet. That’s when tests get shuttled around.”

Regardless of the tests being shuttled around, Webster said that the testing center still has support.

“Instructors seems very supportive,” she said. “With the testing center being available so many hours it’s just a convenience to faculty and students.”

Webster is still looking for funding and is hopeful that with the support she has funding will be found.

“The associate dean is very supportive,” Webster said. “We think if we go through the proper steps it would get funded. My hope is that eventually it would be self-sustaining.”

Webster said that the testing center has helped a lot with scheduling conflicts. While they are still looking for funding, she is hopeful that the Academic Testing Center will remain open.

“It’s a big service to students,” she said.