Whether you need it for school assessments, standardized state exams, or national assessments like Advanced Placement or the GRE, having a well-equipped testing facility is important for maintaining the security of the tests according to their instructions, and for the comfort of the students. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your testing site.
1. Establish the space for the test site.
Many standardized tests requires certain components for a testing site to be deemed appropriate for the test. The room for testing should be comfortable, but also lack distractions and follow the particular needs of the test.
For example, a test’s specifications might require that students be separated by at least 2 feet on each side to prevent cheating, or that at least 1 proctor be present for every 10 students in a large room. Students may be taking their exam on computers. Therefore, the normal computer lab might need to be re-oriented so it’s impossible for students to peer at other screens. Or, because you need more space, you might need to move the testing center into a bigger room than the normal computer lab.
Finding the right room, therefore, is an important part to establishing the right testing site. Having flexible furniture, especially for tech-assisted or tech-required exams, can help you prepare your examination room.
2. Have a logistics plan for the entire campus.
It’s a good idea to think about the test site within its broader context. This is especially important when only particular classes or grades are being tested, while the rest of the school undergoes normal operations. For example, are only 9th graders tested, while the rest of the school follows the regular class schedule? What can students and teachers do to minimize distraction when students move between classes, especially if other classrooms are in testing mode? Will the school bell be turned off, or will periods for particular classes grow longer while the testing is in effect?
Having a strategic plan in mind for those situations is important. Whether it’s assigning a new period schedule to keep students in class, or ensuring that quiet and respectful movement is done in the hallways to minimize noise, having a plan administered to teachers and staff will help reduce any stress or anxiety for students and teachers come testing day.
3. Make sure your equipment is compatible for the test.
Whether you need a tape player and recorder to administer and record individual student test responses, or must have the updated hardware and software on school computers with headphones for administrating online exams, make sure that your technology is up to speed come testing day.
The same goes for testing rooms, where exams might need a projector or large speaker system for students to listen to their questions. Make sure that your projector, visual presenter, or document camera can be used for your exam, and what other components need to be in the room. Test all components before exam day to ensure that nothing with go amiss or waste time during the testing.
In addition, it’s important to note what devices are prohibited while testing. For example, while you might use a wireless headphone system for in-school exams, it’s possible that your wireless headphone system is prohibited during a national exam. Or, personal headphones might be prohibited, while classroom-provided headphones are required in order for students to complete certain sections of the exam. Again, check the requirements and prohibited lists given by the test administrators, or call their support line. If some items are questionable, it’s better to err towards prohibiting them yourself in order to avoid invalidating the students’ exams.
Establishing ease and control of the assessment site is an important part for maintaining the integrity of the site and test results, which can help by providing quality sound and listening devices. For help picking out listening equipment, contact us. We can help you customize your options for your test specifications.