Put to the Test
In a single day during fall 2013 finals, 1,026 students took exams through DELTA Testing Services. Given the 38,658 exams that Testing Services administered in 2013-14, that day was just a drop in the bucket.
DELTA Testing Services isn't hurting for business. With an average of 24 percent growth in the last five years, this small staff serves more and more faculty members and students every year, but with constrained resources. To keep up with the demand of offering testing for nearly 600 courses, while maintaining a secure testing experience, DELTA had to get creative.
During finals two years ago, walking through the DELTA lobby in Venture II was a challenge. Students filled every available seat, sprawled studying on the floor, and lined the hallways waiting for their turn to take a test in the Testing Center. Because of the efficiency measures DELTA Testing Services implemented, spring 2014 finals was a different picture entirely.
"I am so grateful to the DELTA testing center for allowing me to use them. They have been super helpful, quick to address concerns, issues and glitches, and very respectful." - Dr. Kay Sandberg
Testing Services extended testing center hours in their two primary locations in Cox Hall and Venture II. To move beyond their 70-carrel capacity, they rented overflow space in Talley Student Center and in D.H. Hill Library and used conference rooms in DELTA's Venture II space.
They also boosted efficiency through collaboration within DELTA. WaitTime, an app developed by DELTA's Applications Development team, helped students estimate when the centers were less crowded and plan accordingly. Applications Development also created a proctoring administration tool, which provided Testing Center staff with details for hundreds of course tests at their fingertips, making it quicker to hand out tests.
"The efficiency of the testing environment increased dramatically," said Rebecca Swanson, DELTA's associate vice provost for Distance and Distributed Education. "We were able to drastically reduce the wait time for students, and frankly, to alleviate the burden on faculty. Who wants to grade 300 exams the last day of the final exam period? This really helped us to facilitate exams as expeditiously as possible."
From an instructor's perspective, DELTA Testing Services does everything but write the test and grade it. Dr. Kay Sandberg, teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry, has used DELTA Testing Services to administer all of her DE tests for as long as she can remember. Thanks to a partnership between DELTA and the College of Sciences, Sandberg also used Testing Services for her face-to-face classes last year. All total, DELTA administered more than 1,600 tests for Sandberg in one semester.
"I am so grateful to the DELTA testing center for allowing me to use them," said Sandberg. "They have been super helpful, quick to address concerns, issues and glitches, and very respectful."
For Sandberg, using Testing Services was a snap. She simply completed a form at the beginning of the semester requesting service. For computer-based tests, she made the test available in WebAssign (some instructors use Moodle). For the paper-based part of the tests, she emailed the print outs three days in advance, and DELTA took it from there, right down to printing and stapling the test. And, with security cameras throughout the testing centers and a student ID required at check in, DELTA guaranteed a higher level of student authentication than in many classroom testing environments.
By using Testing Services for all of her tests, Sandberg gave her students flexibility that everyone enjoyed. Sandberg liked the convenience her students had in choosing what time of day to take their test and which day, within a four-day window. This easy convenience is just part of the customer service that has made Testing Services so popular with students and instructors.
"We do a really good job of customer service," said Sharon Broere, associate director of DE Administrative Services. "We make it easy for faculty members to give a test, so they are very happy with our service. Even students say that they prefer taking tests with us."