Issue #17, January 2018

Welcome to Issue #17
The FACTA Examiner
Winifred Cooke and Stephen Nickell, Editors

The Florida Association of College Test Administrators strives to enhance professional growth and communication among test administrators.

In this Issue:
  • Important Dates
  • Message from Our President
  • FACTA's 9th Annual Conference
  • 2017 Fall Council Meeting Recap
  • On the State Level
  • On the National Scene
  • FACTA Representation at National Conference
  • Letter to Congress Regarding Test Security in Online Courses
  • New Functionalities Added to the ACCUPLACER Platform
  • Meet Your Florida RV Certification Representative
  • How To Set Placement Scores
  • Ensuring Test Security while Considering Student Equity and Success
  • Valencia's Newest Testing Center
  • Congratulations
  • Get Yours
  • FACTA Leadership
  • Business Members

  • How To Set Placement Scores
    [for the next-generation ACCUPLACER]
    by The College Board

    Determine which of the methods highlighted below is right for your institution.

    BOOKMARK METHOD
    This is a three-round process in which panelists work through a booklet of ACCUPLACER test questions arranged in order from easiest to hardest. Panelists place a bookmark after the number of questions they determine students should be able to answer at a minimum.

    OR

    SKILLS INSIGHT STATEMENTS
    The Skills Insight™ statements describe the knowledge and skills associated with a specific next-generation ACCUPLACER score range. Within each score band, the statements describe what a student scoring within that band is likely to know and be able to do in relation to the academic skills measured on the test. Institutions can use Skills Insight as a starting point for determining course placement scores. If the list of Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) for a college course closely matches the Skills Insight statements for a particular score range, the lower part of that range may be considered as the initial placement score.

    AND

    VALIDATE YOUR SCORES WITH ACES
    Whichever method you use, after a year we strongly recommend you evaluate the efficacy of your placement scores and placement decisions with a predictive validity study. Admitted Class Evaluation Service™ or ACES™ is a free online service that helps you validate placement decisions based on your placement scores.

    Watch a video on setting and validating standards on the College Board YouTube channel: collegeboard.org/accuplacer-toolkit

    Ensuring Test Security while Considering Student Equity and Success
    by Marc Webb, Broward College

    As educators, it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment for our students to succeed and feel accepted and welcomed. Regardless of whether you work on the student or academic side of the house, student success is becoming an increasingly important grading criteria for our institutions with our state funding agencies as well as our accrediting bodies. However, as testing and assessment professionals, we are called on to adhere to policies, procedures, and best practices that often dictate compliance from students to ensure test security and prevent cheating. Unfortunately, there are times when our responsibilities as student advocates and as testing professionals are at odds with each other--which brings into question the equity that we provide to all students.

    One area of test security which seems cut and dry and backed by best practice and standardized test policies is headwear. Standardized exams like the ACT, SAT, LSAT, etc. only allow headwear for religious purposes. While administering standardized tests, test administrators and proctors are following the prescribed policies and procedures of the test vendor. However, we often attribute the same policies and procedures to internal tests administered at our institution even when there is not a vetted college policy sanctioning said policies and procedures. A department written policy and procedure that has not been vetted with the college’s legal council may not stand up to scrutiny. It also brings into question the issue of equity for all students. This is a sensitive issue which can be misconstrued and run counter to a student’s best interest and successful persistence. While this issue is far from clear, it does require us as professionals and educators to examine our policies and procedures from all perspectives and be willing to make appropriate exceptions when the exceptions are in the student’s best interest. Clear publication of policies and procedures is extremely important. Students should be made aware of all policies and procedures prior to arriving at a testing center if possible.

    Consider these examples of head coverings and questions of equity:

    • Common forms of religious headwear: Hijab, Turban, Kippah (Yamaka)
      • How do we know the religious choice is official? – We don’t and we can’t ask.
    • Common forms of non-religious headwear: Baseball Cap, Visor, Scarf, Wrap, Doo Rag, Skull Cap, Hoodie, Wig, Toupee
      • We assume these are optional and not religious in nature.
      • Could there be a valid reason the student is wearing this item? How do we know? How do we address it?
      • We don’t usually ask about wigs or toupees because they are commonly due to hair loss, hair issues, or a medical reason even though they are removable.

    Ask yourself if your decisions take our students' unique perspectives and rights into consideration. Is there a chance you are not seeing the whole picture? Will this experience impact the student’s persistence and future success? These questions and others examine the true equity of our policies and procedures.

    If this topic has sparked your interest or ire, please plan on attending my presentation at the FACTA Conference in February where this topic will be discussed in detail.

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    Welcome Valencia's Newest Testing Center!
    by Hans Liburd, Valencia College


    This past August, Valencia College successfully opened a new campus in south Osceola County to serve the rapidly growing Poinciana community. The Poinciana Campus will serve a diverse area that has previously suffered from limited post-secondary educational access. Within this community of approximately 80,000 residents, roughly 20 percent were born outside the United States, with another 25 percent born in Puerto Rico. Further, more than 50 percent of the Poinciana residents speak a language other than English in the home. So, as one would expect, the American community college system can be a completely foreign concept to a high number of prospective students.

    The Assessment and Testing Center at the new Poinciana Campus has played a crucial role in assisting the new Valencia College students as they begin their path to earning a college degree. In this first semester, over 250 placement assessments have been administered—including the PERT and ACCUPLACER ESL. These initial numbers have thoroughly surpassed all expectations, and as more members of the Poinciana community turn to Valencia College to begin their post-secondary education, those numbers are only expected to increase.

    The three-member Assessment and Testing Center team (Ashley Miranda, Brianna Watson, & Hans Liburd) has hit the ground running and enthusiasm has been high! All three specialists were brand new to the “World of Testing” so there was a bit of a learning curve in the early stages. Now, the team operates like a well-oiled machine. For all members who will be in attendance at the February FACTA Conference hosted by Valencia College, feel free to give these three new Testing Specialists a warm greeting!

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    Congratulations Are in Order!

    Another Florida Testing Center Receives NCTA Certification

    The University of Florida Teaching Center Testing Services has joined the testing centers across the state of Florida who are now certified by the National College Testing Association. Florida now has 29 college and university testing centers who have completed the rigorous certification process. To be certified, the higher education institution must complete a self-study of its testing processes and services to examinees and submit documentation demonstrating its commitment to the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines and to achieving test center excellence. The documentation is then reviewed and verified by a committee representing the national association. Center certification is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed.

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    Florida SouthWestern State College Testing Services is proud to announce the newest additions to their team.
    by Denise Swafford, FL SouthWestern State College

    Asher Jordan was born in May of last year. He joins his proud parents, Rachel and Michael Jordan. Rachel is currently working for us as a part-time proctor and has been employed with FSW since May of 2016. Asher is best known for his agility. He is crawling, sitting, and standing at the young age of 6 months. Look out, mom and dad!

    Luna Southard made her grand entrance into this world in August and has provided a whirlwind of fun for her proud parents, Maria and James Southward, as well as her young brother, James Arthur. Luna’s expertise is food consumption and wanting to be involved in everything that is going on around her. Her make-it-happen mother, Maria, has worked for FSW Testing for nine years. Our testing team is so happy for both families.

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    We have another achiever in the family--
    Kyle Webb!

    Kyle, Marc Webb's son, achieved his Eagle Scout Award on November 1, 2017 at the age of 16. He is an IB student at G-Star School of the Arts in Palm Springs, FL. (Marc is District Director for Testing, Broward College.)


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    FACTA Shirts Are Now Available

    Wearing an Official FACTA shirt is a great way to identify test center employees as well as instill pride in our profession. Both the DriWick, 100% polyester performance polo and cotton/polyester blend polo shirts are available with the FACTA logo imprint. See the FACTA website for ordering information.


    FACTA Leadership

    2018 FACTA Council

    Officers
    Erica Reese, President –Valencia College, Region III (2017-2018)
    Mark Ross, President Elect, College of Central Florida, Region III (2018)
    Leonor O'Relly, Secretary, University of South Florida, Region IV (2018-2019)

    Rebecca Piety, Treasurer – University of Central Florida, Region III (2018-2019)
    Denise Swafford, Registrar – Pensacola State College, Region IV (2018-2019)
    Judy Jones-Liptrot, Parliamentarian - Florida State College at Jacksonville, Region II (2018-2019)

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    Council Representatives

    Kathryn Quillen, Pensacola State College, Region I (2017-2018)
    James Smith, Gulf Coast State College, Region I (2017-2018)
    Winnie Cooke, University of Florida, Region II (2018-2019)
    Todd Dixon, St. Johns River State College, Region II (2018-2019)
    John Hartzog, Florida Gateway College, Region II (2017-2018)
    Iona Bowers, Lake Sumter State College, Region III (2018-2019)
    Esperanza Pardo,
    Seminole State College, Region III (2017-2018)
    Carolyn Thompson, Seminole State College, Region III (2018-2019)

    Gay Withers, Eastern Florida State College, Region III (2017-2018)
    Leola Brown, Florida Gulf Coast University, Region IV (2018-2019)
    Rick Casey, Pasco-Hernando Community College, Region IV (2018-2019)
    Audra Liswith, St. Petersburg College, Region IV (2017-2018)
    Steven Daniello, Indian River State College, Region V (2017-2018)
    Dewett Dickson, Palm Beach State College, Region V (2018-2019)
    Tatiana Pullen, St. Thomas University, Region V (2018-2019)
    Silvio Rodriguez, Miami Dade College, Region V (2018-2019)
    Yasmin Teja, Broward College, Region V (2017-2018)
    Marc Webb, Broward College, Region V (2017-2018)

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    Thank You, 2017 Business Members, for Your Support!

    Titanium $2,000 - $2,499
      College Board: CLEP and ACCUPLACER
    Platinum $1,500 - $1,999
      Data Recognition Corporation | CTB
      RegisterBlast
    Diamond $1,000 - $1,499
      Florida RV Trade Association
      Gainesville Independent Testing Service (GITS), LLC
    Gold $750 - $999
      McCann Associates
      SmarterServices, LLC
    Bronze $500
      Certiport, Inc. A Pearson Business
      PROV, Inc.
      SpeedyPrep
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    2018 NCTA Conference
    September 5-7, 2018
    Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Set Your Students Up for Success
    Learn How to Use ACT Assessments and Data with College and Career Readiness Workshops
    Sign up to receive email notifications when 2018 workshops and webinars are available.
Spotlight on the News
Message from Our
President
by Erica Reese, Valencia College

Greetings FACTA Members,

Happy New Year!

As we embark on a new year of testing fun, I can’t help but thank all those who have jumped on board to continue the work of FACTA over this past year. We had a successful FACTA Conference, Regional Meetings, and Fall Council Meeting. We were faced, yet again, with challenges: Hurricane Irma impacted our daily work for months, and Hurricane Maria devastated many, leaving them with no choice but to leave their home and find a new way of life in our state. Our Florida institutions quickly opened their doors to assist these families in a myriad of ways. A huge kudos to our testing professionals who rose to the occasion to adjust their operations and proceed into this new year!

Through my first year as your FACTA President, I am proud to say that we are certainly steering in the right direction! Our organization has had phenomenal leadership paving the way, so that new leadership may continue their work. Your Executive Council is currently working to organize and maintain all necessary documentation for the growth and sustainability of FACTA. Our FACTA Committee Chairs are updating their membership and re-evaluating their goals and work for the coming year. Our website content is continuing to improve, our TAP-C committee is entering a new phase of development, and our business partners are continuing to support our work with sponsorship. Talk about an engaged and hardworking organization!

In addition to this continual work, our members participated in a D.R.I.V.E. activity during the Fall Council Meeting. The activity helped to evaluate our organization's goals, limitations, resources, values, and outcomes. We had a great response from our members that confirmed the need for FACTA in the state of Florida. If you are interested in reading the responses, click here. My goal in the coming year is to refine FACTA’s organizational roles and responsibilities and to help better engage and communicate the work of FACTA to our membership. Through this process, I hope to identify key themes within our work and ensure we align ourselves with the desired outcomes of our membership. I am excited about our new year, and I look forward to seeing everyone at our Annual FACTA Conference: For the Love of Testing!  

Erica Reese
FACTA President 2017-2018

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FACTA's 9th Annual Conference - Register Now!
by Dr. Judy Jones-Liptrot, Florida State College at Jacksonville

FACTA’s 9th Annual Conference will be held at Valencia College's West Campus, Orlando, February 14 -16, 2018. To ensure that you are ready, beat the deadline to pay your registration fee of $50.00 by January 22. After January 22, the fee goes up to $75.00. Registration payment can be made through the FACTA website and must be received before February 13, 2018. THERE IS NO REGISTRATION FEE REQUIRED FOR BUSINESS MEMBERS.

The conference hotel is The DoubleTree by Hilton, located at the entrance to Universal Orlando. Use FACTA's Group Code "FCT" to obtain the group rates of $139 per night (single or double room) online or call 407-351-1000. Self-parking is also available to our group at a reduced price: $8 per night. Group rates are available 3 days prior and after conference dates. Our discounted group rate is not guaranteed after January 20, 2018 so reservations should be made now.

Additional conference and hotel information can be found on the FACTA website.

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2017 Fall Council Meeting Recap
by Gay Withers, Eastern Florida State College

Hosted by Broward College - North Campus, the Fall Council Meeting was held Oct 12th and 13th in Coconut Creek. Fifty-eight members registered, including four business members. Esmeralda Sweeney, Associate VP of Student Achievement Initiatives, delivered an inspirational message on Broward College’s vision of their new structure which centralizes college-wide testing under their newly hired Director, Marc Webb. Using a defined pathway model, they are expecting an increase in completion rates and added value to their institution as a result of elevating the role of the Testing Department.

Many business matters were addressed during the meeting; however, President Erica Reese’s enthusiasm for membership engagement was a dominate theme. While continuing to address FACTA business matters, the “Fall Council Meeting” will be rebranded as “FACTA’s Fall Meeting” to better encourage the membership at large to attend.

Presentations included successful application of various vendor products, such as Register Blast accommodating ADA security and compliance issues and the use of the Adaptera platform to streamline the grading process of written English assignments. Other members shared how assessment efforts can greatly increase institutional revenue with industry certification efforts as well as acceleration to graduation using CLEP and PLA initiatives. Christine Kirk of Data Recognition Corporation-CTB provided detail on TABE 11/12, and some problems encountered by institutions who have already migrated to the new Insight platform were shared. Christine promised to take our issues back to her technical department.

The FLDOE Conference call, hosted by Alexander Jordan, included updates relevant to FACTA. ACCUPLACER Next Generation, particularly the writing score, is a concern since there is no equivalent score to the earlier version.

Council members were challenged to examine their personal commitment level to FACTA as well as our current committee structure. Core issues are what adds value and sustainability to our organization. The membership can expect some changes to our current committee structure as mission and goals may be redirected in 2018.

The "FACTA Council Dream" active engagement session produced some interesting results:
D

Do

What must we do to achieve FACTA's mission & goals?
R

Restrictions

What do we AVOID doing?
I

Investment

What resources can be invested?
V

Values

What values must we live by as an organization?
E

Essential Outcomes

What are the essential outcomes of our goals?
-Have a voice in state policies and procedures
-Invest in leadership development: peers and students
-Increase communication; consider app and social networking
-Encourage support for FACTA from our peers
-Collaborate-share best practices
-Active engagement-consider lobbyist approach

For a complete list of member responses, click here.

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On the State Level - Good News!!!
by Jane Silveria, FLDOE State Supervisor
Special Populations, Non-Traditional and Assessment

TABE 11 & 12 have been approved by the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS) and will be released by Data Recognition Corporation in January.  Adult and career education rules are in the process of being updated and approved by the state board.  Once approval is granted, Florida will be able to use the new version of the TABE.  Jane Silveria will be providing us with an update at the FACTA Conference in February. 

Trainings will begin in early February.  The first training is schedule at IRSC on Feb. 16.  Please contact Jane (Jane.Silveria@fldoe.org) if you wish to host a training in your area.
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On the National Scene
by Duane Goupell, NCTA President, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh


Hello to all our FACTA Friends and Colleagues,

As the semester has come to its conclusion, we can finally step back, take a deep breath, and say to one another “It is good to have the semester over with.  I am looking forward to a little slower, less hectic pace to each work day.  Yet, it does not seem to take long and we are almost where we were just a few weeks ago.  This leaves us wondering, “How come the break seems so short.  I could have used a little more time slowing down and recuperating.”  Yet, we go on because that is what we do.

The NCTA annual conference this year, held in Cincinnati, Ohio, was a wonderful success.  The changes made to the conference format were appreciated by both members and sponsors alike.  The second day for talking to sponsors made it slower paced and people had a chance to actually talk to our sponsors instead of just rushing by, saying hi, and grabbing what was on their table.  The Governing Council will continue to monitor the new format to make sure it meets our needs better.  However, the hurricanes Harvey and Irma did impact members ability to attend the conference.  To all those impacted by the hurricanes, we continue to keep you in our thoughts and hope that your recovery has gone well.   

As we begin a new year, I encourage you to look at strategies to help reduce stress in your work.  We are all under great pressure to provide services at the highest level, often times on very short notice.  It is important that we recognize what we are able to do and what we can’t do.  It is important that we take care of ourselves so we are able to perform at our best.  For me, I try to do physical exercise to get the stress out and then to try to leave the job at work when I go home in the evening.  This allows me to relax and get ready for the next day.  Find out what works for you and make it happen.  Try to be the best version of yourself that you can be.    

During the coming months I ask that you look at your situation and see if becoming an NCTA volunteer is a possibility.  There are many different types of opportunities available; see what may interest you.  Regardless how much time you may be able to offer, NCTA will be very happy to receive any help you can offer.  Later in the spring there will be an election to choose three new members for the Governing Board.  Is that something that you would be willing to do?  Watch the list serve for the announcements later in the spring.  NCTA is a wonderful organization due to the many wonderful individuals that offer what time they can to benefit all the members.  Thank you to all our volunteers, you are greatly appreciated.

Wishing everyone the best for 2018.

Duane Goupell
NCTA President 2016-2018

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FACTA Representation at NCTA Conference

Despite the bad timing of the 2017 NCTA National Conference for Floridians (the conference overlapped with Hurricane Irma), the conference received rave reviews and our Florida colleagues who were able to attend received very positive feedback on their presentations. Much interest was generated on TAP-C, the testing and assessment personnel certification examination currently being developed by members of FACTA with the assistance of McCann Associates.

We all are most appreciative of the full refund of conference costs from NCTA to Florida members who were unable to attend the conference because of Hurricane Irma.

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NCTA Drafts Letter to Congress Regarding Test Security in Online Courses
Posted 12/04/2017 on NCTA Website

The Governing Council, along with several NCTA members, has completed the work of drafting a petition to the United States Congress’ Committee on Education and the Workforce as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to alter the current wording of the Higher Education Act (HEA) specifically as it pertains to test security in online courses. We have asked that the committees revise the requirements for test taker identification in online courses. Currently, the law allows for a username and password to be one of the allowable methods institutions can use to verify the identity of a test taker. As all of you are aware, usernames and passwords can be easily shared and are not a guarantee of test taker identity. The NCTA is part of a larger group of organizations within the testing industry, including the Association of Test Publishers and several testing companies, which are committed to improving alignment with industry-developed best practices and improving the security of assessment within online courses. The NCTA remains a committed advocate for the testing industry and will continue to keep the membership apprised as the situation evolves.

Actual Letter >>

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New Functionalities Added to the ACCUPLACER Platform

from ACCUGRAM, December 13, 2017

What's New:
During standard system maintenance on Sunday, December 17, the ACCUPLACER® platform gained a number of new enhancements and minor changes such as:

Updates to the Test Center Management Dashboard

  • Date range updates to Manage Test Sessions
  • Additional options when setting Retest Rules
  • An option to Create Local Tests that includes a calculator

Details on all of the enhancements can be found in the Phase 14 Release—Platform Highlights document (.pdf/.373KB).

WritePlacer Policy Reminder

WritePlacer® and WritePlacer ESL should be administered and completed in one test session. To maintain test security and ensure the validity of these tests, the Save and Finish Later functionality [is no longer available]. Students [are no longer able] to start a WritePlacer prompt and return to it at a later date. In the event of a short-term disruption during the administration of a WritePlacer test (such as a fire drill), the ACCUPLACER platform will automatically save the work of the student. Upon returning to the test, the proctor will have the capability to load and reopen the student's essay. A limited amount of text may be lost. Depending on the amount of time that has passed as a result of the disruption, the proctor should use their discretion as to whether a student should continue with the original prompt or if a new prompt should be administered.

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Meet Your Florida RV Certification Representative
by Winnie Cooke, UF, and Stephen Nickell, FSCJ-Kent Campus


Jim Carr, Training Director
for the Florida RV Trade Association
Jim Carr is no stranger to public education. He is a career educator with over 34 years in public and private education. A University of South Florida graduate with a BA in Marketing (1973), an MA in Marketing Education (1974), and an MA in Education Administration with certification in Career and Technical Education (1975), Jim began his career as a high school teacher in Riverview, Florida (1974). He soon became involved in adult education as an administrator at Tampa Bay Technical Center (1978). In 1990 he was appointed Director of Post-Secondary Technical Centers for Hillsborough County; Erwin, Leary, and Brewster Technical Centers, now designated Technical Colleges.

Jim was soon elected President of the Florida Association of Technical Center Administrators, which made Jim responsible for coordinating legislation with the Florida Department of Education and legislators. As a result of Jim’s work in Tallahassee, he was invited by Lake City Community College to become their Legislative Assistant. Ironically, at that time, Jim was engaged to a fellow educator (Marsan Boyd – Asst. Supt. Union County Schools) and they were trying to decide where to live: Tampa or Union County. In a very decisive move in one week in late 1998, Jim retired, remarried, relocated to Union County and began his affiliation with Lake City Community College (now Florida Gateway College).

And along came the Florida RV Trade Association. In January of 2000, Jim signed a one-year contract with the RV Trade Association to manage their training and the partnership with FGC, which is still in effect today. The web-based, instructor led, dealership delivered and mentor managed RV Technician Training Program that began in 2000 with 14 Florida dealers is now a national program with over 230 dealers on the RV Distance Learning Network reaching over 2000 technicians. It is one of the longest and most successful of such programs in existence.

Jim explained, “The FRVTA partnership with FACTA now adds a second dimension to our Certification Testing program heretofore only available through a web-based proctor program offered in the dealerships. We now provide the RV Certification Examinations in the test centers of Florida State Colleges which are conveniently located, professionally proctored and a positive environment for testing.”

“Thank you all for your assistance and we look forward to a long and rewarding partnership.”

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Important Dates
  • College Board
    Southern Regional Forum 2018

    February 7-9, 2018
    Orlando, FL

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  • 9th Annual FACTA Conference
    February 14-16, 2018
    Valencia College, West Campus
    Orlando, Florida

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  • FACTA Spring Regional Meetings
    May 17, 2018
    Regional Locations TBA
    Florida

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  • College Board Accuplacer
    National Conference
    2018

    June 27-28, 2018
    Miami, FL

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  • 2018 NCTA Conference
    September 5-7, 2018
    Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
    Scottsdale, Arizona

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  • 2017 FACTA Council Meeting Pictures

    Official
    Mailing Address:

    Rebecca Piety, Treasurer
    Florida Association of College Test Administrators
    C/O University of Central Florida
    Student Academic Resource Center
    P.O. Box 163115
    Orlando, FL 32816-3115

    email