Spotlight on the News
Message from Our President
By Dr. Judy A. Jones-Liptrot
Greetings FACTA and Business Members,
What an exciting year this has been, and it is almost over. I have truly enjoyed my journey with you and would like to thank so many people who have worked diligently to keep this organization moving in the right direction. The executive committee members along with the council members are to be commended for their hard work and dedication to this fine organization. In addition, our business members have been a tremendous support to FACTA, and I truly thank them for their generosity and commitment. I am sure that the new leadership will continue providing excellent services, striving to make this organization even better. We are very fortunate to have Theresa Scott, NCTA President’s Award Recipient, as our upcoming FACTA President for 2013. We look forward to Theresa’s presidential message regarding FACTA direction in 2013 as she prepares for the 4th Annual FACTA Conference on February 6-8, 2013, hosted by The College of Central Florida. Special thanks to Dr. Henri Benlolo!
As I close my year with the October FACTA Council meeting to be held at Polk State College in Winter Haven on October 11-12, 2012, words cannot express my deep appreciation to all FACTA members. Without you, there cannot be a FACTA organization. We need each of you lending a helping hand. Therefore, I do anticipate that many of you will attend the FACTA Council meeting at Polk State College because we have prepared an awesome agenda just for you. Special thanks go to Summer Hicks, Gerry Hubbs and Provost Sharon Miller for hosting the FACTA meeting at their institution and to President Eileen Holden for providing the lunch at the council meeting on Thursday.
In closing, we have a tremendous amount of information to share with all of you along with professional development opportunities. Therefore, if you have not registered for the council meeting, please ensure that you complete the council meeting registration form. There is a link for FACTA council members and business members. Registration was opened from June 11-August 31, 2012 without a late fee. However, registration after August 31, 2012 will have a $30.00 late fee. I look forward to seeing each of you at the council meeting.
The FACTA Membership registration link:
Business Members’ registration link https://facta.wufoo.com/forms/facta-council-business-member-registration-102012/
Dr. Judy Jones-Liptrot
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Assessment and Certification Manager
9911 Old Baymeadows Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Thanks for Agreeing to Serve!
Election Results for 2013
By Marc Webb, FACTA Immediate Past President
New Slate of Officers for 2013:
President - Theresa Scott, Florida Atlantic University
President Elect - Gay Withers, Brevard Community College
Judy Jones - Liptrot, Past-President - FSC at Jacksonville
Secretary - Summer Hicks, Polk State College
Treasurer - Richard Turner, FSC at Jacksonville
Registrar - Karen Parham, Gulf Coast State College
New Council Representatives for 2013:
Henri Benlolo, College of Central Florida
Michael Childs, Hillsborough Community College
Jane Crawford, St. John's River State College
Steven Daniello, Indian River State College
John Pierson, Palm Beach State College
Leonor O'Relley, University of South Florida
Travis Spaulding, Seminole Community College
Marc Webb, Miami Dade College
Jayne Young, Northwest Florida State College
By Steve Saladin, NCTA President
Florida Testing Professionals:
I write to you as the new president of the National College Testing Association (NCTA), the organization for testing professionals across the country and beyond. It is a privilege to be able to share a few thoughts with you about what I see as playing out on the national stage.
NCTA continues to be strong. We are growing in numbers and representation every day. As I check our rolls, I see that we currently have 1776 members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia and 5 countries other than the U.S. In all there are 691 institutions, 60 corporations, and 31 non-collegiate groups. Florida is the second largest state in terms of NCTA membership with 149 members. That represents a lot of voices in the field of testing.
In the past few years NCTA has focused on developing programs for our members. The Grants Program was developed to support activities that further the mission of NCTA and to date has funded 19 proposals (including two supporting FACTA conferences). The Test Center Certification Program has developed and implemented a process by which test centers following the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines can obtain national certification attesting to the professionalism of that center. Still in its first year of operation, there are 14 centers fully certified (2 from Florida) and more than twice that number in the works. The Webinar program has now provided 3 free training opportunities to over 300 NCTA members and is gradually building a library of training resources. The Consortium of College Testing Centers (CCTC) provides a means of matching up examinees needing a proctor with more than 300 testing sites willing to provide that service (23 in Florida)—a convenience for examinees and a revenue builder for testing centers. And, of course, the annual conference continues to provide professional development for over 300 members per year including approximately 100 first time attendees. While there has yet to be a conference in Florida, rest assured that there will be one in the foreseeable future.
Here is a brief glimpse of what to look for on the NCTA horizon. Additional support and organizational resources will be made available to state organizations such as FACTA. An increased effort at marketing with some innovative new products and opportunities will be made. The CCTC will continue to grow and see enhancements that make it even more valuable. Additional grant opportunities for our members and more frequent webinar opportunities will be forthcoming. Increasing visibility and participation in Test Center Certification will enhance the professional stature of our centers and members. You can expect a growing recognition of the expertise of testing professionals, and NCTA, the only national organization dedicated to test administration and the professionals involved, will have an expanding r ole to play in the industry.
This is an exciting time to be involved in testing and NCTA. What used to be the purview of a few major companies has blossomed into a full industry. We are seeing rapid growth in all areas of testing. With that growth we are seeing many changes, some positive and some not so positive. If you want to help shape the future of testing, there is no better way than to be involved in the organization whose mission includes advancing “collaborative efforts among testing professionals, testing companies, and other policy-making agencies.” If you are not already involved, I encourage you to volunteer today.
By Stephen Nickell, Florida State College at Jacksonville
At Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Kent Campus Assessment Center, we have integrated the digital experience. Students and staff use technology to reduce student wait times, enhance the students' experience, and provide for a more secure testing environment. These enhancements are made possible by online appointment scheduling, video advising, recorded employee training sessions, a single point monitoring system for all testing machines and the use of instant messenger. The use of technology has freed time for the staff to better serve our student population.
Online appointment scheduling has significantly reduced the call volume in our center. Previously, when phone calls were the standard for appointment scheduling, staff were inundated with phone calls. Messages from over the weekend numbered between 20 and 30. After Spring or Winter break, the volume would be well over 100, once even reaching over 200. Now, with the use of Appointment-Plus, an online appointment system, weekend messages have been reduced to fewer than 5, and messages from breaks have dipped below 20.
Video advising has all but eliminated wait times for students. Students used to have to wait for a group of students to arrive at the same time, only to be advised and enter the assessment room. Problems arose as students arrived fifteen minutes early, on-time, and late. Having to manage when to advise students became a challenge, and it created a redundant, mundane routine for the staff. Within this structure, staff repeated a three to five minute advising session, which resulted in missed information and distractions (as these advising sessions took place in the lobby area of the center). With video advising, students are assigned to a computer station in our reception area and given a headset to watch a 4-minute video which provides specific information on the assessment process they are about to begin. Also, a brief video about the PERT assessment is automatically sent to the student via email when the student schedules an appointment online.
Single point monitoring of all testing machines is made possible by our use of NetSupport School, which has a browser lock-down feature, a lock-out feature, screen capture, and a keystroke log. This provides for a secure testing environment while also freeing up testing personnel.
Online customer satisfaction surveying ensures that we are meeting the needs of our students and provides feedback when we fail to meet their expectations. A link to the survey is kept on the desktop of each testing computer and we ask the students to complete the short survey while we are printing out their scores. The results of the survey are forwarded to the staff weekly.
Recorded employee training sessions keep the staff abreast of the myriad changes in assessment. Typically, 4 to 6 employees, mostly full-time staff, attend the “live” training and are recorded. The session consists of Q & A, and afterward, the entire session is uploaded to a share drive, where those who missed the training session can access the video and watch at their convenience. To ensure that everyone has been made aware of any policy changes, staff use a spreadsheet, located on the share drive with the video sessions, to confirm that they have completed the training.
We have recently installed instant messenger at each station (7 stations) in our center. Since rules change frequently or some questions are beyond an individual’s expertise, finding information can sometimes be frantic and time consuming. To minimize the frustration and reduce wait times, we have connected the staff in such a way that questions may be delivered from one station to the next, without the student waiting for a staff member to search the office for an answer. When a student is on the phone, he or she is no longer placed on hold as was the case prior to instant messaging. The question is delivered and returned via IM, and the student is given a faster response to all inquiries.
Ultimately, moving away from our previous methods has resulted in a more efficient, more streamlined flow before the students arrive, as they are being received, and while the students are testing. Using some or all of these methods should enhance any assessment center.
Hear ye! Hear ye! A call for Exemplary Practices!
By Michael Childs, Hillsborough Community College
As a result of the success of the break-out sessions at last year’s Third Annual FACTA Conference, the Exemplary Practices Committee approved to not limit the number of presentations to just three. In an effort to foster participation and increase the number of breakout sessions, we encourage submissions that would be of interest to more conference attendees.
Do you recall the great presentations last February? Dr. Benlolo shared on how to generate income for your test center; Rich Turner and Jace Loehman demonstrated the Appointment Plus scheduling software and their own virtual training videos; and Sofia Villalobos and Dr. Vassiliou explained the importance of an annual review of placement criteria.
Perhaps this reminder will spark an idea you would like to present. Maybe you have technology that has helped operations. Or you may have policies and procedures that would benefit others. Please give some thought to what you can contribute. Your audience is waiting.
Deadline for submittals is January 7th. See the 2013 Exemplary Practices proposal guidelines under the resources tab on our FACTA website: www.FACTAtesting.org
Meet Your CTB/McGraw-Hill Representative
By Winnie Cooke, University of Florida
I would like to introduce Ms. Stephanie Seemann, our CTB/McGraw Hill assessment representative.
Stephanie was a teacher for 11 years. Four of those years were spent in Barcelona where she taught during the day, provided tutoring in the evenings, and on the weekends was a proctor for a variety of test publishers. With that schedule, I am unsure how she found time for a social life but she must have squeezed one in somewhere because she married a proud Spaniard. They eventually settled in Miami Beach.
Stephanie was always fascinated with assessment and as a teacher often thought assessment was very mysterious. She saw what No Child Left Behind was doing and knew that assessment was going to have a major role in education in the future. She was attracted to and joined CTB/McGraw-Hill because CTB has always had a strong reputation in assessment. Assessment continues to take center stage with the advent of the Common Core State Standards. Stephanie says this is an exciting time but also a challenging time.
Stephanie learned about FACTA through Silvio Rodriguez, a Miami Dade College FACTA member and a past FACTA president. Stephanie said she loves adult education and is thrilled to work with assessment folks that are passionate about adult learner success.
Stephanie has an 8 year old daughter, Alejandra, who attends Miami-Dade Public Schools. She is an ESSAC member at her daughter's school and gets as involved as she can helping her daughter achieve success without becoming a "helicopter mom." Stephanie's husband Alejandro has a wine store, Old Vines Wine & Spirits, in Miami. (Now we know why she brings good wine to FACTA events!) Stephanie has discovered the Everglades and spends her free time on weekends exploring, kayaking, or playing beach volleyball.
By Stephanie Seeman
CTB/McGraw-Hill continues to invest in the innovation, research, expertise, and service that have been the foundation of our growth and leadership for more than 85 years. To continue this tradition, I am pleased to introduce TABE Adaptive. It is out and folks across the US are using it; however, it is pending NRS approval and we are collecting data and providing it to the NRS. Once approved, I will help you with the transition from TABE Online to TABE Adaptive.
Using TABE Adaptive will help decrease your testing costs, reduce student fatigue, and encourage a more positive attitude toward testing among students. TABE Adaptive adjusts to a student’s individual ability and skill level by analyzing the student’s responses while the test is being conducted. TABE Adaptive can determine a student’s score with fewer questions.
As I look forward to supporting and sponsoring FACTA Conferences in 2012, I want to take this opportunity to underscore my commitment to you, who use our programs and products and who share our vision of helping teachers help students. Thank you.
A special note to new FACTA members: It has been very exciting to be a part of FACTA. I have found it to be extremely worthwhile and attending these meetings allows me to determine how to better meet your needs. I know you will get as much out of being a FACTA member as I have. So, whether your college or university is part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Career (PARCC), the fact is a major shift is coming to education. Skills that will be assessed and methods that you will use are changing significantly. Being a part of FACTA will keep you up to date and help with the transition. As your Florida CTB rep, I also look forward to helping you with the transition.
- Stephanie Seemann is an assessment representative for CTB/McGraw-Hill that serves Florida and International. She is a proud business member of FACTA. Thank you Stephanie and CTB/McGraw Hill for sponsoring this issue of the FACTA Examiner.