Tag Archives: proctors

Do you know that feeling when something you’ve anticipated or even dreaded for a long time finally occurs? Now that the new SAT looms just a few days away, many teens are experiencing that exhilarating mix of expectation and anxiety. But smart students prepare for tests, and we’ve had the privilege of seeing some really bright and motivated high schoolers integrate information about the new test into their existing understanding of the ACT and former SAT. In fact, I fully expect some of our students, for better or worse, to know more than the test proctors. Standardized tests offer valuable data to admissions and licensing authorities because of the rigid consistency with which each exam is meticulously designed and administered. Yet for all the psychometric precision applied to test development, much less standardization occurs at the point where many important tests meet the testing public. For example, most SAT and…

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One of the central tenets of standardized testing is that every test taker takes a test the same way. Any aspect of exam administration from timing to breaks to even the instructions a proctor shares before starting the clock should be predetermined and implemented at all testing locations. This level of attention to detail permits fair comparison of scores from tests administered across a multitude of test sites and dates. In essence, everything possible about a standardized test must be standardized. So what happens when a proctor deviates from the script? One of my colleagues, whose state and district shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, shared the following legitimate complaints: I am LIVID. I just found out from my own daughter that the proctors at three ACT test sites/schools she has used in the last year have… not given a break because they poll the kids, who just want…

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If the path to your best test scores involves a chain of critical events from lessons to practice tests to the real thing, then proctors may well be the weakest link in that chain. Exams like the SAT and ACT practically define the word “standardized” in nearly every dimension. Yet, the actual administration of these influential instruments is handed over to lightly trained, lightly managed part-timers. Far too many test day nightmares can be attributed to the particular nincompoop in charge of the proceedings. Some proctors don’t know how to get a test started. Others lack understanding of the admission policies. Still others bungle timing, mismanage crises, or just distract test takers: I’ll never forget hearing a student describe how her proctor worked on elaborate floral arrangements during the test! You can and should protect yourself from proctor problems by studying your rights as a test taker until know more…

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Sir Topham Hatt, the magisterial Fat Controller in the Thomas & Friends series, is notorious for his commitment to making the trains run on time. Nothing chafes him more that the twin terrors of confusion and delay. Nothing should irk you more either on test day, especially when the confusion and delay come from clueless proctors. Such was the sorry situation during the April 2016 administration of the ACT in a school district that shall remain nameless. One of our students was on the waitlist, so she arrived at the exam over an hour early. The proctors placed her on a line with other students who were skipping the ACT Writing Test, but allowed students taking Writing to enter. She remained on that line for more than two hours. Consequently, she and other students began their exam somewhere between one and two hours late. No timing strategies can compensate for…

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Practice tests, as we’ve stressed time and time again, are essential to test readiness. Of course, high quality practice tests require high quality test proctors. Proctoring might seem like an easy concept, but there are many moving pieces to ensure that each student takes a test under optimal test conditions. Here are a few things to remember when proctoring an ACT or SAT (official test proctors don’t receive much training apart from a manual to follow. They can benefit from these tips as well!): Arrive late. OR…arrive with time. Make sure there are enough seats and tests for students, as well as turn on the heat or AC in the room if needed. Fifteen minutes early usually suffices. Bonus: Bring extra pencils, calculators, and tissues for the room. Leave the room while the students are arriving. OR… make sure you are in the testing room to greet arrivals. As students…

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