Provost recommends decentralized testing centers

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Provost R. Nowell Donovan told the Faculty Senate he prefers testing centers in each of the colleges, rather than a campus-wide testing center.

The Faculty Senate has been discussing for several years the merits of a testing center for students who can’t take tests during designated periods or who have met the requirements for additional time.

“The bigger it gets, the harder it is to accommodate,” Donovan said. “The deans tell me that they think [the decentralized centers] are working pretty well.”

TCU has five testing centers. All of the colleges have set aside classrooms for instructors and students for testing. The tests are usually proctored by graduate students.

A centralized testing center might not meet the needs of the students. For instance, Faculty Senate Chair Jesus Castro-Balbi, who is a cello professor, said his exams might require a piano.

“That, of course, is not a requirement for biology or the business school,” Castro-Balbi said. “Since we already have existing centers, it makes sense to complete the picture.”

But others argue that if colleges combine their efforts it would cost less.  “It would be much easier to staff one [center] at the university level that a student with disabilities could use instead of building eight,” said Dr. Eric Yorskton, who’s in the Neeley School of Business.

College of Science and Engineering professor Rhiannon Mayne said her students have had bad experiences in the testing center.  “They say people are getting up and down the whole time, it’s no quiet space… We’ve had students say ‘Well I don’t want to go to the testing center.’”

Donovan the decentralized testing allows students to have questions answered as quickly as possible and if the testing center is in the same building as the professor this would be a lot easier for them both.

“I don’t think I’ve ever given an exam where a student hasn’t had a question,” Donovan said.

Below is a graphic showing the testing centers across campus:

Donovan said he is also concerned about the cost, space requirements and staffing of a centralized testing center. He said that the Addran College of Liberal Arts alone cost about $400 in staff wages and it would be much more for a bigger center.  

“Addran doesn’t run all day long and a centralized center would have to run all day long,” he said. “We’re putting items into the budget to help with [decentralized centers].”  

For more information on the Faculty Senate, visit http://www.fsn.tcu.edu/.