The Measurement and Research Center will administer assessment tests.
A new assessment test will be administered to freshmen and seniors every four years to measure how much students are learning and to what degree they may improve over the course of their college career.
The Measurement and Research Center has decided to participate in the Proficiency Profile test as part of its commitment to the Voluntary System of Accountability. VSA is an initiative that works to compile comparable data about universities on its College Portrait Web report.
Senior Director of Measurement and Research Center Jim Degnan said performing assessment is needed for faculty, departments and upper administration to ensure teaching methods are meeting standards.
“[Assessment] helps us measure the quality of our programs,” Degnan said. “The concept is to really think about student learning and the outcomes.”
Educational Testing Services, the developers of the SAT and GRE tests, created the Proficiency Profile test, which will assess students in four core skill areas consisting of critical thinking, reading, writing and math. The test will be conducted online and it will include 36 multiple-choice questions to be answered within a 40-minute time period.
“The better that Temple performs on this [test], the more valuable all of our Temple degrees are,” said Dana Kerr, test coordinator of the center. “If Temple gets some recognition as a school that has a solid curriculum and that their students are really learning a lot over four years, it just gets the name out to employers and grad schools – it’s just better for everyone in the long run.”
Beginning on Sept. 21, MARC will hold a three-week testing period during which 200 freshman volunteers will be scheduled to take the test.
This spring, the same number of graduating seniors will be expected to take the test. Compensation for the freshmen taking the test this year will be $20.14 in Diamond Dollars.
“I think the test could be helpful,” said Ruth Kiehlmeier, a junior interdisciplinary major in Middle East studies. “I think people could use the [data]. There should be more tests like it if they really want evidence to go on.”
Freshmen will be informed about the opportunity to take the test via e-mail and other announcements.
MARC will admit students to participate in the test on a first-come, first-serve basis. Degnan said the center will attempt to select a certain amount of students by their major to achieve a broad representation of the class.
Ally Keeports, an undeclared freshman, said she would take the test if selected.
“I think it would be interesting to see what happens after four years,” Keeports said.
The performance results from more than 400 institutions nationally will be available to compare on the College Portraits website, according to the ETS website.
However, Director of MARC Sally Frazee said she does not think the Proficiency Profile is an alternative to any college rankings released by research groups.
Frazee said one of the goals of the testing is to provide “comparable” information that will be displayed online for prospective students and their parents.
“This test is just one opportunity to look at how our students are doing,” said Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Assessment Jodi Laufgraben. “We look at student learning in different ways, so we should assess them in different ways.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.