By Buck Mayden
The Amarillo College science department is starting its own testing lab this semester. Students in several science classes can take their tests anytime the lab is open.
A redesign team, made up of several faculty members from the science department, conducted a survey last year asking students what they wanted. The main thing the students said they wanted was more time with the teachers.
“I was never asked that,” said Sciences Enrichment Center supervisor Dalilia Paredes. “This is us responding.”
Paredes said the personal flavor and focus on teaching is what draws quality educators to AC. The result of having tests taken outside of class is an average of six extra hours in class for student/teacher time.
“We wanted to free up time in the classrooms,” Paredes said. “That was the main goal.”
The Sciences Enrichment Center is located next door to the science testing lab. The SEC is available to any students who want one-on-one tutoring.
Some teachers in the science department require mandatory tutoring for any student who makes below a 70 on a test.
“There is a need for foundational requirements for transition to a university where you might not get that personal attention,” Paredes said.
The science testing lab allows the students to take the test at any point in the given time frame allowed by the teacher.
Paredes said it gives the students a perfect opportunity to study at the SEC with tutors and all the equipment offered in the classes right before a student goes next door to take the test.
“I take pride in setting my students up for success,” Paredes said.
The formula for success is nothing new to AC. The math department has had a testing lab for more than a decade. The Math Outreach Center, located across the hall, has been available to students even longer. The testing lab originally was created for developmental level classes but now includes transfer and online classes.
“It’s always busy,” Math Testing Lab supervisor Christina Gonzales said. “It’s either busy or more busy.”
The original Testing Center, located in the Student Service Center, also is going through some changes. The Accuplacer, a basic placement test taken by every student who registers at AC, has been changed in compliance with states standards and now is called the Texas Success Initiative. The General Educational Development test, as of December, now is entirely electronic. The most recent change was the College Level Examination Program exams becioming completely electronic Feb. 3.
“We are here to support students and faculty,” Testing Center Director Amber Brookshire said. “But we are also a resource for the community.”
The Testing Center offers proctor exams for other institutions and universities around the United States as well as for local industries.