STC works out kinks

Nine weeks into the semester, it appears Amarillo College’s latest endeavor, the Science Testing Center, finally has worked out all the kinks.

Students who have managed to avoid Warren Hall and all things science may be unaware of what the Science Testing Center is and how dysfunctional it was when it opened.

The center began welcoming students at the beginning of this semester. The idea behind the testing center is that it will provide a controlled, silent environment for students to take science tests. It’s thought to minimize cheating and maximize class time.

In order to take an exam, students originally were required to fill out a small test slip, produce their school ID and present a test ticket that was earned by either passing the previous test or attending 30 minutes of mandatory tutoring in the Science Enrichment Center.

Several of my classmates were appalled by the notion. The biggest complaint included having to schedule tutoring appointments and making time outside of class to take the tests. It’s hard enough to find a job that works with a tight class schedule, let alone find a boss who will schedule your shifts around testing times.

The first time I took a test in the Science Testing Center was rough. I felt like I was running around in circles as I had to check in at the Science Enrichment Center and gather all my paperwork from several sources just to take my exam.

Five minutes into the exam, someone’s phone went off in their bag sitting by the front wall. The center’s rules state that if a student’s phone makes any noise or is out in the open during a test, that student will receive a failing grade for the course they are taking the test in. The staff simply ignored the phone and continued checking people in.

Last week I visited the Science Testing Center for the fourth time to take an exam. Several modifications have been made to the center, making the experience easier and more comfortable for a student.

I was able to check in at the Science Testing Center, and I didn’t have to worry about printing off a test ticket or getting a test slip from the Science Enrichment Center. The testing staff made sure I had a Scantron and offered to sell me one if I had forgotten. The environment was more professional, and absolutely no tolerance was given toward the phone that began playing country music.

Overall, I have begun to like the idea of a testing center. While it still can be tricky finding time outside class to take an exam, I enjoy the extra class time to study, and the environment of the Science Testing Center appears more quiet and serious than taking a test in class.

I am not sure such a system would produce great results in fields of study other than math or science, but I view the Science Testing Center as AC’s latest great accomplishment.

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