As the Testing Services Manager, it’s not very often that I get to go out into the field, so I always jump at the chance when it arises.
I was recently asked by Craig Hennager from the local community college, DMACC, to proctor his class’s final exam sessions where the candidates take ABC exams. Craig has been offering a course through DMACC and partnering it with the certifying authorities here in Iowa for several years. WPI has been working with Craig to proctor these exams for several semesters.
Most of my job is the behind-the-scenes portion of testing: processing exam orders, assisting proctors with exam questions, providing proctor training, and much more. Proctor training sessions help new proctors understand the ins and outs of our web testing system, including logging candidates into their exams and answering questions from the candidates. I host multiple proctor trainings a year, but it’s not very often that I get to see the other side of things and put the proctor information into practice.
Proctors are an important part of the testing process. While a majority of their duties are getting candidates logged in to their exams and ensuring a successful testing experience, those aren’t their only tasks. In order to ensure that these high-stakes vocational exams are taken in a fair and impartial manner, proctors are required to be in the room throughout the testing session. This is to discourage any dishonesty during the exam and is a requirement for any standardized exam.
Proctoring exams may bring up images of quiet rooms and days full of looking at testers in silence, but it is one of my favorite parts of my job. Going out to test sites to proctor exams allows me to interact with the candidates whose names I see every week; it reminds me of the people involved. Seeing the joy or disappointment on the faces of the testing candidates helps me to remember the humanity of the job. The livelihoods of the candidates depend on their exam scores, but they are so much more than a number. As a testing manager, this is a great thing to remember; however, as a proctor, we must remain impartial.
The candidates in this particular program are amazing to work with and are great representatives of this field. Seeing the dedication and passion these folks have for their jobs and professional field is very reassuring. Operators truly are the most important part of this industry, and being able to meet them is always a great reminder of why we do this job.