Preparing students and serving the community are cornerstones of the mission of Metropolitan Community College. By adding Saturday hours in the testing center at the Business & Technology campus, the college is accomplishing both.
Since late March, the center has been open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering testing and tutors by appointment.
“When people hear that we’re open Saturday, they definitely like it,” said Dixie Burns, the testing center coordinator at MCC-Business & Technology. “We felt like our population needed Saturdays, and this gives them a little more flexibility. “
In addition to testing and tutoring, students can take a placement test on Saturdays, as well as use the computer lab and library. The staff also can answer basic Student Services questions.
“Our goal is to make sure everybody is relaxed and comfortable, especially if they’re taking a test,” Burns said.
The testing center at MCC-Business & Technology offers an array of services, including tests for placement, distance education courses, high school equivalency and the College Level Education Program. Individuals also can take specific program or degree tests and tests for English as a Second Language.
Burns said a number of members of the community take Pearson VUE tests on campus, as well. Pearson VUE helps companies develop, manage, deliver and grow computer-based testing programs.
“If Cisco, for example, wants to develop a test to certify their instructors, Pearson controls the test, and the individual goes online and schedules an appointment,” Burns said. “Then, it’s our responsibility to proctor the test. All of our test administrators are required to pass fairly intensive exams to become certified to proctor for Pearson VUE.”
One of the more rewarding aspects of the job for the proctors is working with people who take the HISET (High School Equivalency Test). Burns said many of the individuals taking the HISET are the first person in their family to receive a high school degree.
“That’s my favorite thing about the job,” she said. “We’ve developed a system for every student that finishes the HISET. We talk to them to see if they’re interested in going to college. We know it’s a huge accomplishment to finish that test, and we want them to see that this isn’t the end – it’s the beginning.
“I ask them, ‘What do you plan to do now that you have your degree?’ Some of them say, ‘I’m going to call my mom.’ I ask them, ‘Well, after that, are you going to look into college?’ and for some of them they’ve never thought of it before. I really enjoy helping them see that more is possible.”
The staff in the center also proctor makeup tests and exams for students who need accommodations. The Accuplacer placement tests are for math, writing and reading.
Sarah Cole, the campus learning specialist, and Peggy Gann, Student Services specialist, are integral members of the testing center staff. Cole coordinates the tutoring on campus, while Gann is a test administer.