Lupita Medina, Coordinator; Jennifer Pilarczyk, Testing Specialist; and Dan Gorman, Director
The trio that makes Testing Services operate so smoothly works collaboratively to create services that fit individual student needs – a skill that has come in handy throughout the pandemic. As a result of their exemplary efforts, the Testing Services staff has been awarded the 2022 Dave Sarther Teamwork Award.
Dan Gorman, Lupita Medina and Jennifer Pilarczyk work so well together because of their personalities. “Testing people always have the same personality profiles. They are quiet, introverted, tend to be pretty bright, are cooperative and supportive. They are really good working as a team,” Gorman said.
Those skills were put to good use when this team was challenged to offer testing in a remote learning environment. Together, they created a remote testing program to permit newly admitted students to take their required placement exams without coming to campus, ultimately helping the college meet enrollment goals.
Each team member contributed to the process, with their roles evolving according to their specializations. Gorman and Medina researched the technology and various vendors, choosing Webex because it did not create an additional fee for students. Medina also coordinated remote testing in Room G111, which was set up as a remote testing lab where up to 10 proctors could spread out at one time. Pilarczyk was tech support for proctors during testing.
The team also had to consider student privacy as well as meet the security needs of each assessment. To do so, Webex meetings were formatted in a 1:1 meeting style, where each student met live with a proctor who could answer questions and tailor the session to their specific needs and capabilities. Medina was tasked with creating a modular training program to onboard temporary remote proctors in one week.
One unique activity was a daily debrief with all remote proctors to go over that day’s remote exam sessions, detail issues encountered and brainstorm solutions. These “wrap-up” sessions generated numerous innovations and workarounds, which enabled the team to greatly improve the student experience, scale remote testing capacity to help meet peak placement testing demand for registration and give each team member regular opportunities to contribute to the success of the overall effort.
“Through teamwork and cooperation, remote proctors learned a new skill together and displayed a consistently excellent level of understanding of how and when to jump in to support a colleague or the team as a whole. Proctors remained in exceptionally good spirits even when moments of stress occurred. Meeting these challenges together has made the Testing Services team stronger and given them full confidence they will continue to be successful, whatever challenges the future may bring,” said their nominator.
The team troubleshooted challenges as they occurred. They collaborated with Information Technology to develop a custom application within MVConnect to request remote exam sessions. An online remote appointment scheduling tool later was integrated into the application that streamlined the setup process for students. Google Meet also was identified as a viable alternative to Webex for students who did not have Webex-compatible devices. The team also continued to innovate their data-collection methods by developing a tracking tool that could be shared and edited in real time by all remote proctors and team members. This tool has been used to guide decisions for further technical and
process improvements, and data is being used for a FY2022 PIE project.
The fruits of their labor continue to impact processes in Testing Services. “Remote testing has given us additional flexibility even to this day. International students who are not here yet because of a delayed VISA or changed flight or are taking classes remotely can test at their home. Also, students who have a medical issue and cannot come to campus can test remotely with a doctor’s documentation,” Gorman said.
“The Testing Services team is a clear exemplar of the Dave Sarther Teamwork Award in that they have produced measurable results that have supported both their department and the college. Without their quick thinking to shift to a remote format, as well as consistent collaboration and innovation, many students would not have been able to register for needed classes. Additionally, Testing Services has continued to transform processes and procedures to best meet students’ needs as well as provide ongoing support for colleagues working within the program,” said their nominator.
Gorman was amazed and gratified when he learned the team won. “We worked really, really hard, as I know people did all over the college. It’s not every day you get to work on something like this, and the team worked so hard for one and a half years to make this thing work, so I am really happy for the entire team to get this type of recognition,” he said.