What makes for an effective location for the administration of your exam(s)? Population shifts, mass transit, parking, fire codes, security, and more all play a major role. Understanding all of the impacts up front can prevent major issues on Test Day.
In addition, test takers have taken to the Internet to complain loudly about the quality of testing sites. And with exams that allow test takers to select their testing locations, the online complaints and site reviews often drive runs of on securing registration and “preferred” locations over even more conveniently located options—all driving logistical headaches for test administrators.
Key Considerations for Selecting Testing Sites
Access to Mass Transit
With the millenials, we are actually witnessing the first modern generation that’s not in love with the car. Many twentysomethings in large metropolitan areas are now forgoing the purchase of a car, relying solely on local mass transit. Placing test sites near major transit nodes is crucial.
Don’t Over-Rely on University Test Sites
For many test administrators, the university is the go-to location for testing sites. They provide a tailor-made testing setting and offer the large spaces often needed for standardized testing. And it makes perfect sense if your testing population is primarily college students. However for those exams with large professional testing populations, a university location can present a few challenges.
At uExamS, we’ve seen several issues surface at campus test locations. First and foremost, if school is in session, colleges are noisy. Test takers often complain about the distraction and noise of crowded college hallways. Secondly, over the last decade, universities have dramatically increased on-campus security, creating a daunting challenge for test takers without student identification. It adds significant time to the check-in and registration process for many exams and can be a source of frustration for test takers, as well as for test administration staff.
Watch Out for Inertia
Many exam administrators use the same testing sites year after year. They’re known quantities, already in your database, and a certain inertia sets in. But the world never sits still; and what may have been a fine test location in the past doesn’t ensure its ongoing utility. Populations shift and neighborhoods change: what may have been a nice neighborhood may now be a high-crime area. We’ve often seen issues where test administrators didn’t realize that their tried-and-true test location now sits next to a major construction site. In addition to the noise, construction zones often change traffic and pedestrian patterns, making it difficult and/or more time-consuming for test takers to reach the location. In short, don’t make assumptions solely based on past performance.
Review Your Test Site Location Footprint
At uExamS, we recommend that clients review their test site footprint at least every other year. It’s often a very revealing process where you can uncover gaps in your network, determine where your network hasn’t kept up with demographic shifts or changes to your test taking population, and identify potential problems such as major, long-term construction projects in advance. A review provides a great opportunity to pause and reflect on how your network of testing sites is performing and whether or not it still meets your long-term needs.