From The Yield, Fall 2014
Giving the SSAT successfully means more than just opening the door and watching the clock. What are the top test administrators doing to get it right?
- They benefit the independent school community: Sometimes, demand can exceed the supply of current test seats, especially during high admission season (November through January). Proactive administrators keep an eye on their registration numbers, letting the The Enrollment Management Association team know if they are willing to add more seats or expand their special accommodations capacities.
- They provide special accommodations: Contrary to what some administrators believe, it’s not difficult to offer accommodations — the most common being extra time — and proctors are paid more. Special accommodation sites also help to lessen the stress and anxiety for these special families by making the test more accessible.
- They organize and plan their testing days: Test mornings can be hectic, especially for large and busy test centers. Effective administrators ensure that there are enough seats, proctors are trained and their cell phone numbers are on hand, bathrooms are available, and other staff are aware that testing is taking place, so the school band isn’t practicing in the next room.
- They ensure the test is safe in their hands: If the test is compromised, so are everyone’s scores. Vigilant administrators make sure that test materials are always under lock and key and are only handled by administrators and proctors — and opened only by students. They count all materials when they’re received from (and sent back to) The Enrollment Management Association to ensure that all tests are accounted for.
- They make sure testers can find them: This is an obvious but sometimes overlooked detail. Signage from the entrance of campus to the testing locations should be clear, abundant, and easy to see. If the site is tricky to find, make sure to provide special instructions via the Member Access Portal (MAP) – the instructions will be printed on admission tickets.
- They stay alert during testing: Giving standardized tests can be boring, and the temptation is great to zone out on one’s phone, tablet, or with a book. The most successful test centers make sure that every proctor stays alert to signs of cheating before and during the test. These alert proctors have found video pens and eyeglasses, books stashed in toilet tanks, and watches that served as calculators.
- They call SSAT when they have a question: Can’t find a registrant on the roster? Is someone claiming special accommodations but doesn’t have an approval form? If a question arises on the day of testing, and its answer can’t be located in the Test Administration Guide, call center representatives will be standing by to help from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm EST.
- They give plenty of notice if they need to close: Nature can be unpredictable, and sometimes test centers are forced to close due to unforeseen circumstances like a water main break. In these situations, it is imperative that The Enrollment Management Association is notified as soon as possible, so that registered testers can be notified and the test can be rescheduled.
- They complete their post-test forms and return shipments right away: The Enrollment Management Association can’t score tests until it receives them, and you and your test administrators want to be paid in a timely fashion. Filling out the online post-test processing forms on your MAP and returning tests right away are essential.