Friday, November 13, 2009

Objective Assessments

At WGU students "pass" classes by taking either performance assessments or objective assessments.  Passing these forms of assessment is usually all you need to pass a particular class.  However, there are some classes that have a combination of both, and others that have performance assessments and summative tasks.

For today's post I will be covering objective assessments.

An objective assessment is (so far as I've seen) a multiple choice online test in which you must score above a "cut score" to pass.  Information about cut scores and number of questions for each assessment can be found on your Academic Action Plan (AAP).

For courses with objective assessments there are pre-assessments tests that you can take to measure your readiness for the objective assessments.  You are allowed to take the pre-assessments up to three times.  You request the pre-assessments through your mentor from your AAP.

My experience has been that the pre-assessments really do prepare you for the objective assessment, so make sure you can score at least 10% above the cut score on a pre-assessments before scheduling your objective assessment.

The thing that I have found challenging is not actually taking the objective assessments but scheduling them.  You are required to schedule an objective assessment at least 14 days prior to the date you wish to take it.  Scheduling an objective assessment is done through your AAP.  During the scheduling process you are asked to pick up to three assessment sites from WGU's list of assessment sites, and then three possible dates and times.  The challenge is to find a site close to you and to pick three dates and times when you will be able to take the test. 

Did I mention the part about scheduling them at least 14 days in advance? :)  This is not always easy when you work full-time and have family.

WGU did announce that they are changing their assessment process on December 2nd.  Here is the email I received a few days ago:

Dear students,

This is an announcement to all WGU Students. Most of you will recall that last March WGU launched a new pre-assessment delivery system. This system was designed to provide a new, more up-to-date interface, as well as provide you with instantaneous results on your pre-assessments in a new coaching report format. Based on your feedback, we believe that this was a positive move, and one that has greatly improved your ability to prepare for the objective exams.

The pre-assessment release represented only the first piece to the university’s overall plan of improvement for the delivery of objective exams.

We are pleased to announce that on December 2, 2009, we will begin delivery of WGU Network exams in WebAssessor.

In our efforts to increase the ease and convenience of taking objective exams, the Assessment Department has developed a three-prong delivery model. It is our hope that regardless of where you reside or work or what your specific time constraints are, one of these delivery options will be convenient to you.
When scheduling an objective exam, you will have three primary choices:
  1. Prometric In-channel: In this system, students take their objective exams in a Prometric test center
  2. WGU Network: In this system, students take their objective exam in one of approximately 4,000 test centers WGU has established a relationship with.
  3. Online Proctoring: In this system, students take their objective exam through an online monitoring system via a webcam. This system is still being piloted and is not available yet for general use.
PLEASE NOTE: This transition will not affect your exam location. If you have used a specific testing center in the past, it will still be listed as an option when you refer for your objective exam

When you are ready to refer for an objective exam, your Assessment Scheduler will assist you and your mentor in determining which of the three options best suits your situation.

The December 2, 2009 shift to WebAssessor will only affect those objective exams taken in the WGU Network.

In order to ensure that all mentors and students are aware of the change, and are prepared for the change, we have posted information to the student hand-book knowledge base. Please take a few moments to review this information. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the new expectations for the delivery of objective exams.

There are a number of very important changes that will affect how you take your objective exam in the WGU Network:
  1. A new email format will be used to confirm your scheduled test event. These new emails will include specific information on the test, the date and time, and the location.
  2. A unique test event code will be included in the email. You must bring this code with you to the testing center. If you do not bring the code, you will not be able to take the exam.
  3. Objective exams must be taken at the date and time for which they are scheduled. If you are exceedingly late, your proctor will not be able to launch your exam. If this occurs, you and your proctor should contact Assessment Scheduling immediately to have the exam rescheduled.
WGU is committed to providing students with flexible and convenient opportunities to take their objective exams. The switch to WebAssessor will improve this process greatly, providing immediate results posting to the AAP, improving the overall look and feel of the delivery system, and reducing the number of technical issues that arise during an objective exam.

We are pleased to be able to offer these improvements to students, and we look forward to your success and feedback.

Thank you,
The Assessment Department
Western Governors University

So, plan ahead and take a close look at your AAP when you are planning to schedule your objective assessments!

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