Testing center services suspended

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

The Testing Center will be suspended starting Monday because of the current budget crisis and a lack of staff able to continue running it.

Students who need accommodations will receive them through faculty now, as opposed to the Center.

Kathy Waggoner, director of student disability services, said they had an employee that was let go during the last layoff period and there has not been a full-time person to manage the Testing Center since.

Because of this the staff have had to do her job as well as their other responsibilities.

Waggoner said all they need is one person who can run it again.

As of March 11, the Office of Testing and Evaluation will lose two staff members who will be bumped to different positions.

The Office of Student Disability Services, which serves students with disabilities, with remain the same, Waggoner said.

Students can still get their accommodations based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

They will still provide documentation to the Office of Student Disability Services and they will meet with Waggoner, where they will talk about the accommodations they need.

Waggoner approves the accommodations, which can include extended test time, a separate testing environment, or a test reader.

Accommodations can also include a note-taker and captioning for students with hearing impairments.

The students used to talk about the accommodations they need with their instructor and take their test in the Testing Center.

Waggoner said the Center was to help faculty who do not always have the resources or the knowledge to accommodate students and protect the university against a lawsuit.

“Since there isn’t always space and since it’s much more difficult for faculty to provide those accommodations, sometimes accommodations are not provided or are provided inadequately,” Waggoner said. “That puts the university at risk.”

Waggoner said it is a shame this had to happen because it is important for students to have these things and helpful for faculty.

Faculty will determine with their department and department chairs how they will accommodate students with disabilities.

Waggoner said there are rooms they can schedule if they need a space that’s quiet, though she is not sure that is easy for them.

“Every department has different space and every department has different resources,” Waggoner said. “If they want to call me, they can ask me questions but I don’t know their departments as well as they do, or their space, or their time.”

Wendy Long, director of office testing and evaluation, said it is breaking her heart doing this but it is a matter of staffing.

“It really gets time consuming keeping track of students and instructors and all their exams,” Long said. “And actually being in the room proctoring them. That’s a body in the room with them.”

Long said not being able to maintain the level of security during the exam does a disservice to students and instructors.

Now that her account has been frozen, Long is not able to hire people to proctor these exams.

Long said she thought faculty would know how to accommodate students, they just do not know how they are going to yet.

“There’s a lot of re-thinking going on,” Long said.

Long said they were not just sending students out the door. They are trying to look up their department contacts and resources to students.

“Sometimes students might be a little timid to go to their instructors,” Long said.

Waggoner said they are doing all they can to give students accommodations and advocate to them.

“They will still get their services, it’s just going to be different,” Long said. “Hopefully (the Testing Center) will be back again. I like working with the kids.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]