A Message from the President

Testing (no nasal swab required) in a COVID World

NCTA Division Updates

Test Center Certification

Looking Forward

A Message from your President!

Dear NCTA Members,

I am very excited and honored to serve NCTA as President for 2020-2022. Due to the strong leadership of former President, Jarret Dyer, other prior presidents, board members, and committees, NCTA has made substantial advancements in its mission to promote professional administration of testing services and programs. I am appreciative to be able to follow in their footsteps and build upon the foundation they have created for NCTA.

It is important to acknowledge that the last several months have been different for all of us in some way, shape, or form due to the pandemic. Many of us are working remotely, just starting to return to the office, or perhaps settling in to a new normal. NCTA’s mission to promote professionalism and quality in the administration of testing services and programs, however, remains unchanged. NCTA and its members have been invaluable by helping each other navigate these unchartered waters and continuing the work we do with the highest levels of quality and integrity.

Guided by our mission and strategic plan, I have identified the following priorities for the next two years:

  • Engage in Dialogue
  • Expand Collaborations
  • Encourage Members

Engage in Dialogue
NCTA’s members are experts in their field. We need to leverage that expertise to further research and practice. To start is simple. It begins with engaging in dialogue with others in the testing industry, others at our institutions, and others within NCTA. By engaging in dialogue, we can share ideas and provide guidance with others. This will further our mission by enhancing professional testing practices.

Expand Collaborations
In a similar vein, NCTA is not alone. Its mission and expertise are highly regarded by other organizations. We need to continue to develop and support partnerships with them to enhance our practices and further our reach. Collaborations are an opportunity to make larger strides in our mission to promote professionalism and quality in testing services.

Encourage Members
At the core of NCTA’s mission are its members. This priority focuses on supporting and encouraging you to participate in NCTA’s offerings and get involved in NCTA. Using the results from the Membership Survey administered by the Growth and Outreach and Membership Engagement divisions over the summer, we will plan for opportunities for professional development and professional support activities.

I am confident that together we can make great progress on these priorities and thereby make great progress towards NCTA’s mission and strategic plan. I look forward to working with the Governing Council and all of you to lead the organization.

I hope all of you take care and stay well. I look forward to seeing all of you in person again, but know that you can contact me at any time at [email protected].

Rachel Hample
NCTA President

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Testing (no nasal swab required) in a COVID World

As we begin Autumn Semester of 2020, only one thing is certain: this will be one of the most unusual academic years that most, if not all, of us have ever experienced. While no two institutions are the same, we are all facing similar challenges. Testing centers across the country operate with many different models, but our main goal is always to serve students and to create a safe, calm environment in which to test. The question we are all struggling with is- how to do this amidst the current pandemic in our country?

Depending on your geographic location, your institution may have already reopened, or is currently planning to re-open in various degrees and capacities. Common sense dictates that we all become familiar with requirements set forth by state, city/county, and specifically by institution. Most colleges will provide detailed information about PPE, sanitization, space requirements, and health concerns. What may not be clear is the expectation that leadership has of each unit of operation within the college; in this area, it is best to be proactive.

Nobody knows your testing center and its capabilities better than the people who work there on a daily basis, so take the initiative to write a plan regarding what you can reasonably and safely accommodate. There are many things to take into consideration, such as- working with reduced personnel, limiting capacity, and new budget restrictions that may be in place.

When determining the best ways to go about reopening, there are practical/organizational concerns, and human/personal concerns.


  • Take inventory of what types of testing you are capable of administering and put them in order of priority for your institution. Each institution has a different mission, so be sure that your priorities align with that mission.
  • Determine what your maximum capacity will be for each of your testing spaces. Decide how many seats should be dedicated to your priority testing and how many seats you will use as flexible seating, if that is a possibility.
  • Prepare your space. Remove chairs, desks, computers, keyboards, and supplies that you will not need. If anything is being put into storage be sure to label it and keep your own inventory so that you can be sure to get it all back when that time comes.
  • Determine what your new daily processes will look like. Take into consideration scheduling procedures, check in processes, how you will handle students who do not follow PPE or other health related requirements, and your end of day routines. Make sure that each one of you staff gets training on these new procedures and has access to college resources regarding new college-wide policies.
  • Obtain necessary signage. Most institutions will have signage regarding policies that pertain to the general population, but testing centers will need to have signs that are specific to the use of their space. For example, should students come in when they arrive or call to check in and wait for someone to get them? Are there limitations on which belongings are permitted to be brought inside? Are they required to wear masks?


  • Write specific instructions for students and post them in visible places. This may mean signs on the door, updates on the website, new information posted on the scheduling system, or an email sent to all students. Knowing what to expect will reduce unnecessary stress on the student.
  • Keep faculty informed. If possible, work with leadership to distribute this information or ask to present at their faculty information meetings prior to the start of the semester. At a minimum, be sure that faculty know how to access information regarding the testing center.
  • Clearly state policies and procedures for anyone who will be using your testing center. This may be accomplished by having them sign an acknowledgement when they schedule their test or before they being testing.
  • Be as flexible as possible. We all have rules that we need to follow, but now more than ever, there may be extenuating circumstances. Keeping in mind our ultimate goal of helping students succeed, we may be able to make some adjustments in order to assist them, while still following safety protocol.

Every institution is different, so procedures and everyday practices will vary by location, but we are all facing a new landscape as we embark on this academic year. We will inevitably have much to learn and new procedures to get used to, but we have a great support within our NCTA network, so always reach out if you find yourself with questions about best practices. As we are learning a new way to breathe, we are learning a new way to operate in our lives, but we will continue to support each other and pass that support on to our students.

Deep breaths. Mask up. Test on.

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NCTA Division Updates

Growth and Outreach

  • Created and distributed Membership Survey to all NCTA members; compiling data now for distribution after 2020 virtual conference
  • Prospect database information scrubbed and sent for inclusion in MemberClicks
  • NCTA Prospect marketing developed – video and brief presentation on NCTA and benefits of membership

 Membership Engagement

  • Awards and Recognition
  • Membership Initiatives (sub-committee: New Member Orientation)
    • Working to revamp networking opportunities
    • Supporting new NCTA initiatives

Membership Engagement would like to welcome

  • Volunteer Services
    • Committee Chair (New)
      • Shannon Fairholm - University of South Dakota
  • Website
    • Stay tuned for new web updates!!

 Professional Development

  • Created the first all virtual conference for members to continue professional development during a national emergency.
  • Webinar series was modified
  • The Journal of the National College Testing Association published “Academic Dishonesty and Testing: How Student Beliefs and Test Settings Impact Decisions To Cheat” by Jarret Dyer, Heidi Pettyjohn, and Steve Saladin in spring 2020. Their article quickly received national attention, including mentions in Forbes and Inside Higher Ed.  
  • The Proctor Certification Committee is reviewing vendor responses to the Request for Procurement to develop and deliver a proctor certification exam, with intent to make recommendations to the NCTA Governing Council in fall 2020.

Partnerships and Collaborations

  • Fall State Representative meeting was held July 30. Attendees discussed ways to reach more test centers with NCTA information. Next meeting scheduled for February 4, 2021.
  • State Representatives are compiling lists of all test centers in their state. Target date for completion October 2, 2020.
  • Beginning stages of formatting a new NCTA web page to allow exam sponsor/owners/vendors to locate test centers willing to administer exams for their companies. Work will continue post conference.

Professional Services

  • In Progress/Ongoing: Committee members, Advisors, and Evaluators are learning how to use a new document repository software program (Dropbox)
  • In Progress/Ongoing: Transitioning files from old document repository (Gmail) to new document repository (Dropbox)
  • In Progress/Ongoing:  Training new volunteers to serve as TCC Evaluators and TCC Advisors


  • Budgeted expenses are reduced over Fiscal Year 21 (July 2020-June 2021), including converting the spring Governing Council meetings to virtual. Governing Council previously met virtually in the fall, in-person in spring and again at the annual conference. In-person meetings will be limited to those occurring during annual conferences.
  • Rather than charging registration for live virtual conference events, starting in 2019 NCTA provides recorded webinars after the conferences, free to all members and approved expense to cover increased capacity to allow more members to attend virtual events live.
  • During covid-19, webinars were made free to non-members to provide support while institutions and colleagues faced budget limitations.
  • The NCTA Travel Scholarship, in support of lead presenters who would be unable to attend the in-person conference for financial reasons, was renamed in honor of Past-President and NCTA Donor, Duane P. Goupell. Members are encouraged to watch for scholarship announcements in early 2021 as they prepare conference proposals.

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Test Center Certification

Latest Certifications and Recertifications (since April 2020)

Congratulations to the following Institutions:

Initial Certification

  • College of Eastern Idaho
  • Ashton Testing Services
  • California State University Dominguez Hills
  • Colorado State University Fort Collins
  • Idaho State University Counseling & Testing Services – Pocatello
  • Bismarck State College
  • North Iowa Area Community College


  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • University Center Gaylord
  • San Juan College
  • Odessa College
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Mott Community College
  • Tyler Junior College
  • South Florida State College

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Looking Forward

  • Review of NCTA Virtual Conference that was held August 26-28.
  • Update on college and university response to COVID and return to campus
  • More certifications!