11:43 AM

UHCL's Testing Center offers highest standards in testing, security

Testing centers present a meaningful way in which institutions of higher education can benefit students and the community. University of Houston-Clear Lake's Testing Center offers a range of services, and with its recent recertification by the National College Testing Association, all testers can be assured their experience will be in a completely secure environment with the highest standards of practice in place.

Testing Center Director Diana Nores said UH-Clear Lake was the only campus in the University of Houston System that achieved recertification status. "We are very proud of this, as it is a very rigorous process. It proves that we are not just up to par with our testing services; we provide the highest standards of quality, and it puts UHCL on a national and international map of similar institutions."

She explained that colleges both nationally and internationally utilize NCTA's certified centers list to send students to utilize institutions such as UHCL's Testing Center services to take exams and be assured of the testing environment and security quality.

"We have had students from South America, Europe and around the world take their exams with us," she said. "Being a certified member of the NCTA means we have online reciprocity with all universities who are also members — although this organization does not certify everyone."

She said the companies with whom UHCL has agreements to administer tests place a high value on the fact that we have this certification. "The NCTA certification validates that we are providing a high standard of amenities and services quality, and we were approved to administer their tests very quickly by many testing platform partners because of it," she said.

Other institutions have testing centers, Nores said, but they're not necessarily NCTA certified. "This certification also means that our staff is equipped to handle the customers' stress and frustration, know how to calm testers, and provide all-inclusive services for their entire testing experience," she said.

She added that although the Center is operating at just 75% capacity due to COVID-19 prophylactic provisions, they still test 700-1000 people per month.

The Testing Center also offers various placement tests, such as the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), Advanced Math Placement Test (AMPT), and College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP), which allows the students to test out of introductory college courses so they can accelerate their graduation timeline.

The Testing Center offers approximately 2,500 tests, through PearsonVue, ETS, Certiport, Kryterion, CASTLE/Scantron, ATI, HESI, and more.

"PearsonVue alone has about 1,500 kinds of tests and we offer all of them. We also provide the GRE or TOEFL tests to our students and community, and our center is one of only five in South Houston approved to administer these tests," Nores said.

Other highly-sought tests include teaching certifications (TExES), which is a graduation requirement for UHCL College of Education students. Additionally, the Center offers Cisco, CompTIA, CISSP, GIAC, Kali Linux, NIST, PMI, Splunk, Texas Real Estate, PTCB, PCI, NCBE, MCAT, Adobe and Microsoft professional certifications.

Nores said one of the Testing Center's goals was to provide certification exams applicable to all programs of study that professors think will benefit students in the workplace.

"There can be differences between the course and the real-world application sometimes, and certifications focus on the practical application of the subject matter," she said. "Having a recognized professional certification in an area along with a college degree is a validation of the student's readiness for the workplace, and of great value for a prospective employer."

She said several College of Science and Engineering courses already use the Microsoft certifications for course credit.

"It's my purpose to embed career-ready opportunities into all students' learning environment, and to that effect to support UHCL's mission to provide our students with the best integrated education experience and readiness for today's competitive work environment," she explained.

The Testing Center also offers free test preparation resources to help students and community to be successful with their exams and certifications. For more information about the Testing Center at UHCL.