By Nestor B. Querido, Supervisor, CUOL

A biometric screening. A passport/ID scanner. A body-scanning device.

These are some of the testing tools being used at the Carleton University Testing Centre (CUTC) for high profile exams, such as the MCAT.

CUOL has come a long way since we began facilitating exams 36 years ago. Last year alone, we invigilated a whopping 25,000 exams, giving us a good handle on invigilation and various proctoring processes. The experience we gained expanded our understanding of the many security facets involving high-stakes examinations.

Increasingly, non-Carleton students, including professionals and degree holders working to upgrade their accreditations, had been coming to CUOL to be proctored. This high demand for proctoring led to the establishment of the CUTC in 2011. Since then, the CUTC has billeted over 11,000 external examinations from various academic and non-academic institutions from Canada, the United States and abroad, including Australia, England and the West Indies.

The CUTC is now in its third year as an active member of the National College Testing Association (NCTA), an organization of testing professionals based in the United States who are dedicated to promoting quality testing services and programs. On March 9 of this year, the CUTC became a full-fledged NCTA certified test centre, making it Ontario’s first accredited member, and the second non-US-based institution to earn this designation in Canada.

With over 2,000 NCTA members worldwide who are committed to the rigorous regulations, this accreditation means that we are recognized by over 700 universities and colleges and 50 non-academic institutions complying with the NCTA’s strict exam regulations.

This past September, we attended the 2015 NCTA conference in Florida. While there, the Canadian NCTA members met and put forth a proposal to bring together testing professionals in universities and colleges across the country to form a Canadian NCTA annex.

The Canadian Higher Education Testing Association (CHETA) was established to enhance professional testing practices, advance collaborative efforts among testing professionals and their institutions, and offer professional development opportunities.

The association is in its early stages, but the next face-to-face meeting is scheduled for the 2016 NCTA conference in Seattle, Washington (August 2-6).