Change Is Coming: Technology Drives the Shift
Who knew that mental health, exam preparation, and technology could be merged so seamlessly? MindShift Research, a college and university business consulting firm, is learning first-hand about the impact of testing turnaround times using technology-enabled building practices.
The result? Not only are students and faculty experiencing shorter wait times, but also, nearly all of their testing preparation workload is now completed online or through different electronic means.
This is due in large part to the implementation of middle-class electronic testing protocols. In this model, computer-based testing has become standard procedure throughout the nation.
Because it is driven by electronic testing metrics, testing turnaround times have dramatically improved. This improvement is key to increasing access and, consequently, reducing the overall cost of postsecondary education and growing college enrollment.
A Changing Environment
The process of this change is being made easier by the new combination of technology and building practices we are exploring through two of our consulting projects: the Dallas College of Technical Art and Entrepreneurship (DCTE), and Kent State University. We have also worked closely with several of our corporate and non-profit clients to see how technology can support their general level of performance, not just their electronic testing score improvements.
Change is ongoing and will only be made easier and more sustainable if training colleges, universities, and career-tech institutes to make electronic testing a routine practice.
Getting it Right
For college and university executives, this change in methodologies for all-important exam preparation is significant and requires a major shift in thinking and practice.
When change is difficult to implement it is tempting to make decisions and programs without weighing the consequences. This attitude makes it far too easy to let your team simply do their jobs with little or no supervision.
For some programs, there will be difficult conversations to be had about whether the testing and decision-making process should be reexamined. Certain programs will need to determine if their success factors will change. Some programs may even have to transition from how they have traditionally engaged their students in their examination process.
Developing an Assessment Systems and Qualitative Assessment Growth mindset is key to implementing this change in a successful manner.
Don’t Ignore Current Practices
Most successful systems, whether it is computers, or mobile devices, or holograms, have evolved and developed over time in an effort to meet the student learning needs of today.
If you have given electronic testing a try, you can learn a lot by observing and asking questions of others who have used it. Then, you can create your own form of learning by providing opportunities for students and teachers to learn from the electronic testing environment, including the testing itself.
That means developing our own assessment systems and qualitative assessment growth mindset, so that we can provide the same benefits to today’s students and, more importantly, to tomorrow’s students.
For the future, the biggest obstacle is changing our culture and our style of building. We must embrace electronic testing, and improve our assessment systems to provide students the same rich learning experience that they have benefited from in prior tests.
The student – not a test – is in control of the outcome.
Mark Gastineau is Founder of MindShift Consulting (www.mindshift.com), a national college and university consulting firm. Founded with the mission to support the best and brightest students to succeed in higher education, MindShift delivers business and industry best practices, building and student success strategies in a specific curriculum. The company develops quality team-based learning programs, custom academic planning and assessment strategies for the core curricula of all U.S. accredited universities, colleges, and technical and career technical schools, offers 360 degree learnership services and academic programs (Interdisciplinarity), and keeps the industry informed with external research.