Senior proficiency test open

Every year since 1997, Missouri Southern has administered the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Proficiency Profile to graduating seniors. A change was made for the 2014-15 school year, and all students who have completed their general education requirements are now able to take the exam through the end of April.

“Because the exam is a measure of general education knowledge, we are now making the test available to students when they complete their general education requirements,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Pat Lipira.

According to the ETS website, the test examines four main core skills: critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics.

“Our last five years of data show that we have consistently scored slightly above the national average in each of the areas,” said Lipira.

ETS is valuable, according to Lipira, because it tracks aggregate data and allows Southern faculty to compare scores with more than 500 other institutions around the country.

“We are required to report to MDHE how many of our graduates take a general education assessment and the number who score at or above the 50th percentile,” said Lipira.

The test also allows faculty to follow students’ progress from their freshman year to senior year if they study at Southern throughout their college career.

Lipira said, “[The test] provides us with pre-post data to gauge the effectiveness of our general education courses.”

Previously, the test had been held on Senior Assessment Day, something that was done away with after 2014.

“With all of the snow days last spring, we decided to administer the test electronically and not miss any classes,” said Lipira. “We were actually the only school in the state that set aside a specific day to conduct the testing.”

Students who score in the 80th percentile will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an iPad Mini or one of five $50 bookstore gift cards.