BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Standards for test centers were initiated by the MPACT Professional Development Committee
as an outgrowth of discussions about test center certification. The committee agreed that
standards needed to be developed before any such process could be considered. Test company
and test center staff representing MPACT, SETA, and TACTP worked together to develop the
standards. When MPACT became the National College Testing Association (NCTA) in Spring,
2000, the Standards and Guidelines were adopted as official policy of the organization.
These standards and guidelines are intended to serve as a model for post-secondary test
centers in the delivery of quality national testing services. They endorse requirements
without directly enforcing them, allowing discretion appropriate to specific programs.
The standards have been, and will continue to be updated by NCTA to reflect developments
in testing operations. These standards have important benefits for all involved in the
Benefits for Examinees
- Enhance process and quality of test administration.
- Offer the best opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, potentially improving the
accuracy of test results.
- Improve access to computerized testing.
Benefits for Test Companies (any organization that contracts with test centers to administer tests)
- Promote standardized testing environments.
- Facilitate and simplify test site selection process by encouraging a pool of test
centers that adhere to established standards.
- Improve communications with test centers by clarifying roles and expectations.
- Provide test company clients with a set of professional standards and guidelines.
- Promote a multi-user environment so that test centers may be compatible with the
specifications of a variety of test companies.
- Raise the awareness of all parties regarding appropriate testing conditions and
procedures for standardized testing.
- Provide guidelines that may be applied to test centers not on college campuses.
Benefits for Test Centers
- Enhance professional stature of test center and staff.
- Provide a single set of criteria, written by testing professionals of varying
levels and perspectives, lessening need to monitor and adhere to multiple sets of
- Offer the opportunity to serve many testing companies and a wide variety of
examinees in the delivery of computer-based testing services.
- Improve communications with test companies by encouraging more direct contact.
Benefits for Institutions
- Provide guidelines for professional testing services that reflect positively on
- Enhance stature and visibility of the institution in the community.
- Increase enrollment by providing quality testing services to potential students.
- Enhance the institution's mission and standards.
Benefits for NCTA
- Offer an opportunity to develop a formal training program for members.
- Provide interaction with non-member test centers and staff, increasing
- Show that enhancement of professionalism in the field of testing is a primary
purpose of NCTA.
- Increase value of belonging to an association with professional standards,
potentially increasing membership.