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Registrar predicts future testing issues

BY ALICIA KRAMME | DECEMBER 14, 2010 7:10 AM

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The influx of freshmen at the University of Iowa this semester has contributed to more finals being split into different rooms, more proctors needed, and a more expensive finals week.

UI Registrar Larry Lockwood said the changes were needed to accommodate seating students in every other seat.

Exact numbers for proctors hired or dollars spent won't be available until the end of the week, Lockwood said.

While the UI was able to accommodate all testing this semester, he said, the trend could continue if more freshmen are accepted again next year.

"If we're going to have an increase in freshmen again next year, and we keep doing well with retention like we have been, then it could be a problem," Lockwood said. "I think it is going to be difficult to handle every other seating."

But Lockwood said the problem could be taken care of by the new classroom planning software the university will implement next year.



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"Made At the University of Iowa" is a program that organizes classrooms, including requiring instructors to indicate whether they will need a room for testing when they first set their course up, providing better communication between the registrar and teachers.

Lockwood said the increased communication will help the Registrar's Office ensure that instructors get their ideal testing situation.

"They may not need to use their rooms, so we'll have that information and will be able to use it for a different final," Lockwood said.

The entire program will be in place by the fall of 2011, though parts will be used next semester.
UI freshman Shelby Wiese, who had two finals Monday, said sitting every other seat was a luxury she didn't experience in her first final. Splitting up classes for finals helped make it possible for teachers to seat students farther apart.

"I felt like the person next to me was looking at my paper," Wiese said. "I was very conscious of my answers. On top that, they kept muttering the whole time."

Sitting every other seat during her chemistry exam made the testing situation "more fair," she said.

But some teachers said this semester isn't a huge change from previous semesters.

Chemistry lecturer Russell Larsen said splitting 900 to 1,000 students into different rooms to take the chemistry exam is not unusual — it happens every semester.

His General Chemistry course was split into five rooms Monday.

"That's inevitable given the size of the courses and the way we run them," he said.

Robert Thunhorst, a UI adjunct assistant psychology professor, said it is the same case with his 1,100-student Elementary Psychology class.

Both Thunhorst and Larsen emphasized the importance of keeping students in every other seat.

"I prefer it that way," Thunhorst said. "It's less likely they're even tempted to cheat. It makes it easier for the TAs to keep tabs on them."


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