News from the Exams Institute, Fall 2019

Exams Institute LogoGreetings to all from ACS Exams.

We are excited to announce that we are continuing to work on making changes to our collection of study materials.  As reported in March, our General Chemistry Study Guide has been substantially updated in a second edition which has been available since October 15, 2018.  This new edition includes more practice problems, a clear distinction between first-term and second-term material, a link to common textbook chapters, and a designation of conceptual items for those students preparing for a conceptual exam as an opportunity to assess themselves using this type of problem.  Also reported in March, our Organic Chemistry Study Guide is under revision for a second edition as well.  Similar to the General Chemistry Study Guide, we are increasing the number of problems, linking content more explicitly to textbook resources, and providing more advanced problems as applications of organic chemistry.  The Organic Chemistry Study Guide has been written and has been reviewed internally and with external experts and students from multiple institutions.  We are on our targeted timeline and still expect a release date of January 1, 2020 or earlier.

Exam security and integrity remain a high priority.  We continue to implement new strategies and business practices to protect the hard work of our exam committee members and preserve the critically important assessments so many of us rely on for standardized testing.  We continue to stress to everyone in the community how important it is to work together to maintain the integrity of secure exams and impress upon our colleagues and students the gravity of illegally posting or distributing copyrighted material.  Finally, we ask that if any postings of our exams or study materials are found, please contact us (at kmurphy@uwm.edu) so we can take the appropriate steps to remove these materials and pursue action to prevent posting of these materials in the future.  In order to assist instructors in delivering exams, we have included on our website information on administering exams including a secondary security pledge that can be used by departments.
Exam development has stabilized with a regular cycle of 7 to 10 new exams per year.  We have introduced two new exams to our suite of exams: a single-semester general-organic-biochemistry exam (GB18D) and three general chemistry quarter exams (GC19Q1, GC19Q2, GC19Q3)

Our newly released exams are:


Exams released in 2019

Name

Stock code

# of items

Time (min)

# of forms

General Chemistry (first quarter), 2019

GC19Q1

45

55

1

General Chemistry (second quarter), 2019

GC19Q2

45

55

1

General Chemistry (third quarter), 2019

GC19Q3

45

55

1

General Chemistry (full year), 2019

GC19

70

110

2

High School, 2019

HS19

80

100

1

Chemical Health and Safety, 2019*

CS19

60

60

1

*Due to be ready for purchase no later than October 15th, 2019
Field testing also continues with a number of exams.  This fall we expect trial testing these exams:


Field-testing Exams, Fall 2019

Name

Stock code

# of items

Time (min)

# of forms

2019 Physical Chemistry, Dynamics Items

PH19DA

15

30

1

2019 Physical Chemistry, Kinetics Items

PH19DB

20

40

1

2019 Physical Chemistry, Dynamics/Kinetics Items

PH19DC

20

40

1

2019 Physical Chemistry, Thermodynamics Items

PH19T

50

100

2

2019 Physical Chemistry, Quantum Items

PH19Q

50

100

2

2019 Polymer Chemistry

PL19

43-45

60

2

2020 General Chemistry, First-term exam

GC20F

70

110

2

2020 Organic Chemistry, First-term exam

OR20F

70

110

2

2020 Inorganic Chemistry, Senior-level

IN20

60

110

2

If you are interested in participating in field testing, please contact us.  As always, there is no cost to you to participate in field testing; we provide all test booklets and answer sheets.  We require that you return student performances to us to assist us in the final stage of exam development.  We are appreciative of the vast number of faculty and instructors who serve on and chair these exam committees.  If you are interested in serving on future exam committees, please contact us.  We are continually creating new committees, particularly for our suite of general chemistry and organic chemistry exams.

We would like to especially thank all faculty and instructors who participated in trial testing in Spring 2019.  We were pleased with the large number of faculty members interested in field testing exams!

Our business operations continue to be strong with 2019 becoming another stable business year.  Under the outstanding leadership of Julie Adams, our Business Operations Manager, our business has been strong. Our continued stability will enable the continued operations of ACS Exams far into the future.  Cherie Mayes continues to be the bright voice when you call us, and Steve Koester, our shipping clerk, ensures the safe arrival of your orders; we are happy to work with such a great group! 

Our research staff continues to evolve.  Earlier this year, we were joined by Ashford Fellow (2019), Prof. Olga Michels from Luther College.  We said farewell to Jaclyn Trate in August as she moved on to the next exciting step in her career.  The research accomplished by our team continues to be outstanding.

Finally, we have always and continue to be absolutely supportive of fairness of testing for all students.  To be more transparent in our support, we have adopted an accessibility policy and are providing more information to instructors on how ACS Exams can support institutions in their endeavors to provide accommodations to students.

As always, ACS Exams would not function without the numerous and dedicated Board members, exam committee chairs and members, faculty and instructors participating in trial testing, and focus group/workshop participants.  The high-quality work that ACS Exams has the honor of producing is only possible due to the many people who contribute to this work.  It continues to be a humbling and extraordinary experience working with you all.  If you are interested in joining our team through exam committees or development projects, please reach out to us for more information.  For this and all other concerns or matters related to ACS Exams, please feel free to contact me at kmurphy@uwm.edu.

We thank you all for your continued support of ACS Exams!

Best to you all,
Kristen Murphy

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