News from the Exams Institute, Spring 2019

Exams Institute LogoGreetings to all from ACS Exams.

We welcome a new colleague to our Board of Trustees, Dawn Del Carlo, the new Division Chair-Elect and a welcome back to Bill Donovan who had previously served on the Board.  We also say farewell to Deborah Exton and MaryKay Orgill.  Thank you for all you have done for ACS Exams, you will both be dearly missed.  Your dedication to the mission and needs of the Division were evident from all of your hard work and are very much appreciated.

We are very excited to announce that we have been working hard to make changes to our collection of study materials.  Our general chemistry study guide has been substantially updated in a second edition available starting October 15, 2018.  This new edition includes many more practice problems, a very clear distinction between first-term and second-term material and link to common textbook chapters, and a designation of conceptual items for those students preparing for a conceptual exam as well as an opportunity to assess themselves using this type of problem.  In addition, starting earlier this year, 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.  This is slated to be available starting January 1, 2020.

Since our last newsletter, exam security and integrity remain a high priority.  We continue to implement new strategies and business practices to protect the hard work of many exam committee members as well as preserve the critically important assessments so many of us rely on for standardized testing.  We would like to continue to stress to everyone in the community how important it is to work together to maintain the integrity of secure exams and impress on 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 so we can take the appropriate steps to remove these materials and pursue action to prevent posting of these materials in the future.

Exam development has stabilized into a regular cycle of 7 to 10 new exams per year.  We are excited to offer two new 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 late 2018 and early 2019

Name

Stock code

# of items

Time (min)

# of forms

General-Organic-Biochemistry, 2018

GB18

50 per section

60 per section

1

General-Organic-Biochemistry, Condensed 2018

GB18D

60

55

1

General Chemistry (first term), 2018

GC18F

70

110

2

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

*Due to be ready for purchase no later than April 15th, 2019

Field testing also continues in full swing.  This spring we are trial testing a number of tests:

Field-testing Exams, Spring 2019

Name

Stock code

# of items

Time (min)

# of forms

2020 Organic Chemistry, Full-year exam

OR20

70

110

2

2019 Chemical Health and Safety

CS19

60

60

2

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 Polymer Chemistry

PL19

43-45

60

2

If you are interested in participating in field testing, please let us know.  As always, there is no cost to you as 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 very appreciative of the vast number of faculty and instructors who serve on these exam committees and the chairs who lead these groups.  If you are interested in serving on future exam committees, please let us know.  We are regularly starting new committees, particularly in general and organic chemistry.

We realize the Chemical Health and Safety exam may be less familiar.  This exam has been developed to target a second-year student, completing organic chemistry laboratory.  Some of the topics covered on the test are:

  • Safety culture (including regulations and protocols)
  • Properties of chemical (including definitions and features of major categories)
  • Physical hazards (including common equipment and procedures)
  • Chemical health and safety information resources (including SDS, NFP and GHS)
  • Risk assessment and management (including assessment and managing risks)
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Managing chemicals (including waste and storage)
  • Emergency equipment and response

Please note, this exam is not designed and cannot be used for certification of safety or safety training achievement; it is designed to be used as a diagnostic only.

We would also like to specially thank all faculty and instructors who participated in trial testing in fall, 2018.  We were so pleased at the fantastic response to the request to field-test exams.

The business continues to be strong with 2018 finishing as another stable year.  Under the outstanding leadership of our Business Operations Manager, Julie Adams, our business has been strong and our continued stability will enable the continued operations of ACS Exams far into the future.  Cherie Krayna continues to be the bright voice when you call us, and Steve Koester as our shipping clerk ensures the safe arrival of your orders; we are so happy to work with such a great group. 

Our research staff continues to change as well.  Later this year, we will be joined by Ashford Fellow (2019), Prof. Olga Michels from Luther College.  We also said farewell to Dr. Shalini Srinivasan and Dr. Jessica Reed as they moved on to their next exciting steps in their careers.  The research accomplished by our team continues to be outstanding.

As always, ACS Exams would not function without the numerous and dedicated board members, exam committee chairs and members, trial testing faculty and instructors, and the focus group participants.  The highest quality work that ACS Exams has the honor of producing is only possible due to the many, many people who contribute to this work.  It continues to be a humbling and extraordinary experience working with you all.  And, if you are interested in working with us on exam committees or through development projects, please let us know.  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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