Monday, December 8, 2014

Rio's Testing Services Make Valley-wide Impact

photo of Linda Lukey at testing center in Tempe

Tucked away in each of Rio Salado College’s nine locations are testing centers serving thousands of Valley residents and visitors including U.S. Military personnel, U.S. Postal Service workers, FBI agents, GED® test-takers and yes— lots of college students. They also offer IT exams like the one passed by Ayan Qureshi, the five-year-old boy from the UK who recently became the youngest Microsoft certified IT professional in the world.

Rio Salado Testing Centers aren’t getting that kind of international attention-- but they’re getting a share of local and national merit.

“Rio Salado College Testing Centers were the first in Arizona to become Nationally Certified Testing Centers by the National College Testing Association,” said Linda Lukey, Rio Salado director of testing and prior learning assessment.

Lukey, who has been instrumental in the development and growth of the testing centers, is proud of that distinction— and the national recognition from the College Board, which has recognized Rio Salado since 2002 as a Top 100 College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) testing center. It also recognized Rio Salado as a Top 25 Military Testing Center for CLEP exams in 2013 - 2014.

Each of Rio Salado’s Testing Centers offers 33 CLEP exams, which assess subject matter proficiency and provide an opportunity for students to receive college credit with qualifying scores. For example, Spanish CLEP test-takers can earn up to 16 college credits.

Students can apply knowledge they’ve gained through prior course work, independent study, internships, job training, professional development and personal pursuits.

There are testing services for IT professionals who need to keep certifications up-to-date, including Pearson Vue CompTIA Certification exams, which are recognized by thousands of companies as a predictor of employee success. All Maricopa students, faculty and staff are eligible for significant discounts on these exams. Students pursuing A+ certification save about 55%. Network+ certification students pay approximately half the normal rate. Rio Salado students may also receive college credit for their certifications.

The Testing Center provides proctoring services for other educational institutions so students can take midterms and finals at a location that’s convenient for them. “We are also part of the Consortium of College Testing Centers, offering proctoring services for students worldwide,” said Lukey.

The Pearson Vue GED® test has become quite popular. More than 10,000 people have taken the exam since the college began offering it in October of 2013.

There are a series of tests you can’t fail. ACCUPLACER exams are free of charge and help new students gauge their current skill levels for Reading, English and Math. Academic advisors use the results of the assessments along with details about students’ academic backgrounds to determine appropriate college courses.

Rio Salado Testing Centers also offer Adobe Certified Associate and Microsoft Office Specialist Certiport Exams; exams that assess English language skills and more.

For a comprehensive view of the types of services offered, the locations, hours of service, forms of identification required and other details, visit: www.riosalado.edu/testing. 

Pictured above: Linda Lukey, Rio Salado director of testing and prior learning assessment.

This story can also be found in the December 6 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.