Administering Exams

Directions for Administering Exams

When you purchase an exam from ACS Exams, you are allowed to use it in the manner that works for your classroom. The only constraint is that you maintain all appropriate security directives for exam administration. If you wish to take advantage of the norm-reference data, however, additional guidelines are required to make sure students have essentially the same conditions for taking the exam.

Follow the directions below when administering examinations with the intention of contributing to the data pool for national norms or with the intention of comparing your students’ performances to that of the overall norming population.

  • Be sure that you have all necessary materials for the test in advance of the testing time. Provide each student with a test booklet, pencil, answer sheet, and scratch paper. Test booklets are numbered, and you should make a record in advance of the test booklet number assigned to each student.
  • Students should be seated far enough apart that there is no danger of them sharing information. You may allow students to bring non-programmable electronic calculators to the examination, but no reference material. Instructors should make sure students do not have their cell-phones out during taking of exams. (All necessary reference data is supplied in each test booklet.) Remove or cover any wall charts displaying chemical data. (If the charts contain the same data as on the exam – such as a periodic table – this component is not required.)
  • Do not allow students to open their test booklets until the signal is given for them to begin work. Instruct students to make no marks on the test booklets and to return the test booklets, answer sheets, and scratch paper when the examination is completed. (You should account for all test booklets at the conclusion of every examination.)
  • Give students directions for marking answer sheets before they begin work. Instruct students to completely fill (but not overrun) the response bubble for their choice on each question. Each mark should be made with a #2 pencil and should be very black. Students must make no stray marks on their answer sheets, and any erasures must be carefully done so that no smudge remains. Before the test begins, each student should encode on the answer sheet his or her name, student identification number, date, school name, test name and form, serial number of the test booklet, and any additional information that you need.
  • For ACS examinations, norms are based on right answer only, and only one mark is permitted in response to each question. For single-answer multiple choice exams, students should be advised that since there is only one correct (or best) response to each question and no penalty for wrong answers they should mark a response to every question, even if they have no idea of which answer is correct.
  • Following the start signal, carefully time the test. If a clock is not clearly visible to students, post the time remaining in five-minute intervals throughout the test. In multiple-part tests, allow exactly the allotted time for each part.
  • Do not provide any information beyond that supplied here or in the test booklet. “Clarifying” statements to students about any test item will bias the data supplied to compute norms.
  • If you instruct students to ignore any questions, or if you cannot follow these directions, please do not submit your student answer sheets or total score data to the Examinations Institute for inclusion in the national data pool for computing norms.
    • Instructors often discuss with students beforehand that there may be material on the exam that has not been covered in their course, and that a perfect score on the exam is not expected in order to receive a 100% score for the exam, for example. Instructors should NOT provide any details about items that are on the exam, however, when having this type of discussion.