As the assessment movement grows in higher education, driven as much by politicians as by educators, colleges have been on the lookout for tests they might use to measure general knowledge. They lost one such option in December, but the Educational Testing Service has announced plans to replace it.
ETS and the College Board said in December that they were phasing out the Academic Profile, which hundreds of colleges use, in one way or another, to measure what their students have learned. (The University of Missouri at Kansas City, for instance, requires students to take the test in order to graduate.)
The two organizations, which jointly owned the test, said at the time that they had discontinued the test because "the relatively low volumes of Academic Profile exams administered by our faithful customers each year still do not generate enough resources to justify refreshing or improving the instrument."
The new test, which ETS said it had not yet named, will be available in January 2006. The testing company said that unlike Academic Profile, the new test can be delivered online and has an optional essay that can be graded in an automated way.
ETS said it would continue to score the old test through the middle of 2006, so that colleges can make a transition to the new exam.
"Colleges and universities have used the Academic Profile for nearly two decades to measure student achievement, evaluate program effectiveness, and benchmark performance," said Mari Pearlman, senior vice president of ETS's higher education division. "The new test will have enhancements that will allow for more flexibility and more informative results, while ensuring that institutions can equate data collected from the new test with that of the old."