If you’re a Hornet, chances are you’ve been informed at some point that you need to take the CAAP test to graduate. And if you’re an education major, you may even have been told you need the CAAP before entering Phase.
But it seems few students are aware of the actual role the test plays within a university.
Anthony Ambrosio, director for the Assessment and Teaching Enhancement Center, said Emporia State began testing before graduation in 1977, when surveys were conducted about what skills employers expected their employees to have. Since then, it has served as a way to measure the increase in students’ knowledge from when they entered school to when they leave. Ambrosio said that by comparing students’ ACT scores to their CAAP scores, the school can gain an idea of how its programs compare to other institutes.
CAAP consists of three parts – reading, writing and mathematics. The subjects are further divided into components, which include multiple choice questions and an essay portion. Not all students are required to take each portion, however. Several exemption options are available for most students.
“Students can, for example, get a score of an A- or higher in English 102 and are then exempt from writing,” Ambrosio said. “The same applies to math if they score an A- or higher in MA 110.”
Ambrosio was quick to mention, however, that students entering the teaching program cannot be exempt from the test and are also expected to score higher than other students in the reading and math portions. Education students are eligible for what Ambrosio called a “window,” meaning that if students pass two of the tests, but are just a few points short on a third, they can still enter Phase (1).
Lauren Walbridge, senior English major, said she felt the test was a waste of time, especially for education majors, who are also required to take the PRAXIS test.
“I feel like it’s not a very accurate way to measure what we learned in college,” Walbridge said. “It’s basically the same test as (the ones in) high school. I’d taken my last math class freshman year, and as a senior had to take a test over it.”
Russell Cornelius, senior business administration major, had another concern about the test.
“I honestly think the reasoning behind making students take it is so that we can get a good observation of how students progress through college, but by exempting students, it skews the reported data,” Cornelius said. “I don’t like it.”
Cornelius, who is also a member of the General Education Counsel, said several meetings last semester were dedicated to discussing the CAAP test.
“We discuss a lot of the content on the CAAP test, why we use the CAAP test as opposed to the Collegiate Learning Assessment, (and) we compare our scores to other institutions.” Cornelius said.
Ambrosio recommends students sign up for testing in their junior year. Five testing dates are offered each semester. Students can sign up for testing in the Assessment and Teaching Enhancement Center in Room 23 in Abigail Morse Hall.