Page 10 - FIS World Feb 2019
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Testing Times
How FIS became a top-quality testing center
Tests. A word to strike fear into the strongest of students. Testing. A process that even now may cause you to break out in a cold sweat as
memories come flooding back. Whatever our reaction to tests, they are a fact of school life and, funny enough, are not only testing for students.
Tests fall broadly into two categories: internal tests, which are set and marked by teachers within school; and external tests, which are set and marked by national and international education bodies. An example of an internal test could be
a spelling test, whereas an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam would be external test. To administer IB exams, FIS must go through a strict accreditation process and conform to guidelines as stipulated by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). However, these are not the only external tests that take place at FIS.
Since 1992, students have been able to sit the ACT and SSAT (standardized tests used primarily for American university admissions) at FIS, and since
1995, the school has also been able to offer dates for (American) SAT Reasoning and Subject tests, the ACT university entrance exam, and SSAT secondary entrance exam. Before these dates, there was no ACT, SAT or SSAT testing available at FIS, and students instead had to travel to the American Military School in Frankfurt or the Frankfurt American High School. Retired Upper School counselor, Bill Starns, was instrumental in changing this.
“As the only Upper School counselor at that time, it was one of my goals to bring the testing required for students who wanted to study in North America to our campus so our students wouldn’t have to travel for testing and could instead take their examinations in a safe and familiar environment,” said Mr. Starns. He was successful in achieving his goal and has now been overseeing testing at FIS for more than 25 years.
“At the moment, the number of students tested at FIS is at a record high, ranging from 150 for the major SAT testing dates, to 50 for the new online ACT, and 20 for the SSAT,” he said. This makes FIS one of the largest testing centers in Europe for both the ACT and SSAT.
FIS is one of the largest testing centers in Europe for both the ACT and SSAT.
Testing has not changed dramatically over the years, but this year, FIS joined other ACT testing centers worldwide in successfully managing the transition from paper and pencil to computer- based online testing. “Examinees are now coming from all over Europe to sit the ACT at FIS, as many schools have not yet been able to implement the online set up,” said Mr. Starns. He attributes the success in transitioning to the new testing format
 The new ACT
testing setup requires kilometers of cables
8 FIS World February 2019

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