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Sanford Hall Testing Center Closing

Sara Wielenberg | Staff Writer | 03/30/2011

Sanford Hall’s testing center will be closing at the end of March, leaving many students to search elsewhere for their testing sites.

The testing center in Sanford Hall offered the CLEP, GRE, PRAXIS I and TOEFL tests. The CLEP, a college-level examination program, allows students to demonstrate their skills in various areas and receive credit. The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is required for students seeking their graduate degrees. The PRAXIS I is a teaching licensure exam and the TOEFL is for teaching English as a foreign language.

The testing center has offered these tests for a number of years. In this last year, it has offered the GRE, CLEP and TOEFL exams.

Students who took advantage of this convenient testing site will now have to travel to take these exams. The closest test site to Bemidji is in Moorhead, which will force students to travel a minimum of 2.5 hours to take this exam. Other GRE testing sites include Duluth, Woodbury, Rochester, St. Cloud, Edina, and Minneapolis. Those hoping to take the CLEP will likely have to go to Minneapolis.

“In 2010, 132 students took one of these three tests,” said Dr. Lisa Erwin, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment. The average for the last four years was 125 students a year for the three tests.

The reasons for closing are two-fold, according to Erwin. The first reason was the change in requirements for teaching licensing. The State of Minnesota now requires an exam instead of the PRAXIS.

“The computer-based testing center in Sanford Hall…did not have the capacity to offer the new exam,” said Erwin. The new required exam is the Minnesota Teaching Licensure Examinations (MTLE), which began last fall.

The other reason was related to the recalibration process. “The decision was made to eliminate a clerical position in Career Services through recalibration,” said Erwin. The computer-based testing center received most of its administrative support from that clerical position.

“Without that position,” Erwin remarked, “it was not possible to continue to offer the service.”

The closing of the testing center will have a significant impact on students who wish to take or are required to take any of these exams.