Students’ patience tested by CASA difficulties
When asked how he felt about the Center for Academic Support and Assessment, history senior Syead Owoyemi explained that he was not sure that CASA was created to protect and serve the students of the UH as much as its faculty members.
He shared a story about a friend he knew who was accused of cheating by a student proctor at CASA. Owoyemi said that his friend had taken her test and finished it by the time the proctor approached her with the accusations of her cheating.
The friend was then contacted a few days later by the professor, requesting a meeting to discuss the alarming accusations.
“My friend still, to this day, claims her innocence, even after her professor decided to accept the grade of that girl’s test and not pursue the accusations with the dean for academic dishonesty,” Owoyemi said.
Owoyemi said that his friend did not share this information with him for personal enjoyment, but to bring to his attention what disturbed her about the matter.
She was upset that her grade was dependent on her professor’s discretion, even though CASA had no proof that she actually cheated.
This matter could have opened the door to a series of possible outcomes, such as academic dishonesty, for which she would have been expelled.
In recent years, higher education has experienced a development in virtual innovation. In this technological-centered time, Interim Associate Provost for Education and Technology Innovation Jeff Morgan said he founded CASA in 2002 to serve students.
Since then, CASA has grown from primarily giving tests for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to administering assessments for other colleges, including the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
However, there are many, like Owoyemi, who believe CASA was not created to serve students, but for the convenience of professors.
One of the inconveniences that some students mention is the location of CASA. One location is in the Susanna Garrison Gymnasium on the northwest side of campus, while the other is in the Classroom and Business Building on the far east side of campus.
“Though it has never happened, I would really hate having to walk across campus if I had more than one test on a given day because they weren’t held in the same CASA location as the other,” said health senior Adedapo Akingbola.
Akingbola said he felt that the testing centers should be in one building near the center of campus.
Not all members of campus share Akingbola and Owoyemi’s concerns. Communications professor Jaesub Lee and business management sophomore Kole Batiste shared other issues about CASA.
Batiste, a transfer student from McNeese State University, elaborated on McNeese’s simple test-taking process. On test days, he would show up to class during regular class hours and take a test that his professor had created for the class.
However, Batiste believes CASA, overall, is a great idea — although, like any other campus service, it could be improved.
“I think the lockdown browser is wonderful, but I do not agree with the process if you are not guaranteed an available seat to take the test,” Batiste said.
CASA is designed to have an available seat for each person who is registered for the class in which a particular test is assigned, Morgan said.
This may be hard to believe, however, when there are students constantly complaining to professors that they could not register for the test because of maximum capacity.
In a traditional test setting, as at McNeese, it doesn’t matter if a student remembers there is a test on the day of the exam or three weeks in advance.
That student will still be able to take the test without having to worry about whether 31 other students are already scheduled for the test at that time. No matter how many students are in the class, they will all be able to take the test, because professors in a traditional test-taking program have planned to give the test to all of their students.
“I feel when I pay for a class, I have also secured my personal seat on testing day, and no one should be able to take that away from me,” Batiste said.
“What if I’m working or busy with other obligations and the test is full within a three-hour window after it becomes available? I just lose my opportunity to take the test. No, I don’t agree with that.”
CASA is a great idea and has some very good aspects, but it is debatable whether it is achieving its goal of adequately serving students.
It should be guaranteed that there will be enough space in the class for the student to take advantage of all the aspects of that class; testing is one of those aspects.
Opinion columnist Derail Texada is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected]