This academic year, more than 1,500 students will take the senior exit exam, a test that determines additional funding for Tech and is required for graduation by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The exit exam is a 45-minute, multiple-choice exam that complies with California Critical Thinking Skills Test requirements.
Sharon Huo, associate provost of academic affairs, said the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) requires the exit exam.
“The exam is a performance evaluation for students,” said Huo. “It is part of the funding program used by the THEC.”
Huo said the exam allows public universities and colleges to have an assessment incentive. Scores are based on student performances and the excellency of the school’s programs.
The exit exam is just one way to measure student performance. The THEC funding program assessment is comprised of seven scored sections, including major field assessment, academic program accreditation and evaluation, satisfaction studies and job placement, among others. The seven sections receive scores that can total a possible 100 points.
The exit exam counts for 15 possible points.
“The funding program will allow us to qualify for an additional 5.45 percent of the operating budget,” Huo said. “This means every point we earn on the assessment is worth $30,000 for a possible $3 million total.”
Lorrie McCracken is an academic support associate who has been with Tech more than 30 years. She said she stresses the importance of student participation in the senior exit exam.
“TTU is always above the national average in our scores for the exit exam,” McCracken said. “It’s very important that students put their best effort forth to secure funding for Tech and for future classes.”
Last year, Tech tested 1,550 seniors. Tech students scored a full point above the national average.
When combined with the other six scored sections, Tech achieved a 97.5 out of 100 points.
McCracken said these high scores indicate that most students do give the test their best effort, although some do not take the exam seriously.
“We will call students back to retake the exam if we think they did not try,” said McCracken. “If we think they did not give it their best effort the day of the exam, we will hand it back and encourage them to go back, sit down and look it over their answers. We don’t have to do it often though. Most everyone gives it a conscientious effort.”
Students cannot walk across the graduation stage without taking the exam. McCracken said she does her best to help students satisfy this graduation requirement.
“We use email, mailboxes and Tech Times to remind students,” McCracken said. “If we can’t reach them, I will contact their department head about non-respondents and [he or she] will remind those students to register for the exam.”
The test is offered eight times in one week once a semester. Class excuses are offered to ensure students register and complete the exam.
This semester, the test will be offered Monday, Nov. 11 through Thursday, Nov. 14. The exam will be administered at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
There are exceptions for some graduating seniors. Those who register English as a second language, have received a previous bachelor’s of science or arts, have been out of high school 15 or more years or are enrolled in the 2+2 program in the College of Education are exempt from the exam.
For more information about the senior exit exam or to register, visit www.tntech.edu/records/grad/.