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All first-year students entering JMU in Fall 2021 must complete a series of assessments (e.g., multiple-choice tests, surveys, and essays) to fulfill their Assessment Day requirement. Assessments can be completed remotely between 7/22/21 and 8/19/21 and should take no more than 120 minutes. Instructions for how to access the assessments will be sent to your Dukes email account by 7/22/21 from assessment@jmu.edu. All assessments must be completed by 8/19/21 to avoid an enrollment hold. Results are used to inform program improvements and your performance will not impact your university record, grades, or placement into programs/courses. To find out more about Assessment Day, including what kind of assessments are administered and how the results are used, please refer to the FAQs below or watch this short video. For further information, contact assessment@jmu.edu.

 Do I have to attend Assessment Day?

If you have received an email from the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (assessment@jmu.edu) alerting you of your required participation in Assessment Day, then your participation is required. There are two Assessment Days each year: a Fall Assessment Day in August and a Spring Assessment Day in February. Incoming freshmen are required to participate in the Fall Assessment Day and students (even transfer students) that have earned between 45 and 70 credits prior to the spring semester are required to participate in the Spring Assessment Day. You cannot test out of these assessments. If you are uncertain about whether you must participate, contact the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (assessment@jmu.edu). Unless you have been informed otherwise by us, if you are required to participate and fail to do so, a hold will be placed on your record, preventing you from registering for classes and adding/dropping classes. 

 What does participation in Assessment Day look like and how can I prepare?

All incoming first-year students must complete a series of assessments (e.g., multiple-choice tests, surveys, and essays) to fulfill their Assessment Day requirement. Assessments can be completed remotely between 7/22/21 and 8/19/21 and should take no more than 120 minutes. Results are used to inform program improvements and your performance will not impact your university record, grades, or placement into programs/courses. Preparing for Assessment Day includes knowing when testing begins and getting a good night’s rest the night before testing.

Instructions for how to access the assessments will be sent to your Dukes email account by 7/22/21 from assessment@jmu.edu. All assessments must be completed by 8/19/21 to avoid an enrollment hold.

There is no need to study for Assessment Day; JMU simply wants to know what you know, think and can do at the time of testing. Although we do not expect you to have mastered any or all of the concepts that will be assessed, we do expect you to put forth your best effort on all assessments.

 What do I do if I don’t have access to a computer (or the internet)?

  • If you do not have access to a computer (or the internet), please contact us (assessment@jmu.edu) to make alternative arrangements.

 What kind of assessments will I be completing?

Expect to complete three to five assessments associated with your general education coursework and JMU experiences. A variety of assessments are administered. For example, you might be asked to complete assessments in quantitative and scientific reasoning, information literacy, critical thinking, cultural competency, environmental stewardship, communication, global history, American history, arts, humanities, or health and wellness. You might also be asked to respond to questions pertaining to your attitudes, values, perceptions, or behaviors. Not all students receive the same assessments. JMU uses the information you provide on Assessment Day to improve programs on campus that serve a large number of undergraduate students. Therefore, your efforts on Assessment Day will help improve the JMU student experience and make JMU a better university.

 Can I access other resources (e.g., books, internet) when completing the assessments?

Although it may be tempting to use the internet or other resources to help answer questions, we ask that you do not do so because the purpose of these assessments is to understand what JMU students know at this point in time (not what JMU students can find out on the internet at this point in time). Furthermore, Assessment Day scores do not affect your academic record in any way, so there is no reason to cheat. In fact, cheating would be a violation of the Honor Code and a disservice to you and other JMU students as it would hinder JMU from making appropriate programmatic changes in response to Assessment Day results. We simply ask that you work independently and try your best.

 What does JMU do with the information collected on Assessment Day? Why is Assessment Day important to me?

The information collected on Assessment Day is used in a variety of ways. First, assessment results are shared with faculty committees and administrators across the campus. The results are used to inform program changes and improvements, which in turn lead to a higher quality of education for all JMU students. Second, the assessments you will take on Assessment Day enable JMU to answer important questions being asked by students, parents, employers, and legislators about what a college degree is worth. Third, the Commonwealth of Virginia mandates that all state universities assess student learning to ensure quality.

Assessment Day is important to you because it helps to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality education and makes the quality of your education known to external groups (e.g., graduate schools, employers). These assessments help us show stakeholders what being a JMU graduate means. By giving your best effort on these assessments, you are helping to preserve the reputation of JMU, which, in turn, will help you get into a graduate program or get a job in the future.

 What if I need testing accommodations (e.g. extended time, enlarged computer screen) because of a disability?

The table below contains instructions for students needing various types of testing accommodations on Assessment Day. Although you do not need to be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to receive these accommodations, we highly suggest you register with ODS early in your academic career by calling 540-568-6705 or visiting Student Success Center, Suite 1202. Please contact the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (assessment@jmu.edu) with any questions or concerns.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Instruction

Extended time

With the exception of the ETS’ HEIghten Critical Thinking Test, students can take as much time as needed when taking the assessments remotely. Although we provide suggested times for each test, these suggestions are only to help students plan how much time it might take them to complete each assessment.

If you have been assigned to take the ETS’ HEIghten Critical Thinking Test and need extended time, please contact us (assessment@jmu.edu) before beginning the test.   

Enlarged computer screen, Reader, Scribe, Assistive Technology

For assistance with these accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) by calling 540-568-6705 or visiting the Student Success Center, Suite 1202. Please contact ODS at least two weeks prior to the Assessment Day requirement deadline to make arrangements. 

 What is the purpose of testing transfer students on Spring Assessment Day?

Transfer students provide an invaluable resource for comparing JMU’s award winning general education program to other general education programs across the country. By participating in Assessment Day, transfer students are helping to identify areas of strength and weakness in JMU’s general education program. With this information in hand, changes can be made to better serve JMU’s student population and increase JMU’s national reputation.

 How does my attendance and performance on Assessment Day affect my student record?

Assessment results are used to inform program changes and improvements, which in turn lead to a higher quality of education for all JMU students. Your scores on the assessments will not become part of your student record, GPA, or placement into programs/courses. However, all students are expected to participate in Assessment Day and provide good effort on the assessments. Unless you have been informed otherwise by us, if you fail to complete all the assessments assigned to you, a hold will be placed on your student record. This hold will prevent you from adding or dropping classes within the current semester and will prevent you from registering for future classes. If you receive a hold for not participating in Assessment Day, the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS) will contact you directly with information on how to get the hold removed. For more information, please contact CARS at assessment@jmu.edu.

  How do I install the ETS online testing browser and take the ETS HEIghten Critical Thinking Test?

Some students on Assessment Day are required to complete the ETS HEIghten Critical Thinking Test which requires use of the ETS online testing browser. Students required to complete this test were informed via an email from assessment@jmu.edu. Information about the browser and instructions for installing the browser and taking the test are below.

About the ETS online testing browser

The browser will allow you to take the test and it is a lockdown browser, meaning all other applications on your computer will be unavailable while it is activated. It is similar to the lockdown browser you may have used in Canvas for remote testing.

The browser is actually an app. Once you have downloaded and used the app for testing, you can easily delete it from your device.

Some universities use ProctorU, a proctoring service for remote testing, with the ETS test. We will not be using ProctorU for this administration.

Installing the ETS online testing browser

  • Install the browser on the same computer and same internet connection that will be used on Assessment Day. You can install the browser on a Mac or Windows computer, or iPad. During installation and testing, make sure your device is connected to a power source. The browser is not compatible with Linux computers or Chromebooks.
  • You will need to use the most recent version of either Internet Explorer or Safari, which can be checked here: ets.org (It likely will work with Chrome, but ETS recommends Internet Explorer or Safari.)
  • Make sure pop-up windows are allowed on your browser (instructions are provided here for Internet Explorer and here for Safari )
  • Go to the ETS site readiness website at ets.org
    • When asked to link your device to your institution, select “Skip this step”
    • Skip “1. Check Readiness”; proceed to “2. Download the ETS Online Testing Browser (used only for unproctored and on-campus proctored exams)” and select “Get the ETS Online Testing Browser”
    • The next page will either show your platform type (e.g., Windows) or allow you options for accessing the App for various platform types (e.g., Mac, iPad). Download the app. Depending on your browser settings, the Secure Browser file will download in one of the following ways:
      • The file will automatically download to the default location, typically your desktop or Downloads
      • You will be prompted to run or save the file. Select Save. The file will download to the default location. Take note of where the application was downloaded as you will need to access it for testing.
    • WARNING! If you hit Run after downloading or double-click the application, this will activate the browser. Because this browser is designed to allow you only to take the test while it is active, all other applications on your computer will be unavailable while it is activated. If you activate the browser, a white screen will appear with a green bar (indicating the browser is loading) and you won’t see anything else on your screen. Unless you are ready to take the test, select Close to exit out of the browser.

Taking the test

On 7/21 you will be sent an email from assessment@jmu.edu with the session number for the test, which you will need to access the test after activating the browser. The browser is only needed for the ETS test. The other tests you will be completing need only a standard web browser.

Support

We’re here to help! If you have any questions or concerns, please call 540-568-7169 or email assessment@jmu.edu. If you contact us between 8AM-5PM EST, we should be able to respond immediately. Otherwise, we will return your email or call as soon as possible.

You can also contact ETS’ Technical Support.

  • Call: 1-800-514-8491, Monday – Friday, 8 am to 6 pm Eastern Time for assistance. (Select option 1 for after-hours assistance).
  • Email: HEIghtenSupport@testsys.com(Note that emails are only answered during regular business hours.)

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