Streamlining Benchmark Testing for Allied Health in Birmingham, AL

Streamlining Benchmark Testing for Allied Health in Birmingham, AL
School Name and Location: 
Virginia College
The Challenge: 

Karen Davis' first observation when she came to Virgina College was the lack of an adequate way to prepare learners for Allied Health testing. As an Allied Health program specialist, she spent hours creating practice tests for students by pulling questions from sample tests that she had on file.

Her only other option was to have each learner buy an additional textbook for $25. Unfortunately, the books offered an inadequate test bank and more out-of-pocket expense to learners, and the questions did not fully prepare learners for testing. After the learners took the practice tests, instructors were then required to hand grade each test.

Additionally, Virginia College's faculty still had no way to track overall student progress. Davis knew they needed a program that would make preparing for, taking, and assessing the precertification test easier.

How They Did it: 

Davis called upon NorthstarWorkforce Readiness, an affordable, easy-to-use online practice and preparation program designed to help students improve scores on Allied Health certification and licensing exams.

"I decided to approach the board with a program that had been introduced at my previous school before I came to Virginia College," said Davis."I created a presentation to show what Northstar could offer. As soon as everyone saw the program, they knew it was what we needed."

The teachers were immediately hooked on the tracking feature that allows educators to see where learners stand, how long it takes them to complete tasks, what their average grades are, and what they need to work on before taking the official test. Students enjoyed being able to manage their own learning, and they better understood where they needed extra practice.

Northstar Workforce Readiness made implementation easy by sending a training representative to each campus to show program directors how to use the product.

Success: 

Program directors now have made Northstar Workforce Readiness a requirement from the beginning of enrollment in Virginia College's Allied Health program. At the end of each week, they take a test based on their expected skills to that point. Using the test as an assessment tool for overall knowledge, they set a goal of 75 by week eight to identify if the learner is ready for testing or needs remediation in specific areas. This tracking ability gives instructors time to review topics learners may not have mastered.

Northstar Workforce Readiness gives Virgina College learners the flexibility and convenience to access the program remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection and to print tests for completion from home.

Learners have thrived with more autonomy, and instructors have been relieved of some of the manual work related to assessing students, allowing them to focus on data analysis, learner progress, and improvement. For Davis, Northstar Workforce Readiness serves as a great performance validation resource. "I think back to how many times I burned the midnight oil creating questions and am so thankful for Northstar," added Davis. "Not only has it been easier on me, but the students have proved it works for them."

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