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Duane Goupell (center) and staff of UW Oshkosh Testing Services helped the department earn NCTA certification in late July.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Testing Services center has, once again, made the grade and then some.

Over the summer, the busy Forrest R. Polk Library-based center designed to help assess and advance students through their academic and professional journeys, was awarded Test Center Certification by the National College Testing Association (NCTA).

“Criteria for certification are rigorous and are based on the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines, which were developed to guide post-secondary test centers in the delivery of quality testing programs,” the NCTA announced in late July. “The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Testing Services is one of the few test centers in the U.S. and Canada to have completed this intensive certification process.  This certification will be in place for five years and can be renewed by demonstrating continued compliance to national standards.”

“It recognizes us nationally as having standards in place – recognizes us as a professional organization,” said Duane Goupell, director of Testing Services at UW Oshkosh.

Professional… and incredibly dedicated and hard-working.

In 2011 alone, the 14-member team comprising Testing Services staff and student workers administered a whopping, more-than 23,000 tests, including 19,230 campus-connected tests – those including classroom tests, placement tests and correspondence tests.

The department’s grand total included more than 1,600 certification tests administered – the skill-and-knowledge-assessing exams that local, regional, state and national agencies and companies require for current and prospective employees.

The tests may gauge everything from a student’s information-technology skills to his or her readiness to serve as an emergency medical technician or alcohol-and-other-drugs counselor to Federal Aviation Administration recreational pilot prowess.

“A lot of employment areas are moving toward certification,” Goupell said. “It’s adding credentials to a resume. It’s saying, ‘You’ve met somebody’s standards.”

Testing Services also administered more than 2,300 GRE, MCATS and Praxis tests, each designed to gauge students’ preparedness for graduate studies or other advance degree programs.

The NCTA applauded Goupell and his staff for “maintaining high test administration standards and for providing excellent service to a wide variety of students and community members in the performance of their duties.”

Goupell said he and his staff are proud of the work that went into earning the NCTA certification. But he said the recognition is a greater source of pride for the entire UW Oshkosh organization, which relies heavily on Testing Services to help strengthen and propel students.

“It’s good for the campus community to know that theirs is a recognized campus organization,” Goupell said. “It’s more than ‘about us.’”

The National College Testing Association describes itself as “a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of professionalism and high quality service in the administration of testing programs, offers certification to college and university test centers that demonstrate exemplary practices. NCTA membership numbers more than 1,750 testing professionals from 615 colleges and universities as well as 42 test companies and organizations offering test-related products and services.”

Goupell also was one of six NCTA Test Center Certification Committee members to earn the organization’s President’s Award in late August for their work to help develop a test center certification.

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