Proctors cause delays in ACT test administration


Graphic by Theresa Lee

A proctor reads the directions from a computer while a student takes the ACT. Delays occurred during the February ACT for some students because of proctors’ confusion with computer instructions.

While taking the February ACT at Glenbrook North and experiencing confusion and delays in his testing room, junior Matthew Sasaki felt frustrated and distracted. Sasaki experienced these problems after it appeared to him that the proctor in his testing room was unsure how to navigate the computerized instructions.

“If [the proctor] wanted to go to the next step on the instructions, [it looked like] she actually didn’t know how to use her computer [to do so],” Sasaki said. 

After the proctor was unable to continue to the next stage of directions, the testing coordinator was called to the testing room to resolve the situation, Sasaki said.  

“[The testing coordinator] was like, ‘You just have to hit the ‘next’ button,’” Sasaki said. 

ACT Testing Coordinator Katie McKeown, who resolved the issues in Sasaki’s testing room, said an issue that has come up is proctors begin giving instructions from the preview section of the test directions when they should be starting from the active section. 

“[The proctors] get rerouted back to the active section with a testing coordinator … because I have a dashboard and I can see all of the test rooms [and what step] they’re at the whole time the test administration is running,” McKeown said.

Torch asked Mckeown for contact information of proctors working at GBN during the February ACT, but the request was declined. 

Edward Colby, senior director of media and public relations for ACT, said in an email exchange that they rarely receive complaints about issues with proctors. 

“If there are issues, however, students or parents may report them to ACT, and we investigate every report,” said Colby. “Once we have completed our investigation, we respond in a way that is appropriate to our findings.”

Students can report incidents through ACT’s customer service as well as the test security hotline, Colby said. 

According to Sasaki, his test was delayed about 30 to 45 minutes because of the proctor having trouble with computer instructions.

All testing centers have been required to use computerized test instructions since last September, because it makes the test administration process more efficient and cost-effective, Colby said.

Proctors and testing coordinators work for ACT, not GBN or the other schools at which the tests take place.

ACT proctors are given training modules that help them understand how to use the computer system and provide the rules and guidelines for the proctors to follow in administering the test. 

Sasaki said he was distracted when he realized other students were already taking the test while his testing room was still waiting on instructions. 

“Overall, the experience was frustrating because of the unnecessary time that was taken up for the [proctor] trying to figure out how to use her computer,” Sasaki said.