Proctoring – A Most Important Job
One of the most important roles of AAPC’s local chapter officers is proctoring the certification examinations. A great deal of responsibility has been placed in the officers’ hands as it is their charge to ensure exams are administered accurately and fairly as per AAPC’s requirements. Strict adherence to the rules is critical in maintaining the integrity of the credentials for the whole organization. If there is a breakdown in the process, every certified member of AAPC is affected.
Most of our proctors pay careful attention to the rules and do their best to proctor appropriately. We appreciate your efforts. Unfortunately, we frequently experience complications associated with the examination process. We have generally observed that these complications are due to a proctor’s failure to follow the rules. Recent complications include the following:
- Proctors who failed to properly conduct book checks, causing some examinees to be unnecessarily turned away or to feel another has an unfair advantage.
- Proctors who allowed examinees to use unapproved reference materials, forcing examinees to retest.
- Proctors who failed to show up on exam day to carry out their responsibilities, forcing examinees to reschedule.
- Proctors who failed to establish a proper testing environment, causing examinees to complain about an inability to concentrate, which ultimately affects their scores.
- Proctors who did not follow proper procedure for returning the completed exams (placing exam grids in the mail without any postage or not delivering the completed exam package to Fed Ex, etc.), forcing examinees to retest.
- Proctors who made inappropriate on-the-spot decisions during a test, despite having a hotline number for such emergencies, forcing examinees to retest.
When following-up after these situations, we have found that such proctors failed to read the proctor instructions thoroughly or follow the instructions strictly. Occasionally officers state they proctor so often that they feel they already know the rules, so they do not re-read them each time.
Proctors should put themselves in the shoes of the examinees. Not many would take well to having to retest because of an error on the part of the proctor, especially if it could have been avoided had the proctor read the instructions carefully or made a simple telephone call.
As a 2012 chapter officer, you should take an active role in proctoring exams for your chapter. You can help eliminate these issues by always remembering to do the following:
- Presidents: Train and prepare all proctors appropriately. All first proctors (or lead proctors) should be experienced proctors. Because all officers should be involved with proctoring sometime during the year, allow opportunities for inexperienced proctors to serve as the second proctor.
- Presidents: Contact the first and second proctors of every exam 30 days in advance to remind them of the proctoring date (AAPC will provide the president with a reminder email 30 days in advance).
- Presidents: Check that the exam site is still available 30 days in advance and that there are seats for all examinees.
- Presidents: Keep updated on the number of examinees for each scheduled exam so you can arrange for an additional proctor when there are 40 or more examinees.
- All officers who are proctoring: Carefully review all proctor instructions every time you proctor, in advance of the test. Keep in mind AAPC’s Exam Department frequently updates the proctor instructions, so although you may have proctored a month ago, please read the instructions again; something may have been changed or added.
- All officers who are proctoring: As you begin the exam and read the instructions, emphasize that the grid circles must be filled in properly. Noticeable erasure marks, lightly filled-in circles, or incompletely filled-in circles affect the grading and usually require extra time to be graded.
- All officers who are proctoring: In the case of an emergency, use AAPC’s exam hotline (801-836-4813). Make a note of it and keep it available for help with any issues on exam day. The phone number is also found in the proctor instructions. Do not be afraid to call; remember it is better to ask a silly question than to make a mistake which may have serious consequences. Note: This phone number is available during the entire testing time regardless of the time zone. When in doubt, call.
- All officers who are proctoring: Remember that although reimbursement for food, parking, and other expenses is appropriate, payment to individuals (officers or chapter members) for proctoring is not. The handbook states, “Local chapter officers and members should not profit for administering the certification examinations.”
- All officers who are proctoring: Be sure you are familiar with the proctor guidelines in the current Local Chapter Handbook, and stay abreast of the monthly email to officers from AAPC, which is where updated information is sent out.
- All officers who are proctoring: Respect the local chapter president as the person who has the ultimate responsibility for correct proctoring.
The 2012 Local Chapter Handbook states that officers who fail to proctor properly can be removed from office. In addition, chapters can temporarily have their proctoring privileges revoked and lose their proctor reimbursement.
Again, we stress that when breakdowns occur in the exam process, every certified member is affected. We need every member of AAPC to care about the quality of proctoring. We know you want each examinee to be fairly tested.
Thanks in advance to all of you for taking this message to heart, passing along the information, caring that the rules are followed, and helping us raise the level of accuracy each time the exam is administered.