NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines: Introduction


The NCTA Standards and Guidelines are intended to serve as a model for post-secondary test centers in the delivery of quality testing services. The term "test center" in this document refers to the office or portion of an office at an educational institution that is responsible for test administration duties. This includes delivery of national standardized tests, placement exams, classroom makeup tests, non-standard exam administrations for students with disabilities, certification exams, distance exams, etc. Since 2010, these Standards and Guidelines have been used in the NCTA Test Center Certification program to ensure that certified centers are following best practices.

This document contains two major divisions, the Standards and the Guidelines. The Standards contain policy and broader issues applicable to all test centers, while the Guidelines are very specific steps or procedures for Paper-Based Testing (PBT) and Computer-Based Testing (CBT). The Guidelines are intended to provide helpful information to new testing professionals, institutional personnel setting up a new test center, or test center staff who are reorganizing an existing test center.

The NCTA Standards and Guidelines endorse requirements without directly enforcing them, allowing discretion appropriate to specific programs. They have been and will continue to be updated by NCTA to reflect developments in the testing field. These Standards and Guidelines have important benefits for all involved in the testing process:

Benefits for Examinees

Benefits for Test Companies (any organization that contracts with test centers to administer tests)

Benefits for Test Centers

Benefits for Institutions

Benefits for NCTA