Curriculum Changes Prompt Proctoring Adjustments


Mckenzie Rhone, Editor

Steve Pearson worked as a counselors at Decatur, and since retirement, he proctored AP exams annually. This is his first year proctoring IB exams.

“When the test is done, the test is not done – the test is on us,” Steve Pearson, retired Decatur counselor and long time proctor for testing, said.

Steve Pearson and Sacra Vaughan both worked together as counselors, and since retirement, proctor AP exams annually. This is the first year they proctored IB exams, and both see many differences between AP and IB testing.

To Pearson, IB testing feels more flexible in some ways. He notes how the tests are generally shorter and the instructions shorter and more straightforward. Pearson prefers IB testing for its more “laissez faire” feeling, but also finds the IB testing to be stricter in different ways.

“In AP I let one person use the restroom at a time. I keep them on the clock but that’s their choice, “ he said. “With IB, I really cant do that.”

Even with the bathroom challenges, Pearson and Vaughn enjoy the time they save proctoring IB exams. After AP exams, they have to fill out forms, answer questions, check up on Fedex to make sure the tests arrive at a certain time and counting everything to make sure numbers match up. With IB testing, unlike with AP, the tests are sent off the day they are taken.

“Thank god for IB because after AP tests she and I would spend hours sorting and filling out paperwork,” Pearson said.

IB Coordinator Wes Hatfield agrees.

“IB tests are a godsend. So much easier.”

According to Vaughn, Hatfield is the man who deserves the most praise during testing season.

“We are just his [Hatfield’s] little workers,” she said. “He is the one who really drives the whole process.”

Despite changes in curriculum, Pearson and Vaughan still maintain their own styles of proctoring and of getting student focused “without adding more stress to the situation”

“I have a sort of humor to me,” Pearson said. “There is a fine line, though, between humor and making sure we do everything we need to do on time.”

You have a lot more people doing IB and AP then when we started proctoring. I remember 3 or 4 years ago you had kinds talking and laughing but now kids are ready to go

Vaughn’s style is different.

“She has a soft style to her,” Pearson says with Vaughn nodding in agreement. “A style where kids don’t act out whereas with me you get kids who will talk.”

Pearson and Vaughn get paid to proctor the exams, but money is not their primary incentive.

“I just love being around you guys,” Pearson said. “Well … most of the time.”