Office of Academic Assessment
Some Basic Information for Proficiency Profile
What is the Proficiency Profile test?
Proficiency Profile is a standardized instrument available from Educational Testing Services (ETS) which provides information on student performance in the areas of skills in reading/critical thinking, writing, and mathematics, as well as content scores for humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
To see some sample questions, click here.
Why is Proficiency Profile administered at UNI?
Proficiency Profile was identified by a subcommittee of the Liberal Arts Core Committee as one resource for measuring student learning outcomes in areas of knowledge and ability that are the focus of the Liberal Arts Core.
The test has been administered to groups of students from the incoming freshman class and from the senior class since the fall of 2004. Proficiency Profile test results provide insights on student learning in skill areas specific to the Liberal Arts Core, as well as to skills necessary for college graduates in general.
Test results from Proficiency Profile are also used to report student learning at UNI on the College Portrait page for the university.
What kinds of information do Proficiency Profile data provide?
Individual students receive a total score for the test, with 500 as the highest score. For groups of 50 or more test takers, ETS also provides proficiency scores and norm-referenced scores.
For each of three skill areas—critical thinking/reading, writing, and mathematics—Proficiency Profile provides proficiency scores three levels of performances. To provide just one example of what these proficiencies mean, at Level 1 of Critical Thinking/ Reading, students can “Understand the meaning of particular words or phrases in the context of a reading passage”; at Level 2, students can “Discern the main idea, purpose, or focus of a passage or a significant portion of the passage”; and at Level 3, students can “ Determine the relevance of information for evaluating an argument or conclusion” and “Recognize flaws and inconsistencies in an argument.” For complete descriptions of all of the proficiency levels, click here.
In addition to the proficiency scores, Proficiency Profile also provides norm-referenced scores for the areas of critical thinking/reading, writing, and mathematics as well as scores for student performance related to understanding content from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, along with a total score. Norm referenced scores allow test performance for students at UNI to be compared with performance by students tested at comparable institutions.
Proficiency Profile scores for UNI can be assessed here, using Cat ID to enter the page.
Frequently-Asked Questions Relating to Proficiency Profile
Who takes the test?
The test is taken by first-year students at UNI early in the fall semester and by seniors near the end of the spring semester.
Where do students take the test?
Students take the test online, from their own computer or in a computer lab.
How do students access the online test site?
Students taking the test access the online test by linking to the test site through the Internet and entering the test with an assigned session number.
How long does the test take to complete?
Students have 40 minutes to take the test itself. Including completion of personal profile information and a brief review of how the test page operates, students should be able to complete the test in around an hour.
Who sees student scores?
Individual scores are kept confidential; they are not provided to students’ major department or college. Aggregate scores for a tested group are accessed from a password-protected section of the web page for the UNI Office of Academic Assessment.