CWU News

New Affiliation a Big Score for CWU Testing Center

From British Columbia to central Oregon, Central Washington University's Testing Center is a regional resource that provides a secure facility for national and international testing companies. Recently, the Testing Center became an even more vital resource by becoming a Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center.

Pearson VUE is a part of Pearson, PLC, a $9 billion corporation that is the largest commercial testing company and education publisher in the world.

Pearson VUE offers the Washington Educators Skills Test (WEST) Basic and Endorsements (B&E) exams for teachers, plus a variety of certification exams including CompTIA, Cisco Systems, C++ Institute, and Linux, along with the new computer-based GED. Recently, Microsoft announced that Pearson VUE will be its sole delivery provider for certification and other exams effective January 1, 2015.

“That means that all the Yahoo, Google and Microsoft employees who need their certifications for the data farms up in Quincy will be able to take their tests here,” said William Thelen, director of the Testing Center.

The Testing Center, which serves, on average, more than 500 people per month, has attracted testing companies that provide exams for agencies such as the FBI, the US Border Patrol and the US Postal Service, in part because of the center’s rigorous security measures.

“Security is a major concern, not just to prevent people from cheating, but also to prevent people from stealing the material of the actual tests,” said Thelen. “There is a huge market for answers and content from many of the exams we offer especially admissions exams such as the LSAT and MCAT, and exams for non-native English speakers such as the TOEIC and TOEFL.

“We restrict what people can take into the examination room, and for one particular testing company, we have to ‘wand’ them—use a metal detector wand, similar to those used by the TSA in airports, to detect electronic devices.”

Thelen also said that every bit of scratch paper must be accounted for after tests, “even if it was used to wrap discarded gum.”

Thelen and his staff, Deborah Williams and Jessica Scott, are certified as proctors for each testing company and are monitored by the testing companies they contract with to ensure that they maintain high security standards.

“There is no one else like us in this area,” said Thelen. “We provide entrance exams for EMS Paramedicine Program, proctor construction management exams and administer the Automotive Service Excellence exams for mechanics from all over the region including Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Cle Elum and of course, Yakima.” 

The Testing Center also oversees the 60-plus health and fitness exams offered through the CASTLE testing company, including tests from the American Council of Exercise, the Board of Pharmacy Specialists, and the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board. The center also offers services such as proctoring exams for online courses and employment screening for public safety professionals.

This is all in addition to providing testing services for the university community. The Testing Center provides space, proctors, scribes and readers for classroom tests for students with disabilities. For faculty, they can score exams completed on Scantrons and provide extensive reports on the results.

“There are a ton of programs that use our services,” said Thelen. “And we’re always available to help faculty. Just let us know and we’ll work with you to provide the testing service you need.”

CWU’s Testing Center is located in Bouillon 125, and is open year-round. For more information, go to

For more information about Pearson VUE go to

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,