News from the Exams Institute, Fall 2012

The Exams Institute is gearing up for a very busy summer. We have had several tests in trial testing this past year and committees are getting together at the Biennial Conference and at the ACS Meeting in Philadelphia to go over statistics and set the final version of the exam. We are excited to get together with so many dedicated volunteers and see what results from their work. I have often said that one of the biggest difference between doing committee work for ACS Exams and the more traditional committee work that we all contribute to our local colleges and universities is that at the end of an ACS Exam Development committee there’s something tangible to point to. In my experience, that’s not always true for my other committee work.

It seems reasonable to give a round up of the exams that will be entering their final stages of preparation at this time.

  • 2012 General Chemistry First Term Exam, chaired by Jeff Woodford of Missouri Western College will be available for use in classrooms this fall.
  • 2012 Physical Chemistry – Thermodynamics Exam, chaired by Alex Grushow of Rider University, will be released this fall. The Quantum Chemistry version of the exam will likely follow in the Spring 2013. At this point we also need PChem instructors who will be teaching kinetics topics this fall to contact us to trial test items. There will no longer be a separate Dynamics exam in the PChem suite of exams, but we need to develop kinetics/dynamics items for the comprehensive exam and the flexible use “Combined Semester” exam. Please contact us at if you think you may be able to help with this aspect of exam development.
  • 2013 Analytical Chemistry Exam, chaired by Douglas Beussman of St. Olaf College. At this time we expect this exam to be ready in January, but it may be released still this fall.
  • 2013 Biochemistry Exam, chaired by Christy Miller of Adams State University. This exam will follow a new format that we are referring to as “core-plus” so those who choose to use it in a one-semeseter course will use a shorter 40-item core, and those who use it for a two-semester course will use the full 60-item exam.
  • 2013 General Chemistry Exam, chaired by Bill Donovan of the University of Akron, will be released in January
  • 2013 General-Organic-Biochemistry Exam, chaired by Jeannie Collins of the University of Southern Indiana will be released in January of 2013.
  • 2013 High School Chemistry Exam, chaired by Mark Dibben of the US Air Force Academy Preparatory School will be released in February 2013.
  • 2013 Laboratory Assessment for General Chemistry, chaired by Jimmy Reeves of the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and Deborah Exton of the University of Oregon. This is an on-line only exam that we anticipate having ready for purchased use this fall or early in spring.

It is important to note that the completion of these exams doesn’t imply development stops on exams. Several other committees are already working (including the new second-semester general chemistry exam and the first-semester organic chemistry exam). Several of the exams that are finishing up will start the next version soon as well, so if you are interested in serving on a General Chemistry committee, for example, we’d be happy to hear from you. We’ll also need to start work soon on the next Inorganic Chemistry exam and the next Instrumental Analysis exam, so volunteers in those subjects are also being sought. To serve on an exam development committee you should be currently teaching the course in which the exam would be used. You can contact our general email – noted earlier – or contact me personally at and I would love to hear from you.

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