Thursday, December 3, 2009

DeVry Uses LabSim A+ in SkillsUSA Event

High school technology students are participating in a unique, skills-building event today at the Irving Campus of DeVry University, and TestOut’s LabSim A+ course is supporting their experience. Part of a SkillsUSA event, 85 students from high schools around north Texas are competing in the computer maintenance skills test that includes both written and hands-on portions. LabSim’s A+ course is the content used in the skills test, with a focus on the hands-on lab simulations that differentiate LabSim from other A+ courses.

Today’s competition hosted by DeVry is a practice competition to help prepare students for the state and national SkillsUSA competitions in coming months, where winners will be awarded their actual A+ certification. Bill McClure, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Sciences at DeVry, said, “We set up the same types of scenarios, exams, and skills tests that students will have at the state and national levels. They get exposure to having to complete the tasks within a time limit.” McClure said that students don’t see the requirements for their computer maintenance test until they are at the competition, and they have to “work under pressure” to complete the exams.

Students have been preparing for the computer maintenance competition through the coursework and labs they’ve completed in their high schools. In some of their classes, they’ve experienced building computers or taking them apart—tasks they would face in a real A+ certification exam. “The challenge for us at DeVry is to come up with skills tests similar to what students have been exposed to in high school.” DeVry also receives guidelines from SkillsUSA that help them plan the test content and make it similar to A+.

DeVry knew that LabSim would be their best solution to the computer maintenance test. DeVry uses the LabSim A+ course in their own college courses, and DeVry instructors were familiar enough with it to make suggestions about the specific LabSim modules to include in the SkillsUSA competition. Even though the competing students have never used the LabSim A+ software, McClure and DeVry instructors felt confident incorporating it. “We thought LabSim was a good way to approach this competition because it is really easy to work with,” McClure said.

We’re looking forward to hearing from DeVry and learning the outcome of the competition. Watch for a follow-up entry on The LabSim Experience to read more details about the students’ experiences with LabSim and A+.

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