News from the Exams Institute, Fall 2016

Greetings to all from ACS Exams.

The first half of 2016 has been busy at ACS Exams.  We have finalized all aspects of our moves, which were completed in two phases.  In late winter, Tom Holme, assisted by our staff at Iowa State University, Kristie Romsdahl and Jana Taylor, moved all exams and many business files.  With the completion of the first stage, all exam orders and fulfillment were conducted from our news offices in Berthoud, CO, keeping all study order and fulfillment in Ames until the spring busy season was over.  At the beginning of June, again aided by Kristie and Jana, two more trucks were loaded with the remaining business files and all remaining study guides bound for Colorado and the intellectual property, archive and exam development files bound for Wisconsin.  We have now shut down all operations in Ames, Iowa, and are fully operational with all business functions (including all orders and fulfillment) conducted from our permanent home in Berthoud, Colorado, and all intellectual property and research and development functions conducted from our space at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Our website has also transitioned to  In all, we estimate that we moved approximately 25,000 pounds of paper!

Most importantly, we have had the privilege of continuing to work with Tom Holme over the last year.  Tom graciously agreed to assist in the transition from Iowa to our new model for business operations in his one-year term as Assistant Director of Business Operations.  Throughout all of this, I am continually honored to work with such a great leader and friend.  ACS Exams was transformed through Tom’s dedication and integrity, and the effects of this will always be part of the continued success and health of ACS Exams.

We continue to welcome new faces and bid farewell to friends in our staff.  On the business side, Kristie Romsdahl, Jana Taylor and Mackenzie Boedeker have found new opportunities, and we truly wish them well.  On the research and development side, Sachel Villafane has completed her brief postdoctoral position with us to begin a new faculty position.  We wish everyone well in their endeavors!  We also welcome Cherie Krayna to our office staff.

Exam development continues on many fronts as well.  We have recently released two new exams: a conceptual high-school chemistry exam and a sophomore-level inorganic chemistry exam.  We are excited at both the enthusiasm shown by the exam committees during development and the possibilities of offering these new exams to faculty and instructors.  We have also released the newest versions of the high school chemistry exam, organic chemistry (full year) exam, first-term general chemistry exam and conceptual general chemistry exam (first-term, second-term and full year).  We are in development on many exams also.  In trial testing this fall are the biochemistry exam, instrumental analysis exam, diagnostic of undergraduate chemical knowledge (DUCK) exam, first-term general chemistry paired questions exam, analytical chemistry exam and first-term organic chemistry exam.  We are also field testing a new Toledo Placement exam in a new electronic environment.  If you are interested in participating in field testing, please let us know.  As always, there is no cost to you as we provide all test booklets and answer sheets.  We do request that you return student performances to us to assist us in the final stage of exam development.  Finally, we are in development (with expected field testing in 2017) of the organic chemistry (full year) exam, second-term general chemistry exam and general-organic-biochemistry exam.  We are very appreciative of the vast number of faculty and instructors who serve on these exam committees and the chairs who lead these groups.  If you are interested in serving on future exam committees, please let us know.  We are regularly starting new committees, particularly in general and organic chemistry.

Maintaining the security and integrity of the intellectual property of our exams and study materials are of the highest priority and are part of regular operations at ACS Exams.  Unfortunately, we continue to deal with illegal posting of our intellectual property online predominately the posting of scans of the study guides.  We take very seriously the trust the community has in the integrity of our exams and appreciate the support by the community to assist in maintaining this. 

As always, ACS Exams would not function without the numerous and dedicated board members, exam committee chairs and members, trial testing faculty and instructors, and the focus group participants.  The highest quality work that ACS Exams has the honor of producing is only possible due to the many, many people who contribute to this work.  It continues to be a humbling and extraordinary experience working with you all.  And, if you are interested in working with us on exam committees or through development projects, please let us know.  For this and all other concerns or matters related to ACS Exams, please feel free to contact me at

We thank you all for your continued support of ACS Exams!

Best to you all,

Kristen Murphy

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