Placement Testing: Past, Present, and Future

Report
Placement Testing: Past,
Present, and Future
Angela Zippin
University of Cincinnati
September 11, 2013
A Placement Testing Primer
• Placement tests
▫ ACCUPLACER (College Board)
▫ COMPASS (ACT)
• UC’s system
▫ Math Placement
▫ English Placement
• Predictive success*
• Test preparation
▫ *Scott-Clayton, Judith. “Do High-Stakes Placement Exams Predict College
Success?” Community College Research Center. February 2012.
Specific Cases
• University of Wisconsin
• Indiana University Northwest*
• Ohio State University
▫ *Pudar-Hozo, Stela .“A Better Placement Test Helps a Math Department in
Multiple Ways” The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 2013.
Popular Opinion on Placement Tests
• Not so popular, actually*
• Criticism
▫ Fairness, not everyone is skilled test-taker**
▫ Error rates***
▫ Finality of using one assessment tool
▫
▫
▫
*Burdman, Pamela. “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students
Starting College” Jobs for The Future. August 2012.
**Abdul-Alim, Jamaal. “Study on College Placement Exams Energizes Debate about Their
Effectiveness” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. August 2012.
***Adams, Caralee. “Research Looks at Value of Community College Placement Exam”
Education Week. March 2012.
Consequences
• Too much emphasis from institution, not
enough from students
• Financial
• Length of college career
• Placed too high: failing
• Placed too low: remediation black hole
Remediation
• Dangers for students
▫ Many students don’t make it out*
▫ Financial consequences
▫ Few diagnostic options: if we don’t know what
student weaknesses are, how can we help them?
▫ May be better for students to over-place than
under-place**
▫ *Fain, Paul. “Crash Course for Remediation” Inside Higher Ed. December 2012.
▫ **Scott-Clayton, Judith. “Are College Entrants Overdiagnosed as
Underprepared?” New York Times. April 2012.
Alternatives
• California leading the charge against placement
testing*
• Using GPA/GED**
▫ Holistic approach
▫ “We do not believe that the placement score alone
should be the only factor used to decide a student’s
placement into college-level classes”***
• Diagnostic testing
▫ Standard course placement, with support services
▫
▫
▫
*Frey, Susan. “Report questions efficacy and fairness of college placement tests” Ed Source. August 2012.
**Fain, Paul. “One-Stop Shop” Inside Higher Ed. June 2012.
***Abdul-Alim, Jamaal. “Study on College Placement Exams Energizes Debate about Their Effectiveness”
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. August 2012.
In Defense of Placement Testing
• Use of in-class support services
▫ Absolutely! But…
• GPA as unreliable
▫ Access*
▫ Different schools/courses, different measures**
▫ Non-traditional students***
▫
▫
▫
*Burdman, Pamela. “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students
Starting College” Jobs for The Future. August 2012.
Markle, Ross and Steve Robbins. “A Holistic View of Course Placement Decisions-Avoiding
the HS **GPA Trap” Educational Testing Service Report. March 2013.
***Attewell, Paul, et al. “New Evidence on College Remediation” The Journal of Higher Education.
Volume 77, Number 5, September/October 2006.
In Defense of Placement Testing
• Fact-checking critics
▫ Inaccurate measures
▫ Transparency
*
• Big picture
▫ Reshaping the assessments**
▫ Remediation will always be necessary
• Overplacement vs. Underplacement
▫
▫
*Boylan, Hunter and Alexandros Goudas. “Knee-Jerk Reforms on Remediation” Inside Higher
Ed. June 2012.
**Burdman, Pamela. “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students
Starting College” Jobs for The Future. August 2012.
UC Policies
• Who takes placement tests?
▫ ACT/SAT scores
• Testing Services involvement
▫ International Students
▫ CEAS
▫ Retakes
Who’s retaking the MPT?
A&S
Allied Health
Blue Ash
CCM
CEAS
CECH
Clermont
COB
CON
DAAP
Testing Services Involvement
• Issues of preparedness
▫ Overwhelmed, overstimulated
▫ The dreaded calculator issue
• Test security
• # of retakes
Proctoring vs. Nonproctoring
• What do we assume the impact will be?
• What should be the impact?
• Is placement testing low-stakes?
Campus-Wide Collaboration
• Math faculty
• Testing Services
▫ Data collection
• Advising
Advising
• Encourage test preparation
▫ Not to place high, but appropriately
▫ Severity of testing
▫ Preparation options
• Direct students to support services
▫ LAC and DSO as academic support
▫ Various SALD offices for cultural support
▫ CAPS for emotional support
What’s next
• What can we do to better serve our students?
• Where are the gaps in our work with one
another?
• What opportunities for collaboration are we
missing?
Works Cited
• Abdul-Alim, Jamaal. “Study on College Placement Exams Energizes Debate
about Their Effectiveness” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. August
2012.
• Adams, Caralee. “Research Looks at Value of Community College
Placement Exam” Education Week. March 2012.
• Attewell, Paul, et al. “New Evidence on College Remediation” The Journal
of Higher Education. Volume 77, Number 5, September/October 2006.
• Boylan, Hunter and Alexandros Goudas. “Knee-Jerk Reforms on
Remediation” Inside Higher Ed. June 2012.
• Burdman, Pamela. “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement
Exams for Students Starting College” Jobs for The Future. August 2012.
• Fain, Paul. “Crash Course for Remediation” Inside Higher Ed. December
2012.
• Fain, Paul. “One-Stop Shop” Inside Higher Ed. June 2012.
Works Cited
• Frey, Susan. “Report questions efficacy and fairness of college
placement tests” Ed Source. August 2012.
• Markle, Ross and Steve Robbins. “A Holistic View of Course
Placement Decisions-Avoiding the HS GPA Trap” Educational
Testing Service Report. March 2013.
• Pudar-Hozo, Stela .“A Better Placement Test Helps a Math
Department in Multiple Ways” The Chronicle of Higher
Education. January 2013.
• Scott-Clayton, Judith. “Are College Entrants Overdiagnosed
as Underprepared?” New York Times. April 2012.
• Scott-Clayton, Judith. “Do High-Stakes Placement Exams
Predict College Success?” Community College Research
Center. February 2012

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