Hello Everyone,

First, as chair of a new remedial/developmental department, I am 
delighted to find this list! Thank goodness for such a fabulous forum.

I'm currently involved in a massive research project aimed at possibly 
revamping our current program. We now only offer 1 course (a hybrid 
math/writing course that's 10 weeks long) to students failing either 
their math or writing assessments upon enrollment -- (long story why, 
several program features were finalized before I came onboard). And 
we've only been offering this course since April 2006, so it's a 
relatively new program. The good news is now I have the opportunity to 
have more direct input and potentially re-shape this program to be more 
effective. I would greatly appreciate any and all input from veteran 
faculty and administrators involved in similar rem/dev program.

Here are some questions I've been charged with answering:

    * When is the best time to assess students?
          o Currently we assess incoming freshmen, but only on a
            _voluntary_ basis. This is very unlikely to change in the
            near future, so there is some talk of assessing students as
            part of their first-term classes, embedded within the
            course. Does anyone else do this? If so, how is this
            presented to the student -- as an assessment to determine
            placement into a developmental writing or math course? or
            simply as part of skills assessment during a first-term
            introductory course? Any source material on this topic would
            be helpful as well.
    * Are remedial/developmental classes part of a student's degree
      plan? How do they fit into their degree requirements? Are they for
          o The research I've done so far indicates there are various
            ways of awarding credit: institutional credit, degree credit
            and transfer credit. How do other universities handle this?
    * Of the following assessment tools: Accuplacer, Compass and
      Wonderlic, which is the most effective?
          o In the past we've used assessments from SmarThinking (as
            well as their tutoring services), but have gotten mixed
            results in terms of flexibility of the assessment tool
            itself (it was difficult to request changes) which is why
            I'm investigating alternate assessments.
          o Also, as a strictly online university serving remote
            students all over the U.S., our needs are for an internet
            based assessment, rather than one where students have to
            physically visit a testing center at a scheduled day/time.
            Compass appears to be testing-center only; does anyone have
            experience with internet-based assessments, possibly one not
            mentioned in the list above?

Again, I appreciate any insights you could share on these ideas. My goal 
is to create the best curriculum and program possible for our students 
to succeed, not only in their degree plans, but later in life as well.

Thanks so much,

Marla Cartwright
Academic Chair, Department of Student Success
College of Arts & Sciences
Kaplan University
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