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I wonder if anyone out there can help me.  Our executive staff is
investigating the idea of eliminating placement testing for incoming
freshmen.  At present, we use the Nelson-Denny to place students
into a developmental reading class and two homemade
assessments to place students into developmental writing and a
developmental math classes.  I have been asked for my opinion in
the matter.

As an instructor of developmental classes who knows that
placement tests have their limitations, I do get some valuable
information about individual students from the placement tests. I
also sense that the placement tests--for the most part--put
students into the classes that will best serve them and save a
great deal of "shuffling" of students in the beginning of the
semester, something that could occur if we only use SAT scores,
ACT scores, and/or high school GPA and rank as is being
proposed.  Other than these largely "gut" feelings about the value
of placement tests, however, I have no real data to back up my
opinion that placement tests are necessary to place freshmen into
appropriate classes.  Does anyone out there know of any research
and/or have any personal experiences to share with me, either to
help me to see this matter differently or to present in defense of
placement testing?  As always, I very much value your help.

Nancy M. Bailey
Director, Academic Support Program
Keuka College
Keuka Park, N.Y.  l4478
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