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Nancy,

The Community College Journal (April/May 1999) was devoted to
developmental education.  One article featured John and Suzanne Roueche,
both (but John especially) are recognized as national leaders in
community college education, college success, and developmental
education.  They strongly urged that colleges use placement test
information to not only advise students into the appropriate level of
developmental instruction but also to use placement information to keep
students out of classes where they have little chance of success
(Quote:  "Colleges must get serious about policies that would hol
students out of regular courses until they demonstrate that they can
move forward.")  They have data that indicate that rigorous academic
policies and procedures dramatically improve student success and build
enrollment.  One of their key recommendations is to mandate basic skills
assessment and placement in appropriate courses.

They also present their arguments in an AACC report High Stakes, High
Performance:  Making Remediation Work.  You might want to check these
references in making your case.

Gail Platt

"Nancy M. Bailey" wrote:

> 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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