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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