In a message dated 10/25/99 3:15:24 PM Central Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

  As chair of our Writing Across the Curriculum program, I am also very
 interested in assessment instruments for writing.  Please forward your
 responses to [log in to unmask] as well.
 Thanks!!! >>

I am a firm believer in a simple writing sample to determine placement. At
our school, we were using COMPASS, which did not have a writing sample. The
result was too many students misplaced.

Now we require all students to write a one page essay about their reasons for
coming to Calumet College. We use that sample to determine placement. Both of
our Admissions counselors are former English majors. We trained them to the
standards we sought in placement of incoming students.

I should mention that when I taught at another college, we used a similar
assessment tool. The difference was, the readers were from the English

So far, this method appears to be better than the COMPASS, though it is NOT

Richard Damashek
Director of Learning Assistance
Calumet College of St. Joseph
Whiting, IN