ATL Conference – Meaningful Placement Workshop

Bill Moore organized this workshop featuring a new college in the system, where the placement system was yet to be designed.   The beginning discussion centered around  whether placement testing tools were helpful to students, because students, especially those placing at precollege levels, often come out of a placement testing experience discouraged, disbelieving, and/or resentful of their placement levels.  Workshop participants were to work in three teams; each would design an option for a placement system where these would not so often occur.  Mandatory placement with its pros and cons was not a major topic in any of the three teams, as nearly everyone agreed that students need to follow guidance information regarding their competency levels in order to start their educations at a level where they can maximize their potentials, and that guidance information should include testing scores.  The use of just one tool for placement, however, was recognized by all to be too restrictive.  The systems suggested by the workshop teams all contained the following points:

  • a starting assessment, such as COMPASS or ACCUPLACER
  • a follow-up assessment, such as an English placement essay option or a subject area math test
  • an orientation to college course, which might include some of the assessments and could be a required elective

The workshop ideas will be incorporated into the state level college placement work Bill is spearheading.

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