1. Coherence

The placement assessment system reflects clear standards for college and career readiness and aligns with key learning goals and the curriculum as defined by the college and disciplinary faculty.

Placement results should be acceptable to other colleges, so that re-testing is not needed or required. (Joe Montgomery)

Re-testing at the current or another college, as a strategy to achieve higher-level placement results, should be minimized.

Placement criteria should be clearly connected to any differences in the available courses. If scoring systems are used, scores should derive from criteria that grow out of the work of the courses into which students are being placed. [CCCC]

Issues/Questions:

  • What's the role of the existing statewide college readiness standards (TMP math standards, HEC Board's "college readiness definitions" in English) in terms of providing coherence and clear standards for the placement assessment system? Should we propose a process to formally align placement tests with these standards, and if not, how do we justify the disconnect between the standards and the tests?

  • Should the placement tests reflect and be consistent with the first-year college curricula in math and composition/writing, and if so, how do we engage faculty in a process to produce that alignment?

  • How much do we know about current practice with respect to a) acceptance of placement results across colleges in the system and b) re-testing policies and practices, especially related to students trying to improve their placement, and should we gather more systematically information about these practices across the state?


4. Fairness

The placement assessment system provides an opportunity for all students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do.

Students perceive the placement process and results as being fair and accurate.

There is a readily-available appeals process, so that students can discuss their results with placement staff/faculty and have an opportunity to present additional evidence in support of their preferred placement option.
Students should have the right to weigh in on their assessment through directed self-placement, either alone or in combination with other methods.
Students should have the opportunity to prepare for the placement assessment.

Issues/Questions:

  • Would there be some value in proposing that we do some data-gathering with students about their perceptions of these issues--do they think the existing system is "fair," "accurate," etc., how would they suggest we make it fairer...?

  • Should we consider Universal Design issues vis a vis both the existing tests and any proposed alternative?

  • What kind of appeal processes and preparation opportunities currently exist around the system, and do we need to gather additional information about promising practices in these areas?

  • How might a "directed self-placement" process be implemented in a way that was also efficient in terms of cost and staff time, and is it as applicable in math as in English?

5. Transparency

Clear information about the entire placement assessment system is available to students and interested stakeholders and easily-accessible.

Students understand the purpose and implications of the assessment process.


Issues/Questions:

  • what information is currently available about the tests used, processes involved, consequences of decisions...?

  • what information about the "placement assessment system" do we need to be "transparent" about?

  • is there anything that we can't or shouldn't be transparent about?

  • does it make sense to create some common information aapproaches across the system and put it on the web (e.g., on "checkoutacollege.com")?

  • who else besides students...?