National Council of Instructional Administrators

 

Date of this Version

1-2021

Document Type

Article

Citation

INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP ABSTRACTS, Volume 13, Issue 1, January, 2021

Comments

LEADERSHIP ABSTRACTS Published by the National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA)

Abstract

Placement testing is a routine part of the college intake process even though the inequities built into standardized tests are well known in higher education and are the antithesis of an open access institution like a community college (Nettles, 2019; Wai et al., 2008). The great majority of two-year college students begin their college journey by taking high-stakes standardized tests that assign them a placement score in math and English. To give students a better shot at success, and with the welcome departure of the nationally standardized COMPASS placement test, Lake Washington Institute of Technology took the opportunity offered and transformed its college placement practices. With the help of a grant from College Spark Washington, a team from Instructional Administration, faculty, Student Services and Institutional Research designed its “Smart Start” assessment project. This initiative had two goals for student placement. First, it would maximize the number of students who could be placed directly into college courses through evidence of prior experience (such as other test scores or high school transcripts). Second, the experience for those students who needed to test would be more relevant and lower stakes, with students having a say in choosing the level of math or English in which they would begin.

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