February Research Brief Focuses on Developmental English Placement

The February 2011 edition of Research and Practice discusses the process by which the College evaluated and changed the criteria for student placement in developmental English. Click on the above link or image to view or download the research brief.

As part of the College’s Student Success Initiative and work with Achieving the Dream, the College examined the accuracy of the existing Accuplacer English “cut scores” that determine whether students place in college-level English (ENG 101) or developmental English (ENG 011).  Prior to the fall 2010 semester, students who scored between 86-100 on the Accuplacer English test were referred to English 011. Many English 011 faculty would administer a diagnostic paper during the first week of class to determine if students had the necessary skills to move up to English 101 based on their writing samples. Based on faculty feedback and comparative analysis, the English 101 “cuts scores” were lowered to 86, as there was general agreement that students placing in the 86-100 range could succeed in college-level English.

During the fall 2010 semester, 730 students scored in the 86-100 range, and 526 of those students enrolled in English 101. The students who tested between 86-100 had a success rate of 69.0 percent, compared to the overall English 101 success rate of 69.3 percent. Since there was little (0.3 percent) difference in the success rate between the those that scored between 86-100 and those that placed into English 101 via prior modes, lowering the “cut scores” supports the hypothesis that these students perform academically as well as other English 101 students.

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