Writing Self Placement by qha3fS


									       Writing Self Placement
―The time that used to be spent testing was
replaced by time spent communicating
program standards and expectations to
students who were now invited to take
responsibility for much of this new placement

- Dan Royer and Roger Gilles, Grand Valley State

       Writing Self Placement:
The act of informed students enrolling into
 the writing class of their choice.

      Rhodes State College
• Two-year technical college
• Applied associate’s degrees
  – Arts and Sciences
  – Business/Public Service
  – Engineering/Information Technologies
  – Nursing
  – Allied Health
• 3,100 headcount
• Student average age 27
    Timed Writing Placement at
• Orientation – students take 45-minute
  timed writing

• Teachers evaluate writing

• Students ―placed‖

   Problems with one-time writing

• Not representative of academic writing:
  timed writing does not allow for the writing
  ―process‖: brainstorming, drafting,
  revising, editing, and proofreading.
• The writing is just a snapshot
• College English leadership (CCCC) is
  against one-time assessments
• Writing placement is not only about writing
    CCCC Position Statement on
     Writing Assessment (1995)
• Any individual's writing "ability" is a
  sum of a variety of skills employed in a
  diversity of contexts, and individual
  ability fluctuates unevenly among these
  varieties. Consequently, one piece of
  writing--even if it is generated under the
  most desirable conditions--can never
  serve as an indicator of overall literacy,
  particularly for high stakes decisions.
         The Beginning
Park City, Utah, 2002, Annual Conference
of Writing Program Administrators

Self placement began at Rhodes one year
later, summer 2003.

               The Process
● Letter sent to students prior to orientation
  from writing faculty

●Letter describes the two course options:
 English Composition
 Developmental Writing

    The Letter to Students
Includes subjective criteria predictive of
  success in writing classes:
●Attitudes (e.g., confidence)

And includes objective criteria to consider:
●Learning Outcomes
 Why Put the Students in Charge?
• After providing students with directed
  questions and information on behaviors,
  attitudes, and experiences needed to
  make an informed decision………………
  the students then make their decision.

• Even so, why let the students decide?
  What’s the RATIONALE?
  Rhodes Rationale for Choosing
   this Self Placement Process
● Student ―agency‖ (remember--it’s not only
  about the writing)
● Student ownership of college decisions
  starting from Day One
● Decisions have consequences
● Students know what they’re ―ready‖ for
  better than teachers who take a one-time
  writing assessment
Best Reason for Implementing
       Self Placement
 ► It’s the right thing to do ◄

– The right message (student agency)
– At the right time (Day One)
– For the right reasons (respecting that an
  informed student has the capacity to make a
  personal placement decision)

      Placement Results
• With self-placement, students choose
  remediation at a higher percentage than

• Four-year university: 33% to 22%

• Rhodes (two-year college): 26% to 33%

• Research on grades in this presentation
  includes four complete years of grades

• 2001-2002 Timed writing placement

• 2003-2004 Self-placement

                                    2001-2004 COM 098
                          Grade C or Better by Placement Modality




                           Percentage Who
70.00%                    Earned a C or Better







          Timed Writing                                             Self-Placed
           Grade Outcomes
• Students placed by timed writing into
  COM-098 scored ―C‖ or better 44.52% of
  the time (over 2-year period)

• Students self-placed into COM-098 scored
  ―C‖ or better 75.51% of the time (over 2-
  year period)

• (―C‖ equals ―satisfactory)
                   Rhodes State College
                 COM098 Grade C or better
               Timed Writing vs. Self-Placed


30%                               Timed Writing
20%                                    (2001-2002)

        Fall                  Winter                    Spring
 2001   67%                    46%                       41%
 2002   56%                    57%                       44%
 2003   84%                    75%                       79%
 2004   85%                    73%                       71%     17
  Self-placed students had higher

• Because of self-efficacy?
• Because taking the class was their idea?
• Because they knew what class ―fit‖ them best?

We don’t really know why. We just know
what is. Self placed students score higher.

         Student Rationale
Why do students elect to take a precollege
 class such as COM-098?

     Lack of Confidence

     Just because

       Student Rationale
Why do students elect to take English
Composition and skip COM-098?

   Wealth of confidence (i.e., they’re
   ―ready,‖ a state of mind)

   Just because

          Paradigm Shift
―The placement test now became
  the placement process.‖

 – Robbie Pinter and Ellen Sims, Belmont

      Paradigm Shift in terms of
         Placement Modality
• In timed writing, students were placed
  strictly on writing ability as exhibited in one
  timed piece of writing (passive)

• In self-placement, students are placing
  themselves based on what they know
  about their own confidence level, behavior,
  and writing experience (active)
           More on GRADES
Timed Writing
• Students with B or better in COM-098 who
  had C or better in COM-111:    61.8%
• Students with B or better in COM-098 who
  had C or better in COM-111:    82.6%
• ―C‖ is ―satisfactory‖; ―B‖ equals successful
           Grade Outcomes
• Students placed by timed writing into
  COM-098 scored ―C‖ or better 44.52% of
  the time (over 2-year period)

• Students self-placed into COM-098 scored
  ―C‖ or better 75.51% of the time (over 2-
  year period)

• (―C‖ equals ―satisfactory)
           Needed follow-up
Timed Writing
• Students with B or better in COM-098 who
  had less than C in COM-111: 2.5%

• Though 82.6% of students scored
  satisfactorily in COM-111, students with B
  or better in COM-098 who had less than C
  in COM-111: 9.6%
                It Works
• More self-placed students scored a
  satisfactory grade of ―C‖ (75% to 44%) in
  the Developmental class
• More self-placed students with a ―B‖ or
  better in COM-098 went on to score a ―C‖
  or better in COM-111: 82.6% vs. 61.8%.
• It’s the right thing to do—placement should
  be an inclusive process
    Additional Resources on Self
       Placement in Writing
• Grand Valley State University First Year
  Writing web page on Directed Self
  Placement, with links to various original
  articles by faculty members of Grand
  Valley State University and others
• Council of Writing Program Administrators
    Students ―Confidence‖: COM-098
•   I placed myself into this class because I know that I am not confident of my English.
•   Confidence is non-present, and hope is little.
•   I figured I would start at the bottom since I’m starting over I’m going to do the right
•   I took COM-098, because I think I could use the extra boost, and confidence.
•   Placing myself in this particular writing class , is to relearn the fundamentals of
    writing . My confidence in my writing ability is not to high.
•   I am not confident about my writing skills and could use all the help I can get. I figure
    it would be better to start from the bottom and work my way up, rather than go in over
    my head and get far behind.
•   I placed myself into this class because I felt that I would benefit more starting out
    here than starting in COM-111. It has also been a while since my last English class
    and being a first time student I felt that this would start me off at a good place for all
    of my college classes.
•   I really enjoy writing but I need to figure out how to become even more confident in
    my writing class.
•   I took all the easy classes in high school so I thought it would be best for me to start
    at the level I am at which would be COM-098.

Students ―Just because‖: COM-098
•   During my senior year at Lima Senior I took a post secondary nursing course, where I
    earned an STNA license and 13 credit hours towards my first year at Rhodes. In high
    school, I took three advanced placement English classes, and during my senior I
    decided to take an integrated English course.
•   I do know what I would like to do one day, and that is work for either DreamWorks or
    Pixar animation studios. I love computer animation, and it seems like something I
    would enjoy doing everyday on the job. Speedway isn’t the greatest and it hasn’t
    been a life long dream to work there either, especially with all the ―weird‖ people
    coming in and out of those places.
•   I was always on honor roll and my senior year I was 4.0 student. English was one of
    my better subjects.
•   I graduated from Shawnee High School in 1976. I have always liked school, my
    grade point average then was 3.60. I did well in English, usually A’s or B’s. In 1989 I
    went to Northwestern College for a degree in computers. I received an Associates
    Degree in Computer Technology in 1991. Twice my grade point average was 4.0,
    making the Dean’s list. I also received an Outstanding Attendance Awared. […] I
    signed up for this class because it has been so long since I have gone to school, that
    I thought I might need to refresh any skills I might have left.

   Students ―I’m Ready‖: COM-111
• I put myself in this class because a friend of mine who started her
  first year here last year said that COM-098 isn’t worth taking and I
  felt that I did alright in English in high school so I should do alright in
• I honestly chose to place myself into this class because I hope to
  spend as few semesters in school as possible and this class was
  required. When push comes to shove I have never failed at
  anything in my life and I know I can and will do well in this class.
  That is the honest reason I came to this class. If it where not
  required I would not have taken this class.
• The reason I placed my self in COM-111 is because I am capable of
  meeting all the guidelines of the course. Taking a more difficult
  course will make things more complicated for me and force me to
  put more effort into my studies.
• I placed myself into this class because I thought I was ready for this


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