AQIP Annual Update
Improve Proficiency Testing, Placement, Assessment, and Retention of Students
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action
During the 2005-2006 academic year we launched the initial data collection for cohorts of
students placed into each of three sequential writing courses. This included analyzing the
academic profile for students in the “101” writing course, and comparing both registration
follow-through and course grades for those who were placed into their elementary course.
Our goal was to assess the effectiveness of the current placement formulas—whether they
placed students in the appropriate courses and lead to desired outcomes, or whether revised
proficiency examination “cut scores” are needed to improve the placement system. In our
analysis, we have completed baseline data of:
students who take mandatory proficiency tests (information through our Placement Office
and Institutional Assessment data)
students who enroll and complete mandated courses (information through our Placement
Office and Institutional Assessment data)
student satisfaction with placement process (Survey sent to students who took Writ 101
and RDNG 101)
We have also developed plans for improving administration of placement programs and the
review of current placement policies for compliance with Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities (MnSCU) policy 3.3 (Assessment for Course Placement) and procedure 3.3.1
We created a method for assessing GELS courses in math and writing and, we are enforcing
the current mandatory placement policy, including registration holds and mandatory contacts
with advisors, to the extent possible. An electronic prerequisite checking system that is
available in the central student data base (Integrated Student Record System, [ISRS]) is not
up and running, pending the completion of transfer course entry into Metropolitan State’s data
We implemented an intrusive advising program, as an early intervention process, for
identifying less-than-prepared and under-prepared students who place in mandated course.
Therefore, this action project will be formally retired, and the University will undertake
discussion of a new phase of improvement related to proficiency placement and advising
students in placement. (See Next Planned Steps.)
B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.
Participation included constituents from recruiting, admissions, English as a Second
Language (ESL) students, registration, and advising. We invited those areas of expertise, into
our on-going discussions, in order to develop a more comprehensive university-wide system
that will allow our students to be more prepared for the courses that they take.
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.
The University has hired two new staff to help input transfer course records into ISRS, the
integrated student records system. Once that data is in ISRS, the University will be able to
turn on the electronic prerequisite checking system, a feature of ISRS that automatically
checks registration to ensure that students have met the appropriate prerequisites for the
courses in which they are attempting to register. Once this feature is activated, mandatory
course placement based on assessment scores will automatically prevent students from
registering in courses in which they are unlikely to be successful. Thus, electronic
prerequisite checking will enable us to improve student registration. In addition, with all the
transfer data entered into ISRS, the Placement Director will be able to prepare more
sophisticated analyses for the placement processes (e.g., more easily determine whether
changes in placement scores will improve retention) and that will enable us to continuously
modify and improve on the processes that we are using to ensure mandatory course
placement based on assessment scores.
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action
The most important practice that emerged from this Action Project were the lines of
communication that were established between individuals in different areas of the University
(e.g., Student Affairs and Academic Affairs) who prior to the project did not communicate
regularly about placement policies. Indeed, the proficiency and placement office is in process
of reassignment to Academic Affairs, in the College of Arts and Sciences, to further improve
communication and coordination.
E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
Implementation of electronic prerequisite checking (“Edit 59” in the central student data
Data integrity across systems
Managing the multiply sources of data
Time constraints with collecting and analyzing the data
Maintaining lines of communication which were established while working on the Action
F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate
progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact