Presentation on theme: "Seven Case Studies in Writing Assessment for Low Level Adult Students A discussion of computer placement, on-line diagnostics, and multiple forms of assessment."— Presentation transcript:
Seven Case Studies in Writing Assessment for Low Level Adult Students A discussion of computer placement, on-line diagnostics, and multiple forms of assessment in developmental college writing
Background Lansing Community College Approximately 20,000 students (How many developmental writing/reading students?) The Center for Transitional Learning has 3 levels of Developmental Writing We define developmental writing as a writing score below 4 on the Accuplacer computer placement test
The Pilot LCC developed a 6 credit combined reading/writing/student development course The goal was to improve computer placement scores while teaching students how to become effective students Connect students to important resources such as advising, tutoring, The Women’s Resource Center etc.
The Pilot Cont. Students in the pilot were required to have at least a score of 1 on the Accuplacer Placement Test in either reading or writing LCC will not admit students scoring below a 1 Students testing at a writing level of 6 and a reading level of 5 are placed into college level coursework. Many students were late enrollees Instructor had little or no previous experience teaching at the lowest acceptable level of Reading and Writing
Class Size and Demographics 7 students completed the pilot course; 9 started it Students were provided with free textbooks, notebooks, highlighters and pens Students elected to take the course Two male students over 50 years of age Two males in their early twenties A 19 year old female A 35 year old female A 25 year old female
Writing Preview Read through the following writing samples. Based on the quality of the sample, rank the each student’s likely overall success in the course. Assign a rank of “1” to the sample you believe belongs to the strongest overall student in the class, “2” to the next strongest student and so on. We’ll come back to these rankings later.
Student #1 (RM) Writing Level: 2 (did not retest) Reading Level: 1 (did not retest) MySkillsLab Diagnostic Mastery: – Pronoun Reference and Point of View – Later earned mastery in Apostrophes – Few attempts to acquire mastery using MySkillsLab
Student #2 (MR) CPT Reading 1 (retested at a 1) CPT Writing 1 (retested at a 2) MySkillsLab Diagnostic Mastery – Pronoun Preference and Point of View – No acquired mastery of any other skills
Student #3 (BL) Writing Level: None (retested to a 2) Reading Level: 1 (retested at a 1) MySkillsLab Diagnostic Proficiency: Verb Tense, Pronoun Reference and Point of View, Adjectives, Apostrophes, Quotations Marks, Spelling, Parts of Speech, Phrases and Clauses
Student #3 (continued) Acquired Proficiency: Subjects and Verbs, Fragments, Regular and Irregular Verbs, Run- Ons and Comma Splices, Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement, Adverbs, Prepositions, Capitalization, Commas, Easily Confused Words Failed Proficiency: Subject-Verb Agreement
Student #4 (JB) Writing Level: 2 (retested to a 2) Reading Level: 1 (retested to a 2) MySkillsLab Diagnostic: Proficiency in Pronoun Reference and Point of View, Parts of Speech, Phrases and Clauses Acquired Mastery: None Failed Mastery: Subjects and Verbs
Student #5 (BA) Writing Level: 2 (retested to a 2) Reading Level: 1 (retest to a 1) MySkillsLab Diagnostic: Proficiency in Pronoun Reference and Point of View Acquired Mastery: None Failed Mastery: Subjects and Verbs
Students #6 (JeB) Writing Level: 2 (retested to 2) Reading Level: 1 (retested 3x’s in one year, no improvement) MySkillsLab Diagnostic: Regular and Irregular Verbs Acquired Mastery: Capitalization, Commas Failed Mastery: Subjects and Verbs, Fragments
Student #7 (MG) Writing Level 4: (retested to a 4) Reading Level 2: (retested to a 5) MySkillsLab Diagnostic: Proficiency in Regular and Irregular Verbs, Verb Tense, Run-ons and Comma Splices, Adverbs, Consistent Verb Tense and Active Voice, Apostrophes, Quotation Marks, Spelling
What didn’t the tests measure? On a sheet of paper, take a few moments to jot down what the computer-based tests didn’t tell us about each student. Collected results… Now, using students’ initials, rank them according to their computer-based assessment scores and acquired mastery.
The Question… How did the two rankings compare? Did you find the best writers have the best computer- based testing scores and skill mastery?
Other forms of Writing Assessment In-class writing and reflection Writing in process which involved multiple drafts and conferences with formative assessment Quizzes on basic grammar and punctuation Group exercises Individual exercises Observed behaviors and tendency in a small classroom environment
Overall Course Grade for Completed Work Brad Javon Jenny Brandon Myishia Martha Rufus
The Big Questions If the goal of ATD is move students more rapidly into college level classes (Collins, 2008), which of these 7 students are best equipped to enter college-level courses? Which students should continue on the developmental course path? How would you weight the significance of the three areas of assessment?
Reasoning for the Pilot Course LCC seeks to become an Achieving the Dream School The pilot course addressed the ATD contention that it is “it is the best use of student and faculty time and state resources to move the maximum number of students capable of college level work into college-level courses (Collins, 2008)”.
The Complexity of the Adult Learner ATD suggests lowering cut scores to allow more students quicker access to college-level courses (Collins, 2010). But, is this putting too much faith in a test? What does the test fail to measure that might be a better or equal indicator of success? What might these case studies tell us about our approach to assessment? Are we doing enough assessment for each student?
Adult Learners There is only one stream for learners for college students—the mainstream. However, adult learners have a different and very diverse learning skill set. The are formed. Doesn’t it make sense that they are assessed differently? Generally instructors are not trained to identify issues or conditions that may impede upon a students’ ability to learn. Often, gaining a greater understanding of the source of an student’s struggle requires that instructors learn more about each student. For example….
The Big Reveal Jenny: Jenny struggled through high school with an undiagnosed learning disability. She attended alternative education. She also has a vision impairment but was not aware of this until it was discovered during our class. Bradford: Bradford suffered a devastating closed-head injury in 2006. He struggles to comprehend and retain information. Brandon: Brandon has been completely deaf since birth. While he was rigorously taught grammar, he had little experience writing. Rufus and Bradford have literally no computer skills. At the beginning of the course, they could not perform basic computer functions. Most of the students had considerable outside distractions.
Conclusions and Solutions What does computer-based placement and diagnostic testing really tell us? Are colleges becoming overly reliant on computer-based assessment for placement in pre-college courses? Should students be allowed to self-select their courses regardless of test scores?