The efficacy of writing course placement at an Iowa community college

2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of writing course placement at an Iowa community college. The following questions were addressed: What indicators, separately or in combination, resulted in an appropriate or inappropriate student writing placement? (a) To what extent did the COMPASS test result in an appropriate placement? (b) To what extent did the self-directed essay result in an appropriate placement? (c) To what extent did a student's preference result in an appropriate placement?

This study was important to understand how the “directed self-placement” model, adapted from Royer and Gilles (1998, p. 1), impacted the institution's placement practices. The placement of courses was a critical component when beginning a student's program of study. In order to obtain a rich understanding of the phenomena, a mixed methodological design was used to analyze data including COMPASS test scores, essay content and ratings, student placement surveys, and faculty perceptions.

Placement data used to select a student's course indicated a single indicator (COMPASS, essay, or student preference) could not successfully predict an appropriate course placement for every student participating in the study. The content of the essays suggested students considered non-cognitive factors such as confidence, motivation, and work experiences when selecting courses.

The independent analysis indicated agreement among all three or any combination of two placement indicators should result in an appropriate course placement. Approximately 91% of the students were recommended to select their courses with at least two of the three placement indicators in agreement; however, agreement among these indicators varied. Survey results indicated the majority of the students were satisfied or very satisfied with their course placement; 85.2% at 6 weeks and 89.1% at 15 weeks.

Indexing (details)

Language arts;
Community colleges
0279: Language arts
0275: Community colleges
Identifier / keyword
Education; Community college; Iowa; Placement; Writing
The efficacy of writing course placement at an Iowa community college
Owens, Kristine D.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 66/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542018596, 0542018594
Waggoner, Michael
University of Northern Iowa
University location
United States -- Iowa
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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