Multiple Measures: New Placement Tool

Hayley Vawter, Reporter |

Currently when a student enrolls at ECC, it’s mandatory for them to meet a certain level of math and English credits. The math track usually ends for most students with College Algebra or Statistics and English with Comp I or Comp II. Students are required to either test into these classes via their ACT/SAT scores or take a placement test. Multiple Measures adds in a different approach.

Multiple Measures is a method that several colleges are switching to when it comes to accurately placing students in math and English classes. Instead of solely looking at ACT/SAT scores or using a placement test for entry to college, administrators will begin looking at GPA as well to get students to the best possible place for their education.

“Currently when a student comes in, and they have a minimum ACT score of 22 or above they are placed in Comp I [or college algebra/statistics] and if they don’t have it, then they would take Accuplacer,” Dean of Instruction Ann Boehmer said.

Accuplacer is the placement test that all students must currently take if they do not meet the minimum ACT requirements for math and English classes. With Multiple Measures in place, that process will change.

“First, we’re going to check and see if [the student] already has the ACT score,” Boehmer said. “Let’s say [he or she doesn’t have a high enough score] or didn’t take it. Then, we’re going to check what [the student’s] GPA is, and if [he or she has] a 3.0 or greater, Comp I or College Algebra will be available for [him or her] to take.”

From there, each student will be able to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and decide if they think they are ready for the college level English and math courses.

“If a student has a GPA from 2.5-2.99, [there is] another option,” Boehmer said. “The student can take a departmental exam instead of the Accuplacer.”

Accuplacer is now at the bottom of the testing pole, so this whole method allows for students to see their full potential and better themselves.

Multiple Measures is being implemented right now with dual-credit students in high school. The program won’t eliminate or add any courses to the class schedule; however, it is likely that class numbers will shift in the lower-level math and English courses at ECC.

In addition to classes, Multiple Measures will have an impact on the Learning Center.

“All testing is run through the Learning Center and testing center, and that includes all admissions testing for the college and dual-credit testing,” Director of the Learning Center, Erin Anglin said. “With the implementations of Multiple Measures, we anticipate it will greatly reduce the number of physical Accuplacer placement tests we will have to give. Accuplacer will include weighted background, ‘grit’ and non-cognitive skills questions that ask things like, ‘How many hours a week do you work?’ because work[ing] 30+ hours a week and trying to be a full-time student might impact [his or her] success.”

Learning Center will also be adding preparation help for students taking the departmental exams like they do with the Accuplacer testing.

“There is an opportunity to re-take for the departmental exams and we feel that students should be afforded an opportunity to study the material to be successful.” Anglin said.

Anglin hopes this will increase the number of students who utilize tutoring, not just when they’re in trouble but from the beginning of a struggle, or even just having someone to ask questions about schoolwork.

With Multiple Measures being implemented Spring 2018, students will have the opportunity to move at a faster pace and better their skills for life beyond ECC. There won’t be an automatic process for students who did have the GPA in high school and tested low on Accuplacer before this process takes place, so students are advised to talk to their advisors if they have questions or believe something can be changed.

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