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FAQ: How are SAT or ACT results used to determine placement? What is the value of the writing portions of these tests? What other standardized tests are widely used for placement purposes?

As first year writing instructors, it’s important for us to be aware of how students arrive within our classrooms. Part of this task might be brushing up a bit on some of the common standardized tests that are used for this purpose — for this reason, quick refreshers as well as general placement information is provided below:

As educators, we are also in a unique position to advocate for methods of placement that are not only cost effective and efficient, but also methods that accurately reflect the type of work students will be required to do in first year classrooms, and methods that do not unfairly correlate to socioeconomic status or the education level of parents. This said, the following section attempts to tackle some of the arguments for, and against the use of tests like these that instructors are likely to come across. It is important to remember that one of the most important elements to a successful negotiation of placement practices that all parties involved can be satisfied with is knowledge and understanding of the arguments for both positions.

Arguments for the Use of the SAT and ACT to Make Placement Decisions

Arguments against the Use of the SAT and ACT to Make Placement Decisions

You may also find the following brief glossary of terms helpful:


Selected Annotated Bibliography

By Sarah Olson and Debra Touchette, for Karen Uehling’s ENGL 563, Spring 2011

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Page last modified on January 19, 2012, at 12:46 AM