Increasing Persistence… Again :)

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Placement testing

            Obviously there are numerous reasons for schools to use placement testing, right?  It is the best way to determine what level of writing or reading or math a student is prepared for, right?  Just like the ACT and SAT I’m not convinced that these tests are the best judge of a student’s level of intelligence.  See the articles I linked below if you do not believe me.

The second article that I found talks about college placement tests like ACCUPLACER and COMPASS.  The authors found “high ‘severe’ error rates using the placement test cutoffs. The severe error rate for English is 27 to 33 percent; i.e., three out of every ten students is severely misassigned.”  If placement tests are the best way to predict where a student belongs, why do they still fail so often?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/report-finds-2-of-4-tests-in-act-poor-predictors-of-college-success/2011/07/19/gIQAOiPFOI_blog.html

http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:146486

Developmental Education

            I see the importance of remedial education, I do.  However, I think it has no place in the college setting.  High schools are supposed to be setting students up for success, not letting them skate by to graduation without having learned something.  I understand that teaching is a difficult profession but there is no reason our education system should be failing so many students! 

            In the case of college, I believe remedial education should only take place in the following situations: when a student is taking classes at a community college to get his or her GED or when a student returns to college after years of being in the workforce.  Otherwise students should at least have a base understanding of algebra.  They may not be very good at it, maybe math is not their thing, however, they should at least know enough about it to pass.  If not, your high school and pre-college preparatory institutions are the ones that failed you, not college.

Academic Advising

            I was thrilled to see this as a chapter within this book.  I want to be an academic advisor once this year is over.  I currently do my practicum over in academic advising at Ball State and I love it.  I also wholeheartedly believe that Academic Advising is a huge retainer.  All students who come into college see an academic advisor at orientation.  They assist with the planning of schedules, major selection, etc.  The advisor also serves as a resource that refers students to clubs, organizations and services available on campus that may be useful to that particular student.  This may be the only interaction a student has with staff at the university or college.  If it is not a positive experience, the student might not want to seek the help of other professionals and therefore become lost.  Students who do not find a niche or a place of their own on campus are much more likely to dropout. 

First-Year Transition

            Instead of talking about the text here, I would like to talk about my own first-year transition during my first year at UW.  I transferred in during spring semester in January of 2010.  I inquired about resources for transfer students but the only information I was given was for a club on campus solely for transfer students.  I went to a few meetings but did not feel particularly welcome so I stopped attending.  There was no transfer orientation, no transfer transition program, nothing.  Or maybe there was but no one knew enough to refer me to it.  Either way, I did not have access to any of these programs. 

            Often I feel like transfer students get the raw end of the deal, especially those who come in at semester.  At least if you transfer in the fall there are welcome week activities and things of that nature.  You can meet people there. 

            My experience in the cold month of January was that I did not matter.

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