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WVU Parkersburg Eliminates Placement Testing

by Rebecca Rhodes

WVU Parkersburg will not require a placement test as part of the admissions process for students entering spring 2017.

According to Complete College America (CCA), math and English placement exams have nationally proven to be poor predictors of college readiness, and send thousands of students into remedial classes each year.

WVU Parkersburg will provide direct entry into standard college-level courses. If a student shows they need extra support in a core class, they will have a two hour lab added to their schedule.

“When you have students with goals and the mindset to achieve them, you give them the proper support so they can do it. You don’t get them lost in remedial classes,” Vice President of Student Services Anthony Underwood said.

Underwood compared student placement scores and ending GPAs from the class of 2014 and 2015, and found no correlation between the two. The data showed a need for change.

“I am happy to say we have academic and college leadership right now that are very much on the same page,” Underwood said.

Academic Affairs, under Senior Vice President Hank Dunn, and Student Services have worked together with President Fletcher Lamkin’s approval and encouragement on eliminating all placement tests.

WVU Parkersburg worked closely with CCA on this approach. CCA, along with the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, campaigned against using high stakes testing to determine admissions, placement and scholarships.

“You don’t keep people out of colleges, and you don’t keep people out of classes they need. We will give them the best opportunity to complete their degree in a way that is legitimate and academically supported,” Underwood said.

WVU Parkersburg developed two math courses in addition to college algebra: technical math and qualitative reasoning.

“They are still math classes, but they are tailored to a specific major’s needs. Not only will a student be taking a major requirement, but the class is also tailored for their career,” Underwood said.

For more information contact the Center for Student Services at 304.424.8310.

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