ERIC Number: ED172214
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Proficiency Testing within the Basic Writing Course: Developing a Faculty Consensus on Standards.
Penfield, Elizabeth F.
A proficiency test became the exit requirement for the noncredit, basic English course at the University of New Orleans because the program was not working well. There were inconsistencies in grading, and students who managed to pass the course later foundered in the credit courses. Obviously, the teachers needed to cooperate to raise the goals of the course, to establish common grading standards, and to test each student's ability to write Edited American English, concentrating on student mastery of the basic sentence. The proficiency test that was constructed is a hybrid of an empirically based error count and a broad analytic scale. The error count is based on the number and type of errors that teachers will tolerate, and the analytic scale is a measure of coherency and organization. Perhaps as important as the actual test construction is the fact that the staff reached a consensus on standards, then worked to help students meet those standards. Although the standards were higher than before, more students were now passing them. The system of checks and balances to insure that the test is a true measure of student ability has had the added effect of getting both students and teachers involved in a common goal--to master the test. (RL)
Descriptors: Academic Ability, Academic Standards, College Freshmen, Compensatory Education, Competency Based Education, Disadvantaged Youth, Equivalency Tests, Higher Education, Program Descriptions, Program Development, Remedial Programs, Student Characteristics, Writing (Composition), Writing Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (30th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 5-7, 1979)