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ERIC Number: EJ1008733
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
"Ability to Benefit": Making Forward-Looking Decisions about Our Most Underprepared Students
Sullivan, Patrick; Nielsen, David
College English, v75 n3 p319-343 Jan 2013
Community colleges have been engaged for the last sixty years in providing open access to public higher education to anyone with a high school diploma. Recently, disappointing success rates for developmental students have driven some colleges to reduce or restrict access to college based on standardized test scores. The operative phrase in most of these discussions is "ability to benefit." This essay examines the complex variety of issues related to ability to benefit. Using a robust archive of data from our institution to explore this question, we argue that standardized placement scores tell only one kind of story about our most underprepared students. Course pass rates and percentages of students who reach critical milestones provide only one rather limited way to assess this complex issue. Our data tell us other stories that may be more important. (Contains 3 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A