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Using Placement Tests to Improve SLOs and Retention - Course Technology Computing Conference
Presenter: Rachelle Hall & Beth Berry, Glendale Community College
The importance of student retention and improvement of student learning outcomes in an introductory survey of computer systems course cannot be over emphasized. GCC has been struggling with this issue for years and by incorporating SAM technology into our courses, we were able to address our challenges and develop an action plan. The development of new strategies require data collection. Using a program such as SAM allows us to obtain the data we require. This presentation will demonstrate how we use SAM to define what and where our focus needs to be in order to offer a path to success for our students. Our “D-F-W” rate was close to 30% after our curriculum was changed to articulate to the state universities. This curriculum change added many higher-level tasks to the course, and data showed the students who were unable to conquer these tasks were those who received the D, F or W grade. Those struggling either stopped coming to class once it reached this level of difficulty or simply could not keep up with the content. Using the data we were able to develop a placement test in conjunction with SAM which students take the first week of the class. Should a student not achieve a base entry level score, they can be enrolled in a lower-level computer course. These students are monitored throughout the course to measure their success and retention. Once they complete the competencies in the lower-level course, they are able to proceed into the higher-level survey course with the skill set to succeed. The goals of this presentation are to demonstrate how using technology assessment tools, such as SAM, can give you the information to determine where and how changes need to be made to enable student success in your course. For GCC, it was placement tests for our entering computer students to ensure they were taking the courses they needed to succeed. Although many institutions stray from placement tests for entering computer course students, we now embrace them as a tool to aid in student success.