College moves to using high school GPA for placement

Meredith Howard, Editor-in-Chief

Lincoln Land will make the Accuplacer placement exam optional and use high school GPA for course placement instead. This change will affect students who enter the school in the fall 2019 and later.

“What national studies have shown, and that our own data seems to back up, is that it’s (the Accuplacer) just a really horrible way to place students into courses. It’s just not very accurate. High school GPA is much more accurate,” said Vern Lindquist, vice president of academic services.

“This is not something people did intentionally. When these tests came out, college administrators thought this is going to be a way that they can correct for what they perceived as being the inconsistencies between high schools.”

Some saw one high school giving higher grades for lower quality work.

Regardless of what high school a new student attended, their high school GPA will be the new standard measure of assessment, Lindquist said.

“Some high schools have a reputation of giving out A’s like candy. Even though that is a problem in the case that some high schools have easier grading than others, what the national data shows is that it doesn’t really matter as much as we thought,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist provided The Lamp with a copy of a PowerPoint presentation that cited some of the “national data” that administrators have been referring to to make placement decisions.

This data showed, among other things, a 36 percent increase in placement to college-level English courses from “historical placement” to high school GPA, and a 25 percent increase for math.

However, high school GPA might not be the best indicator of success for high school freshmen and sophomores.

“We’re going to try to use whatever measure we think is going to be the most accurate. But it may be the case, that your GPA you know two years in (to high school) is not going to be a very accurate measure of how well you’re going to do. In which case, maybe we’ll pull the plug on it,” Lindquist said.

“For students that are taking courses in dual-credit in their high schools though, I think we have to assume that their high schools understand their abilities pretty well and they’re not going to want to put those students into classes that they’re not going to be successful in.”

Students will still be able to use the Accuplacer and ACT as previously if they do not wish to be placed according to their high school GPA.

Meredith Howard can be reached at [email protected].