What to expect from College Placement Test and how to handle it
College Placement Test is computer-adaptive examination for students who have got admission in the college in the US. It is an integral part of the enrolment processes in the colleges, and is also known as CPT or Accuplacer is some states. Accuplacer is a suite of assessments available to the institutions for evaluating the knowledge of the new students in various subjects. This helps in analysing their strength and frails in subject areas and work upon their weakness to prepare them for the college-level courses. The scores in this exam is discussed with an academic advisor in the college to decide upon the appropriate course to match the academic skill of the student.
Accuplacer is an computer-adaptive test with no time limit for completion of tests. The question for the test is based on the skill level of the student which means the correctness of an answer will determine the difficulty level of the next question. If the student gives the correct answer, the following question will be more difficult and is the student gives a wrong answer the following question will be easier.
Accuplacer follows a multiple-choice test format except for a Writing Test known as WritePlacer. Accuplacer consists of tests on content areas including Arithmetic, College-Level Math, Elementary Algebra, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills and WritePlacer. The Arithmetic test includes 17 questions on operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percent, applications and problem solving. The test examines the student's ability to do basic arithmetic operations and usage of the fundamental concepts in problem solving. College-Level Math test consist of 20 questions examines the problem solving ability on college-level mathematics concepts like algebraic operations and applications, solutions of equations and inequalities, coordinate geometry, functions and trigonometry. Elementary Algebra test comprises of 12 questions on operations with integers, rational numbers, algebraic expressions and solutions of equations, inequalities and word problems. The Reading Comprehension test includes 20 questions to examine the comprehending, analysing and reasoning ability of the student. The 20 question in the Sentence Skill Test evaluates the students' understanding of sentence structure.
The WritePlacer test helps in evaluating students in one of the important aspect for education success i.e writing skills. The test includes ESL Language Use, ESL Reading Skills, ESL Listening and ESL Sentence Meaning with 20 questions each. ESL Language Use facilitates in analysing the ability of the students in identifying and using the correct Grammar. ESL listening assesses the ability of the student to listen and understand English during communication. ESL Reading measures the comprehending ability of the students. ESL Sentence Meaning helps in analysing the proficiency of the student in understanding the meaning of sentences. The scores in the WritePlacer test are not based on the stand taken on the essay topic but for the effectiveness in communication and presentation of the student's opinion. To jot down the five aspects taken into account for arriving at the scores are: focus, organisation, development and support, sentence structure and the extent of error-free writing.
The sections of Accuplacer to be included for the placement test vary from college to college. The test is taken over internet, thus, it is important to enquire at the placement office of the college regarding which of the sections should be taken up for placement. For example, many colleges do not include College-Level math in their Accuplacer placement test. The test is solely meant for placement purpose, therefore there is no concept of pass or fail in Accuplacer. Low scores in the placement test will require extra classes to be taken before or during the course. However, the negative consequence of taking extra classes is that it can cause delay in the graduation date resulting in additional financial burden. As mentioned earlier, the test is computer-adaptive which means every wrong answer will be followed by an easy question which carries lesser points. Thus, too many wrong answers will result in low scores. Though there is no failing in the placement test, the test is of great significance as the score decides upon the course the students will have to choose which will also create their future career path of the student.