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PCC Using Multiple Measures for Placement

By Rob Goldberg Jr.
PCC Media Relations Director

WINTERVILLE—Earlier this month, Pitt Community College admissions staff began using a new method to place new students into appropriate math and English courses.

According to Joanne Ceres, PCC Dean of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Pitt now uses Multiple Measures for Placement, which is a hierarchy of measures that colleges can use to determine a recent high school graduate’s readiness for college-level courses.

The multiple measures policy was first approved by the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges in February 2013 for use statewide and will be required of all 58 community colleges by Fall Semester 2015.

Ceres explained that PCC decided to implement the policy now, rather than waiting until Fall 2015. She said that would give new students starting in the Spring 2015 term the same opportunity to have their college readiness determined under Multiple Measures as students who start next fall.

PCC President G. Dennis Massey welcomed the change, saying, "I am very pleased that we are facilitating access to major courses and completion of degrees more direct for many of our students."

As of Oct. 1, Ceres says PCC Admissions and Records Office staff have been reviewing official North Carolina high school transcripts under the multiple measures policy in order to determine English and Math placement for newcomers. The college, she said, had been using the North Carolina Diagnostic Assessment and Placement (NCDAP) Test prior to adopting the multiple measures policy and will continue to do so for students who do not meet the new policy’s standards.

According to multiple measures guidelines, colleges may use official high school transcripts issued at the end of the first semester of a high school student’s senior year to determine whether or not the student meets eligibility requirements.

“It’s important for students who feel they are eligible for a placement testing waiver to send us their official high school transcripts at the end of the first semester of their senior year, once grades have been posted,” Ceres said. "This will allow us to evaluate transcripts earlier, so we can notify those students who meet the criteria that they are exempt from taking the placement test. This will make for a smoother process for the student in registering for classes for the upcoming term."

Ceres emphasized that students will still need to request that their final high school transcript be sent to PCC after graduation in order to fulfill their admissions requirements.

Under the multiple measures policy, Ceres says new students will be exempt from diagnostic placement testing if they meet certain criteria – graduation from a North Carolina-licensed high school within the previous five years, minimum 2.6 unweighted GPA and completion of four specific math courses: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II (or its Common Core equivalent) and one additional math course from an approved list of classes.

For students who do not meet the GPA standard, Ceres says PCC staff will evaluate subject-area ACT or SAT scores to determine if they are ready for college-level math and English. Those who do not meet any of these measures will be directed to take the placement test to determine their math and English college readiness.

Ultimately, Ceres says, multiple measures is about having several valid options to utilize in properly placing students into the courses required by their respective programs of study. She says PCC will closely monitor the new placement process and analyze data as it becomes available.