June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Universities and colleges with Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM) programs use standardized tests of a variety of names to place students into courses. The Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is an assessment tool created by McGraw-Hill with a mathematics placement module. Similarly, CollegeBoard’s Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and ACT Inc.’s ACT Assessment college entrance exams are used as a basis for admissions into higher education. Since 2012, data has been collected for Engineering and Technology programs to determine if these exams used for admissions and placement actually serve as a predictor for success. This study seeks to determine if the ALEKS and ACT scores predict success in a comparison to grades achieved in Engineering and Technology classes. Similar studies have determined that high school grade point average (GPA) is a good predictor of average college GPAs, while the ACT was a better predictor of an above average GPA. Other prediction methods are study habits or study types as a predictor for success. Although there are many possible predictors for success, the use of standardized testing is still very popular in higher education. This study seeks to determine if using the ACT or the ALEKS composite or math portions predicts success in engineering and technology fields. More specifically, do standardized math placements tests predict success in future math, physics and engineering based courses? Based on an existing construction program and a combined architecture and architectural engineering program, a comparison of college admission scores versus success in math, physics and engineering based courses was performed. The construction program houses about 200 students over four years of classes. The architecture and architectural engineering program houses about 275 students. The study has not found a significant correlation with standardized test scores and success levels in engineering and technology courses. Rather, it has become apparent that success is more likely to breed success. Students who score low on placement tests and then do well in remedial coursework are more likely to find success throughout their college careers. Conversely, students who score well on placement exams and do not perform well in their initial math coursework continue to struggle with grades. Based on this information, increasing entrance exam requirements may not increase retention rates but limit access instead.
Mosier, R. D., & Reck, J. R., & Yates, H. N., & Ramming, C. H. (2017, June), Standardized Tests as a Predictor for Success in Construction, Architecture, and Architectural Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28839
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