Developmental Education Faculty Perspective of the Texas Success Initiative Assessment as a Placement Exam
McAdams, Felicia Chunta
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Purpose The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the essence of developmental education faculty experiences with the placement of students in their classrooms as a result of the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). The interviews from this study were used to give developmental education faculty a voice and insight into implementing or redesigning practices for students in developmental education. The final purpose was to obtain perceptions regarding patterns associated with placement of developmental education students. Methods Using Moustakas’ phenomenological design, developmental education faculty were asked to participant in one-on-one interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed according to qualitative coding conventions. Categories were constructed and then synthesized to identify the emerging themes. Findings Seven developmental education faculty were interviewed to understand the essence of their experience with the TSIA as a placement exam for their courses. Overall, developmental education faculty do not believe the TSIA is an effective instrument for placement due to the assessment’s inability to assess or take into consideration the non-cognitive factors that interfere with student success. Participants also suggested the level of the cutoff scores also interfere with the TSIA ability to place students in the correct developmental education course. Four themes emerged from this study; arbitrary cutoff scores, college expectations and non-cognitive factors, content alignment, and an imperfect system. Future studies should focus on cutoff scores and factors suggested by Saxon & Morante (2015) and Conley (2007, 2010) for a systematic onboarding process to increase student success.