guest written by Eric Clark of Quincy Tutoring
In my role as Assistant Director of Academic Services at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Quincy MA, part of my responsibility is proctoring the Accuplacer. Quite often, people call asking several different questions because they don’t understand why the assessment is being used, or what it is used for. Below I will address three common Accuplacer questions, after reading you should have a good understanding of the Accuplacer.
What is the Accuplacer?
The Accuplacer is a college placement test that is one of many assessments in the College Board family. The Accuplacer is a comprehensive assessment tool, which consists of six content strands (for content breakdown click here). Does that sound intimidating? Don’t be afraid, it is not very common that all six strands are used. It is up to the discretion of the institution as to which test strands are used to assess incoming students. At ENC, for example, we have opted to use the Reading Comprehension, Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, and the Written Test. Each test has a developmental course attached to it, and if a student fails to meet the minimum benchmark, the student is automatically enrolled in that course. If you didn’t do well the first time, you can potentially retake the test in 30 days.
Why do I need to take the Accuplacer?
Want the honest answer? The college/university wants to assess your academic skill set. They may want to do this for several different reasons.
SAT scores are the most common reason students need to complete the Accuplacer. If any of your individual SAT scores failed meet the institutional standard, you will be required to take the Accuplacer (or equivalent test). The results of the placement test will identify the appropriate classes for the student to enroll.
Secondly, some schools do not require SAT, and the Accuplacer is a great way to identify appropriate classes for the student to take. Each institution wants to make sure they are not placing students in classes that are above their current academic ability. In the past, I have worked with many students that have earned their bachelors and were required to complete the Accuplacer when they were applying to a specialized program, like nursing. Please don’t be discouraged! Each program wants to assess your foundational knowledge. This isn’t a knock on your knowledge or the institution where you earned your undergraduate degree.
How can I prepare for the Accuplacer?
The initial answer would be tutoring, or small group instruction. Tutoring is a terrific way to learning the content if the student needs a professional to deliver the content in a way that is easy to comprehend. Not every student needs tutoring, and TestSoup is a great supplement to the online practice tests. TestSoup has a terrific battery of study materials that can be used on almost any electronic device. I would recommend tying the student material for yourself.
[Editor's Note: To try out our ACCUPLACER system, see our test page here.]
About the author: Eric Clark is the founder and CEO of Quincy Tutoring, an online tutor network. Quincy Tutoring also offers affordable standardized test prep, and fully endorses TestSoup’s flashcard system. Follow Eric on Twitter and Facebook.