February 7, 2006
Present: Athinarayanan, Bertrand, Buis, Cron, Curtis, Ferguson, Hathaway, Hinkle, Janzow, Jones, McDougall, McGowan, Shaw, Shepard, Starrett and Syler
Guests: Kevin Squibb, David Reinheimer
A. Minutes of December 6, 2005
Upon a motion by McDougall; seconded by Syler, the minutes were unanimously approved.
B. Action Items
Due to some members being late or absent the order of the agenda was rearranged.
1. Pass/Fail Policy for study abroad students
McDougall moved acceptance of the proposal to allow students who participate in study abroad to transfer completed coursework back to Southeast on a pass-fail basis within the current policies which specify the course categories that can be taken on a pass-fail basis; Curtis seconded. McDougall noted that some scholarship students are reluctant to apply because they worry about the need to maintain a high g.p.a. and in particular situations could lose their scholarship. The proposal stated “the election for pass/fail must be made with the Registrar at Southeast no later than the 4th week of the semester at which the students are studying (usually, this is no later than the 4th week of classes at Southeast.)” Hinkle asked who would be responsible for this notification to the Registrar’s office and noted that sometimes it is unclear when universities abroad begin and end their semester. A suggestion was made for a standard form to be developed and implemented. McDougall stated that the program director of the program that the student is attending would be responsible to notify the Registrar’s office. Motion passed unanimously.
2. Additional MBA Graduate Admissions Criteria
McDougall moved for acceptance of the additional admission criteria for MBA students; Shaw seconded. The additional admissions criteria recognize that other options are designed to serve individuals who have graduate degrees and would allow substitution of other normed professional exams for the GMAT score. Janzow noted that not all scoring systems are the same and are approximate targets. Motion passed unanimously.
3. Department of Communication Disorders – Admission Requirements
With the absence of Dean Prater, Kevin Squibb from the Department of Communication Disorders presented the proposal of pre-requisites for admission into the program; seconded by Syler. He noted the requirements for graduation (minimum overall g.p.a. of 2.5 and minimum g.p.a. of 2.75 in the major) listed on the proposal have not changed. It was pointed out that although these admission requirements have not been approved, they are posted on their website. Squibb stated that they would be removed. After discussion suggesting that the proposal also needed dismissal, warning and/or grace period statements, Jones made a motion to table the proposal; McDougall seconded.
4. Proposal to change the Baccalaureate degree requirement for 30 upper division hours to 40 upper division hours
McGowan moved to put the past proposal of the committee to change the degree requirements from 30 upper division hours to 40 upper division hours back on the table; McDougall seconded. An alternate motion was made to change the degree requirement from 40 upper division hours to 39 upper division hours and implement the change in fall 2008. The alternate motion passed unanimously.
C. Information Items
(The information item was moved to the last agenda item so the Composition Placement Task Force Report could be presented.)
D. Discussion Items
Composition Placement Task Force Report
On behalf of the Provost, Janzow thanked the Committee for their excellent work. Reinheimer reviewed the current policy and procedure and stated that the Task Force was created as response to discussions that took place over a year ago regarding EN100 being a hidden requirement. The Task Force’s recommendations were reviewed individually.
(1) The Task Force found no compelling reason to change this overall placement procedure. However, the Task Force proposed that the cut-off score in WP001 for placing students into EN100 be 3.5 (4.0 is current) on the 6-point holistic scale. This change would reduce the number of sections of EN099 needed; and increase sections of EN100 needed. The Task Force also suggests increasing the number of first-year students placing into EN140 requiring all first-year students who qualify for WP004 (either by test or EACT scores of 27 or higher) take WP004 without cost. Students with scores of 5 or better on the placement exam would be invited to take another test to get into EN140.
(2) The second Task Force recommendation is to not require the ACT Plus Writing Exam at this time. The rationale for this suggestion was that the new ACT Plus Writing is only one year old and there is no data history to provide a basis for placing students into the English composition course sequence. Reinheimer noted that although the ACT Plus Writing persuasive essay distinguishes between EN100 and EN140 students it does not distinguish developmental writers. Further, the ACT Plus Writing has a cost factor that could detract students from coming to Southeast. Only one campus and two evangelical colleges in Missouri use the ACT Plus Writing Exam. A question was asked about the number of students per year that Assessment Office tests and it was reported that in 2005 the number was 1522. Reinheimer reported that only Missouri Southern uses an essay exam (internally developed) for placement into composition courses. Cron asked if their placement process in beginning English was as cumbersome as our program.
Jones noted that is was not just a matter of cost, but determining the writing capabilities of students and where they need to be placed for advanced and individualized attention.
The Task Force suggests for students providing an ACT Plus Writing score, a comparative analysis be done to determine the relationship between Southeast’s current WP001 placement, the ACT Plus Writing score, and success in our composition scores. Janzow pointed out if the student does well, it is assumed they have mastered stills of EN099-100.
(3) Recommendation is to use EACT scores by developing a data set over the next two years while continuing with the current WP001 placement process. It was suggested to work on a correlation of EACT scores for English sub-scores. If the decision would be made to rely on EACT scores for placement, the following was recommended: below 19 EACT: EN099; 19-26 EACT: EN100; 27 or higher EACT: EN140. Reinheimer reported that the Task Force suggests that for a couple of years, appropriate data collection and analysis be done prior to implementing a composition placement plan based on the EACT scores. He stated that data should be recorded in a statistical format for student performance in the EN and WP classes and suggested Institutional Research, Admissions office, Registrars office, English Department and Writing Assessment office be involved.
McDougall stated the ACT and high school g.p.a. has been used historically to determine placement or ACT and some other grade/rank but it is unreliable and only indicates past academic performance. Reinheimer pointed out that this testing procedure as a part of First-Step orientation is working and not considered cumbersome when making placement determinations. He also noted that students know early on where they will be placed. Jones pointed out that if you study the writing experience of high schools students, the quality of writing from our regional students is not strong or reliable.
McGowan pointed out that mathematics has a placement test and it is related to ACT score.
Reinheimer asked the Council why things needed to be done differently at Southeast. Janzow stated that the major issue and the question that has been asked is: why are there not many students placed more often into EN140, and why is there a second exam? Why can’t students be place at entry point? Syler pointed out that the vast majority uses the ACT scores of incoming students. Shaw pointed out that because of the low numbers, it is suspect. Jones stated that in 2005 of the 322 incoming students 50% were placed in EN140. Hathaway stated that forcing students to take another test seems wrong and that students should decide on their own. It was pointed out that there are 73 English faculty teaching composition – full and part time. Comment was made that it should be listed as a requirement and counted in the 120 hours. McGowan stated that the easy way to do this would be to make it a University Studies requirement. McDougall suggested that since this was a discussion item today, it should be made a future agenda item and brought back to the Council.
C. Information Items
1. Graduate Issues
Due to the lack of time, Janzow informed the Council that the information item on Graduate Issues would be presented at the March meeting.