Transitioning College Placement and Diagnostic Testing to the High Schools Lessons Learned From P.E.R.T.

Friday, June 21, 2013: 10:00 AM-10:55 AM
Maryland 3-4 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
  • CCSSO_2013_final.pdf (513.6 kB)
  • Content Strands:
    1. Transitioning assessment systems
    2. Balancing new assessment systems within a state
    Transitioning College Placement and Diagnostic Testing to the High Schools – Lessons Learned from P.E.R.T.

    Matthew Schultz, PhD – McCann Associates

    Julie Alexander, PhD – Florida Department of Education

    Florida Department of Education, working with McCann Associates, launched the Florida Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) for college placement in October, 2010.   The tests were developed to be custom aligned to Florida specified standards, including  a firm basis in Common Core, and are used for placement into developmental or college level Math, Reading and Writing.   The development process included significant engagement with stakeholders at all levels within the state, including substantial work with college faculty.   In 2011 P.E.R.T. was rolled out to the Florida high schools, presenting challenges to both the vendor as well as the state.

    In addition to placement, P.E.R.T. includes diagnostic components.  The P.E.R.T. diagnostics are both custom aligned to Florida specified standards, including Common Core, as well as multiple levels of college curriculum.   In 2011, P.E.R.T. started to be delivered to students in Florida high schools, and in 2012 was fully rolled out to the majority of the high schools in the state, shifting much of the emphasis of assessment from the colleges down into the high schools.  The goals of this change are clear – to afford students the opportunity to develop the skills required for college success prior to starting college.  The challenges in this shift of focus to the high schools were many, and others continue to emerge.  The considerations range from technology considerations, the technical /psychometric implications in assessing a different population of test takers, the added complexity to the vendor of working with two different agencies within the same state, each with different procedures and requirements, associated implications for reporting and analytics, and the challenge to the different state agencies of working together.

     The presentation will focus on the development of P.E.R.T. placement – how was it developed, who was involved in the process, how were the various stakeholders represented, leading into the development of P.E.R.T. diagnostics.  The emphasis of this part will focus on the diagnostics and their different use in colleges versus the high schools, addressing questions such as: How do we make them workable?  How do we score them?  What information is given to the faculty and to the student, and what can they do with that information?  How do we link diagnostic results to curriculum as well as to developmental resources?  Finally, the challenges of implementing a college-focused state-wide placement and diagnostic system in the high schools will be discussed, from both the vendors as well as the states perspective, with a focus on lessons learned, challenges and solutions for the coming years, the integration of P.E.R.T. with other assessments at the high school level, and guidelines for similar implementations in the future.