League for Innovation in the Community College

By Jason Bryer | March 18, 2018

Rethinking Placement Exams: Diagnostic Assessment and Achievement of College Skills


This session will introduce a new open source formative assessment developed as an alternative to tradition placement exams that measures self-regulated learning, reading, mathematics, and writing. Results from a pilot study conducted at two large online institutions will be discussed.

The Diagnostic Assessment and Achievement of College Skills (DAACS) addresses the issues with traditional placement exams and remediation programs by providing students with immediate, detailed, formative feedback. In addition to assessing students in reading, writing, and mathematics, DAACS also assesses non-academic areas such as academic self-regulation, metacognition, strategy use, motivation, self-efficacy, grit, and test anxiety. Once students complete a DAACS assessment, they are directed to open education resources (OERs) to address any potential gaps in their academic skills while emphasizing their strengths. Student results are used by Student Success Coaches to inform targeted interventions based upon student’s individual feedback report and performance. Additionally, these data contribute to the College’s predictive analytics efforts with a goal of increasing the accuracy of predicting “at-risk” students.

This forum will introduce DAACS including the theoretical reasoning for this approach. Participants will have the opportunity to complete DAACS for themselves to review the assessments and feedback available to students (https://demo.DAACS.net). An overview of training for Academic Advisors will also be provided. Results from a study conducted at two large online institutions will be provided which provide evidence of the psychometric qualities of the assessments and the impact on student success.