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Title:Quality management and stakeholder accountability: Computerization of a mandate-driven placement test
Author(s):Chung, Sun Joo
Director of Research:Davidson, Frederick G.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Davidson, Frederick G.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Sadler, Randall W.; Huang, Wen-Hao; Hahn, Laura
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):English as a Second Language (ESL) placement testing
Institutional testing
Online testing
Language testing
Abstract:In the Fall of 2008, due to a change of emphasis to increase the diversity on campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign saw a large increase in the number of international undergraduate students. This increase led to a surge in the number of students that needed to take the University’s ESL placement test, the UIUC English Placement Test (EPT), in order to accurately place students into appropriate ESL course(s) and to provide English language instruction to these students. Prior to the surge of 2008, the undergraduate EPT test-takers constituted only approximately 22% of the total number of test-takers. During the 2008-2009 academic year, the number of undergraduate EPT test-takers almost tripled from the previous academic year, comprising approximately 43% of the total number of test-takers. Due to this surge, there was an increased demand the undergraduate academic advising community at UIUC for remote ESL testing. This demand was to allow admitted international undergraduate students to take the EPT before arriving on campus because undergraduate advisors needed students’ EPT results for online summer advising sessions in June and July, prior to the start of Fall semester classes. This eventually led to the development of the Online EPT. The Online EPT was the product of external policy and mandate demands and changes. This study aims to investigate the mandates that influenced the development of the Online EPT at UIUC, and how the Online EPT and the surge in the number of international undergraduate students affected stakeholders. Because of the complexity of the research context, the research methods implemented in this study are based on a “pragmatism” perspective on educational inquiry to show how practice, theory, and research findings are related and inform one another. A document audit trail was used to develop a mandate map in order to illustrate the various influences that affected the development of the Online EPT. Next, I interviewed program directors that managed programs that offered Composition 1 courses, provided writing assistance, or advised students on Composition 1 course registration. My purpose in doing this was to investigate how their programs were influenced by the surge of international undergraduate students and implementation of the Online EPT. To examine program effectiveness and satisfaction of the EPT/ESL policies and the Online EPT, I surveyed the two main stakeholders of the EPT: undergraduate academic advisors and international undergraduate students. It was found that the primary influences that led to the development of the Online EPT were external mandates—primarily those coming from the undergraduate advising community. During the course of the research, I found that undergraduate advisors had a major influence on the academic lives of international undergraduate students, and the advisors’ demands were the primary force behind the implementation of the Online EPT. Moreover, communication was—and still is—an area that needs improvement. Accurate communication and information transfer about students is essential for providing quality education to students. It should be understood by stakeholders that in order to provide students with the optimal educational experience, all parties involved should share information and knowledge about students.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Sun Joo Chung
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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