The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Local high schools match college assessment scores

Performances on math and English assessment tests by local high school students are equal to, if not better than their peers that enter community colleges both in California and nationwide, according to City College officials.

Statistics from the college’s Office of Institutional Research also show scores from the three Santa Barbara public high schools are fairly consistent with each other. However, each school performance varies in individual assessment disciplines.

Last fall, Santa Barbara High School scored the best on the English writing assessment with 30.2 percent of students who took the exams tested at college level.

Dos Pueblos High School scored the highest on the English reading assessment with 22.3 percent of students at a college reading level, while San Marcos High School outdid the other schools in the math assessment with 19.8 percent of students testing at college level.

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David Hodges, assistant principal of Santa Barbara High School, said the school prepares its students for City College in their junior year with mock math and English tests.

He said high numbers of students make the leap to City College and other higher education institutions because “lots of dedicated people help students make the transition.”

“An area of growth has to be how to better prepare students for City College assessment tests,” Hodges said.

City College officials say that math and English placement tests are credible and accurate methods of testing, but some students argue that they are not fair evaluation of their skills.

“I feel I was misplaced because the timed essay question did not give me enough time to create my best writing,” said English 100 student James Winston. He said he also feels he is being “held back” because of his placement.

Math 120 student Adrian Cojucaru agrees.

“I can’t say I’m really satisfied with my placement,” Cojucaru said.

He explained he took the hardest assessment test possible in order to get placed in a high class, but believes this may have caused him to underachieve on the test.

According to Gail Tennen, English professor and director of assessment for the English department, most students and faculty are satisfied with the current assessment process.

“City College is only interested in placing students as high as possible,” said Tennen. She added that students do have some opportunity to re-test if they are unhappy with their placements.

“The timed essay aspect of the [English] assessment is looked over by a committee, so there can be no conspiracy,” English Professor Jill Peacock said.

Students over the age of 21 who take the assessment tests generally perform higher than high school students wishing to attend City College, according to statistics provided by Dr. Darla Cooper, senior director of the Office of Institutional Research.

Tennen, who heads the English department’s assessment program, expressed that assessment tests cannot be geared toward high school students exclusively.

“There can never be a perfect placement system,” Tennen said.

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