Allow students to pick courses without placement exams
College is a time to finally transform into an adult, to be as responsible as you can and to make your own decisions according to your personal beliefs. However, a decision that our university doesn’t deem fit for students to make is which level of a class they may enroll in.
Whether you are trying to take a foreign language or mathematics-based class, you are obliged to take an online placement exam which will determine what class is appropriate for you based on your results. The exam supposedly places 95 percent of students in the appropriate level, according to Josy V. McGinn, the French language coordinator.
Most of the students attempting to place into a linguistic or mathematics course are incoming freshmen who already have to deal with an assortment of distractions, and the last thing they want to do is take a time-consuming test to try to find the class level that suits them best.
For example, when freshmen try to place into a math class, most of them have taken some form of pre-calculus their senior year of high school. Still, they are unlikely to remember any math skills from their senior year of high school in their first semester at college. So they might place into statistics or a lower math class when they could potentially excel in an advanced math course.
‘When I came to SU I had forgotten and lost a lot of my math skills I had learned in high school,’ said Alana Basloe, a sophomore marketing major. ‘I took the math placement exam and I did alright, but I could have done a lot better, if my memory had been refreshed. And I definitely would have been placed into higher math class.’
Of course these exams are there to try and place students in the appropriate class, but they also aim to stop the few students who try to enroll into a class where they could get an easy A. It’s reasonable that a student who speaks Spanish fluently shouldn’t be able to take Spanish 101. But placement exams are definitely not the solution for that problem, because everyone knows that it’s incredibly easy to purposely fail an exam; get most of the questions wrong but make sure to answer a couple of easy ones correctly to allude suspicion.
Instead of forcing students take a class that they don’t want to take, the university should guide them in the right direction with the placement exams and let them make the choice. Students are paying 40 grand a year; let them chose between Spanish 101 or 102 and deal with the consequences of their own decisions.
Pierre Hahn is a contributing columnist whose columns run biweekly in The Daily Orange. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »