Two summers ago I sat in on a meeting of muckety mucks in tyc higher ed in Massachusetts, where I teach. They had an expert* speaking who said that research shows that self-placement and mandatory testing placement are about equally efficacious.
In the light of our very high attrition rates in the face of mandatory testing and placement, I can believe that may be true.
Students have a feeling about how much math they know, and their fear and commitment level towards math (usually frightened, resentful, and noncommittal of course).
And it occurs to me that in a course they chose themselves, at least they have to take some ownership about their success.
*I don¹t remember who, but he was familiar with AMATYC. :-) And I do realize that an expert is someone who crosses a state line to tell you something you already know.
On 7/31/12 3:03 PM, "Wayne Ford Mackey" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I agree with Alain. Treisman called placement tests a scam. Let the student > take whatever course they choose. They'll be fine. > > wayne > ________________________________________