Resources

Accuplacer Placement Test Resources

Accuplacer Format

From College Board, the creators of the Accuplacer, this guide describes the Accuplacer’s format and also provides practice questions. It is located at:

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/accuplacer-sample-questions-for-students.pdf

Accuplacer Practice Tests

The following Accuplacer practice tests are recommended by college and career readiness instructors polled during Be Prepared’s creation:

This site offers eight math practice tests that give immediate feedback and reference a textbook for more information. This site is located at:

http://www.huntington.edu/Accuplacer-Practice-Tests

This site has practice tests in arithmetic, elementary algebra, reading comprehension, and sentence skills. It provides immediate feedback on answer choices and is available for use at:

http://www.dcccd.edu/Employees/Departments/EA/Student%20Affairs/Assessment%20Practice%20Tests/ACCUPLACER/Pages/ACCU_Prac_Tests.aspx

This site offers four math practice tests. It offers feedback by telling why the incorrect answer chosen was wrong but only offers one try at the problem. It is located at: http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=25191

Lee College provides practice tests in reading comprehension, sentence skills, arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college-level math. Correct answers for each question are listed at the bottom of the page. It is found at: http://www.lee.edu/counseling/accuplacer_test.pdf

An app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is available for students reviewing for the Accuplacer. The app features include interactive practice tests in arithmetic, elementary algebra, college-level math, reading comprehension, and sentence skills. It costs $1.99 in the iTunes Store. A functionality demo is found at: http://media.collegeboard.com/email/accuplacer/30945/accuplacerapp.html?ep_mid=9821637&ep_rid=46295827

Accuplacer Study Resources

The following sites give students practice questions and are recommended by college and career readiness instructors:

The Community College of Aurora offers comprehensive study guides for all areas of the test and clear video review for eight sections of the math test. It is located at:

http://www.ccaurora.edu/students/academic-support/tutoring-services/math-access-review

This site gives a comprehensive overview of the Accuplacer and reviews the math, English, and writing sections. Instructors give an oral explanation of sample questions while showing how to do the problems. Find the site at:

http://www.mclennan.edu/students/testing/accuplacer/prep.html

This guide reviews the reading skills (main idea, supporting idea, inference, applying ideas, and analyzing sentence relationships) that students need to know to be successful on the Accuplacer. It also contains practice exercises with answers and is located at: http://bristolcc.edu/Enrollment_Center/assessment/forms/Reading%20Test%20Study%20Guide.pdf

This site contains study guides in reading, sentence skills, and math. The math study guides include detailed explanations and practice problems with answers. It is available at: http://www.aims.edu/student/assessment/studyguides/

Steve McFarland, an instructor from Windham Adult Education in Maine, created this handout describing the most commonly found elementary algebra problems. It also includes a factoring guide: Accuplacer Elementary Algebra Most Common

For grammar review to prepare for the sentence skills test, visit http://chompchomp.com This site consists of interactive practice exercises, links to YouTube grammar videos, and classroom presentations.

Accuplacer Testing Tips

From the College Board’s website, here are five practical tips for taking the Accuplacer: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/accuplacer/accuplacer-tips.html

Wilkes Community College’s guide to the Accuplacer gives general testing advice for taking the Accuplacer as well as specific advice for reading comprehension, sentence skills, arithmetic, and elementary algebra. The advice is found on page 11 of the booklet found at:

http://www.wilkescc.edu/images/Website_-_2008-2009/Student_Services/PDF_Documents/AccuplacerBooklet%20_2012.pdf

Compass Placement Test Resources

Compass Calculator Guidelines

If a college permits students to use calculators for the math test, ACT provides calculator guidelines here: http://www.act.org/compass/student/calculator.html

Compass Format

The ACT website, http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html ,gives an excellent overview of the test while providing sample test questions with answers.

Compass Practice Tests

The following Compass practice tests are recommended by college and career readiness instructors polled during Be Prepared’s creation:

Gainesville State College has ten practice tests, eight in writing and two in reading. After completing a test, incorrect answers are shown in bold print. The tests can be accessed at: https://web.gsc.edu/fs/mhorton/LSEnglish

This site offers two practice tests for Compass reading. Helpful feedback is offered when incorrect answers are chosen. The tests are available at: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/basicskills/bslc/strategies.html

Test Prep Practice offers five practice tests each in reading, sentence correction, and math problem solving. After finishing the tests, students can review all their answers and receive a detailed explanation of each answer choice. Students can also analyze their practice test based on whether it was a question they marked to look at later, one they took a long time to complete, or review all their answers. It is found at:

http://www.testpreppractice.net/COMPASS/Free-Online-COMPASS-Practice-Tests.aspx

Compass Study Websites

The following sites give students practice questions and are recommended by college and career readiness instructors:

Virginia Highlands Community College’s site offers extensive practice for the math test including written explanations, oral explanations, and practice problems. For practice questions missed, a detailed explanation is shown. Find the site at: http://vhcc2.vhcc.edu/compassmath

Also for the Compass math test, this site offers a diagnostic test that links to practice exercises in areas where students miss questions. The practice consists of questions along with explanations when questions are missed. It can be accessed at: http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/oaa/compass/index.asp

Gainesville State College also offers interactive PowerPoint exercises that let students study for the writing test. It covers fused sentences, comma splices, and sentence fragments at: https://web.gsc.edu/fs/mhorton/LSEnglish/powerpoints.htm

Test creator ACT’s website contains practice questions for the reading test. This PDF doc has the correct answers and shows which type of question was missed to help focus study. It is available for download at: http://www.act.org/compass/sample/pdf/reading.pdf

For grammar review help on the writing skills test, visit http://chompchomp.com This site includes interactive practice exercises, links to YouTube grammar videos, and classroom presentations.

Compass TestingTips

From ACT’s website, here are seven practical tips for taking the Compass test: http://www.act.org/compass/student/tips.html

TABE/Compass Concordant

Deciphering Compass performance is easier with this concordant that matches Compass scores with the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). Find this resource at:

http://kyae.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/FD5D355C-B442-45FC-8D41-49AB093632A0/0/concordanttablesTABECOMPASS.pdf

Taking Standardized Tests

The article, “How to Do Your Best on Standardized Tests: Some Suggestions

for Adult Learners” (Adventures in Assessment, Volume 16, Spring 2004, p. 6 to 11) offers adult students strategies for best performance on standardized tests. Locate this article at: http://www.sabes.org/resources/publications/adventures/vol16/vol16.pdf

Other College Preparation Resources

Be Prepared! Brochure

This tri-fold brochure explains how college is different from adult basic skills and high school programs and includes classroom success tips. It can be downloaded and edited as a Word document or downloaded as a PDF doc for easy printing on 8.5x14 inch paper and is found at: http://www.abspd.appstate.edu It is listed on the site as Transition Brochure.

Career Exploration

With the average student aware of only 12 jobs, career exploration is essential. The website http://careeronestop.org provides numerous resources including information on re-employment after layoffs, salary and benefits, writing resumes, and interviewing. Students can view videos about various jobs, search real-time job openings, and match their existing skills to a new career.

Changing the Finish Line

For more advice on adapting your program so students can transition more easily to college, please see, “5 Things You Can Do to Help Students Get to College” by Trish Schneider from the March 2005 issue of The Change Agent. The article provides suggestions about how to change a program’s culture and teach college readiness while students prepare for the GED.

College Transition Toolkit

Section 7 of The College Transition Toolkit details information about the reading, writing, math, computer, college readiness, and study skills that adult learners need to know for transitioning to post-secondary education. The toolkit can be ordered at: http://www.collegetransition.org/home.html

Community College 101

Community College 101 contains curriculum for a 16 class course for students planning to enter a community college job training program. Classes cover topics ranging from obtaining financial aid, taking the CPT, and developing a support system. Both students and instructors can obtain usernames and passwords for this site by visiting http://goingtocollege.weebly.com and requesting them.

Critical Thinking

This paper discusses how college is different from high school in terms of memorizing facts versus the higher level thinking skills college instructors expect their students to know. It is available for download at: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/What_Professors_expect.pdf

Financial Resources

Mapping Your Financial Journey

Financial issues are one of the main challenges preventing students from attending and completing college. The publication, “Mapping Your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College” contains information on how to do the financial planning necessary for college. It includes goal setting worksheets, figuring the cost of college beyond tuition, and avoiding scholarship scams. It is online at: http://www.collegetransition.org/publications.mapping.html

Student Aid.Ed.Gov

This site offers information about applying for financial aid as well as preparing for college. It includes information encouraging adult students to attend postsecondary education and is found at:

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/CollegeGovRetirement.jsp

Habits of Mind

Cerritos College developed a PDF doc covering the common skill sets and practices that successful college students have. Thirty-five tips are covered that include balancing difficult and easy classes in a semester, having alternative classes in mind when registering for class, and buying textbooks early. While designed for Cerritos students, almost every tip applies to all college students. The PDF doc is listed at:

https://cms.cerritos.edu/uploads/Counseling/Habits%20of%20Mind%20flyer%20Orientation%201_10.pdf

Math Resources

Keys to Success in Math

Dianne Barber, Director of the Adult Basic Skills Professional Development Project, and William Barber, Appalachian State University Professor, authored this guide to assist adults in learning math. Chapters cover conquering math anxiety, developing a positive attitude toward math, and establishing math study skills. A PDF doc of this 50 page guide can be downloaded here: Keys to Success in Math.

Khan Academy

A free learning tool, Khan Academy has thousands of videos available on many subjects. In math, there are many videos which provide an explanation and show how problems are worked and can be used to help students review arithmetic, pre-algebra, and algebra for the CPT. The Khan Academy’s website is: http://www.khanacademy.org

Preparing Students for College Level Math

Pam Meador, a 20 year veteran math instructor from Portland Adult Education, has many suggestions for making sure students are ready for college level math. Her strategies include goal setting, journaling, and inquiry-based learning. Over 85% of her students place into college-level math courses. A description of her math class is online at:

http://www.collegetransition.org/promisingpractices.briefs.collegelevelmath.html

Retooling the GED Math Classroom for College Success

Dr. Tom Mechem, New York’s GED Chief Examiner and a GED graduate, created the following PowerPoint to provide direction for how to re-shape GED math instruction for success on the CPT and better preparation for college level math. It can be downloaded at:

http://www.sabes.org/southeast/Events/ged_Math/T%20mechem%20pwrpoint%20Network%2009%20-%20Math.ppt

Metacognition

Using Metacognition to Effect an Extreme Academic Makeover

Dr. Saundra McGuire of Louisiana State University shares how to assist students in thinking about their thinking in this video and accompanying Power Point available at:

http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/metacognition/mcguire.html

Think Well-Learn Well Diagram

The Think Well-Learn Well Diagram presents question students can ask to determine whether they have learned something at the surface level or have a deep understanding of the material. Most college classes expect students to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create information instead of just memorize facts.

Online Classes

The paper Online Learning: Does It Help Low-Income and Underprepared Students? (CCRC Brief No. 52) http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Publication.asp?UID=879 found that community college students are more likely to withdraw from completely online courses versus face to face classes and are less likely to take the next course in their program sequence.

Reading Resources

 

Reading Speed

This Power Point www.users.drew.edu/sjamieso/Resources/Reading-for-college.ppt

describes how to be an effective college reader with specific techniques to improve reading speed up to the 600 words per minute an effective college reader needs.

Textbook Reading

“Reading a Textbook” highlights how to read using the PQ4R method (preview, question, read reflect, recite, review). It also describes how to read textbooks in different disciplines such as literature, history, and science. It is found at: http://aae.boisestate.edu/tutoring/files/2011/10/Reading-a-Textbook.pdf

Research Papers

Research papers are required in many college courses. The book, The Craft of Research, Third Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing by Booth, Colomb, & Williams, 2008) is a frequently recommend resource to help students cope with planning a research paper, answering the “so what?” question, drafting a paper, and selecting trustworthy sources.

Study Skills Resources

Ask a Study Skills Question

The resource http://lap.appstate.edu/ask-study-skills-question from Learning Skills Services at Appalachian State University contains guides to assist students with college writing, note taking, stress management, test anxiety, and test taking.

Eighteen Ideas for Becoming a Master Student

The paper 18 Ideas for Becoming a Master Student, adapted from the “Miniature Guide to How to Study and Learn,” holds a wealth of information on such topics as how to study like a detective, how to see instructors like a coach, and how to use questioning techniques to determine whether information has really been learned.

Family Feud Game

This lesson plan explains how to conduct a Family Feud style game where students compete to select the top choices in study skills categories like best things to do in class, studying for a test, and common college mistakes. A description of this activity is available at: http://www.oncourseworkshop.com/Getting%20On%20Course019.htm

Note Taking

Using a system like the Cornell Note Taking Method helps students increase recall of lecture material and gives them better notes to review while studying for exams. Lifehacker provides a detailed summary of how to use the Cornell system here: http://lifehacker.com/202418/geek-to-live--take-study+worthy-lecture-notes

Professor Berry’s Web Site

From a developmental education instructor at St Clair Community College, this website gives links to a learning styles questionnaire and information about the amount of study time necessary to do well in college. Page three of the site explains how learning is a physiological process. It is found at:

http://home.comcast.net/~profberrysc4/site/?/home

Study Guides and Strategies

The Study Guides and Strategies award-winning website, http://www.studygs.net ,is packed with short study guides with related resources in many areas including learning and studying, time and project management, reading and research, writing and vocabulary, and memorizing and testing.

Writing Resources

Purdue University’s online writing lab, located at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , contains abundant resources to help students with writing, research, grammar, mechanics, and style.

References

 Bailey, T., & Cho, S.W. (2010, September). Issue brief: Developmental education in
            community colleges. Retrieved from Community College Research Center
            website: http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Publication.asp?UID=815  
Cohn, E.S., & Boyt Schell, B.A., & Crepeau, E.B. (2004).  Willard and Spackman's
           Occupational Therapy (10th Edition).  Philadelphia:  Lippincott, Williams, &
           Wilkins.
 
Jenkins, D., & Weiss, M.J. (2011). Charting pathways to completion for low-income
            community college students (Working Paper No. 34). Retrieved from Community
 
College Research Center website:
 
Price, D. V., & Roberts, B. (Winter 2008-2009). Improving student success by
            strengthening developmental education in community colleges: The role of
            state policy. Retrieved from National Centre for Vocational Education Research
         website: http://hdl.voced.edu.au/10707/75829
 
Prince, D., and Jenkins, D. (2005). Building pathways to success for low-skill adults:
         Lessons for community college policy and practice from a statewide longitudinal
         tracking study. New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers
         College, Columbia University.
 
Safran, S., & Visher, M. G. (2010). Case studies of three community colleges: The
         policy and practice of assessing and placing students in developmental
         education courses (Working Paper). Retrieved from MDRC website:
 
Springer, L., Stanne, M.E., & Donovan, S.S (1999, spring). Effects of small-group
        learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and
      technology: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69:1, 21 – 51.
 
Venezia, A., Bracco, K. R., & Nodine, T. (2010). One-shot deal? Students’ perceptions
        of assessment and course placement in California’s community colleges.
        San Francisco: WestEd.
 
Alfred Sheinwold authored the quote, “Learn all you can from the mistakes of others.  You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”