Happy 30th Anniversary, ACCUPLACER
Happy 30th Anniversary, ACCUPLACERAshleigh Goldberg, Associate Director, ACCUPLACER
In 1982, Arthur Doyle, former Vice-President of the New England Regional Office, received a memo on his desk asking for his recommendation on what College Board should do with a new capability called Item Response Theory-based Computer Adaptive Testing. This is a form of computer-based testing that adapts to the examinee’s ability level. Doyle ran with that challenge, and as a result, ACCUPLACER was born.
This year, ACCUPLACER celebrates its 30th anniversary. Throughout its three decades, ACCUPLACER has provided institutions with immediate and accurate results on their students’ strengths and weaknesses in core subjects, while delivering reliable data to aid in college course placement.
In those early days, Doyle recalled that the need for a program like ACCUPLACER stemmed from colleges’ desire to be able to better assess current students for placement purposes. At the time, the College Board had a program called Comparative Guidance and Placement (GCP), which functioned similarly to an SAT administration. Students took a paper and pencil test, and then waited for the results to come back weeks later. Needing more immediate information about student performance, many colleges were left to create their own tests. Nothing was standardized and institutions couldn’t accurately account for validity and reliability. At the same time, institutions were concerned about attrition attributed to academic misplacement, which often resulted in students dropping courses well after the semester had begun. ACCUPLACER became the solution.
What began as a pilot with 19 participating institutions and four tests has grown into a dynamic program with over 1,500 participating institutions nationwide and dozens of tests for both diagnostic and placement purposes. The ACCUPLACER program continues to innovate with redesigned placement tests launching this fall. As part of the ACCUPLACER team, I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for ACCUPLACER and its impact for colleges and students. The complexities of operating a computer-based assessment are many, and we look forward to working with institutions to ensure ACCUPLACER continues to meet their needs.