ENGLISH AND READING PLACEMENT

English and Reading Placement Guide

Information on the Placement Exam

Sample Placement Exam Prompt

Scoring Guide for Placement Exams

Proctor Requirements and Contract

Contacts

 

English and Reading Placement Guide

Placement for Reading:


•  Students who score a 17 or below in reading on the ACT and who have a 2.99 or lower HS GPA will be placed into READ 041.

 

 

•  Students who score a 17 or below in reading on the ACT but who have a 3.0 or higher HS GPA may sit for a university reading exam with Instructor Mary Cooper or another designated faculty member.

 

Transfer and Nontraditional Students:

o   A student whose HS graduation date is five or more years from his/her semester of placement should automatically sit for the university reading exam.

o   A transfer student will be placed according to the measures above, unless his/her HS graduation date was five or more years from the placement semester. READ 041 is automatically waived if the student has satisfactorily completed any college level composition class that is verified by an official transcript.

 

 


Placement for English:

 


•  Students who score a 17 or below in English on the ACT or a 73 or below in English on the COMPASS, and who have a 2.99 or lower HS GPA, will be placed into CoRE English (ENGL 101C).  

 

 

•  Students who score a 17 or below in English on the ACT or a 73 or below in English on the COMPASS, but who have a 3.0 or higher HS GPA, will automatically sit for an English essay placement exam to be evaluated by    the Director of the Writing Assistance Center or another designated university representative.

 

 

Transfer and Nontraditional Students:

o   A student whose HS graduation date is five or more years from his/her semester of placement should automatically sit for a placement exam if his/her ACT or COMPASS scores are 17 or below or 73 or below, respectively.

o   A transfer student should be placed based on his/her ACT or Compass scores + HS GPA, unless said transfer student’s HS graduation date was five or more years from the placement semester.  If a transfer student has satisfactorily completed an introductory level composition course determined to be equivalent to BHSU’s ENGL 101, they will be placed in ENGL 201.

 

*For a description of these English courses, please visit the English Department webpage.

 

Sample Placement Exam Prompts

In the English placement exam, students will be asked to contend with a short passage or quotation and then offer their argument or assessment of the idea. Students will be expected to produce an essay-level response that demonstrates proficiency with essay and sentence-level conventions.  The following are "retired" prompts from previous placement years. 

Sample Prompts:

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.”

--Jean Baudrillard,Simulacra and Simulation

Televisions, computers, radios, smart phones: we are constantly connected to some form of technology that delivers messages and advertisements and keeps us “plugged in” to the world around us.  The Internet has changed the way we interact with information in general, as nearly anything we need to know is a mouse click away.  What’s more, social networking platforms like Facebook have altered the way we think about communication and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances.

Considering the quotation above, first explain what Baudrillard might mean by this statement. Then develop your own argument:  to what extent do you agree or disagree with him?  Take a stance and support your thesis with examples and evidence from your own experience and/or your own observations.  Be sure to write in standard essay format with an introduction, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.


 

Prompt 2.  The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge —broadband tipping the Web from text to image; social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider—the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves—by being seen by others. -- William Deresiewicz

Explain Deresiewicz’s analysis and then advance your own argument.  Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the analysis, providing specific examples and evidence from personal experience or observation.


Prompt 3.  Chuck Klosterman in “My Zombie, Myself:  Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead,” claims that the recent fascination with zombies is actually a fascination with ourselves and modern life.  He argues:

A lot of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies…Every zombie war is a war of attrition. It’s always a numbers game. And it’s more repetitive than complex. In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting 400 work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork, or following Twitter gossip out of obligation, or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche. The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will be never be finished with whatever it is you do.  The Internet reminds of us this every day.

…This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed. Zombies are like the Internet and the media and every conversation we don’t want to have. All of it comes at us endlessly (and thoughtlessly), and — if we surrender — we will be overtaken and absorbed. Yet this war is manageable, if not necessarily winnable. As long we keep deleting whatever’s directly in front of us, we survive. We live to eliminate the zombies of tomorrow. We are able to remain human, at least for the time being. Our enemy is relentless and colossal, but also uncreative and stupid.

Battling zombies is like battling anything ... or everything.”

Explain Klosterman’s analysis and then advance your own argument.  Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the analysis, providing specific examples and evidence from personal experience or observation.

 

Scoring Guide for the Placement Exams

English placement essays will be evaluated by the Director of the Writing Assistance Center or another designated faculty member, using the following RUBRIC. Placement in English 101 requires a score of 24 or above on the essay; essays scoring 23 or below will mandate placement in CoRE English (ENGL 101C).  For a description of these courses, please visit the English Department webpage.

In the reading placement exam, students will be asked to read an approximately 5-page text on the influence of race in our society.  Students will be expected to answer 10 multiple-choice questions dealing with topics, main ideas and supporting details, symbolism and inferences from the passage.  There will also be 15 vocabulary questions to answer as well as 5 short answer questions dealing with information and connections to the text. 

Reading placement exams will be evaluated by Instructor Mary Cooper, or another designated faculty member, using an answer key.  In order to test out of READ 041, students must score an 80% or above on the exam.

 

 

 

 

Proctor Requirements and Contract

In an effort to make the placement exams as convenient as possible, students are allowed to have the exams proctored if they are unable to attend a testing session on campus. The student is responsible for any costs incurred in the process of procuring a proctor.

Acceptable proctors include school or public librarians, high school teachers or guidance counselors, faculty at a local university or college, college or university testing centers, commercial testing centers, military testing centers, or military officer of a higher rank (if the student is in the military). 

Unacceptable proctors include relatives, friends or family acquaintances, peers, BHSU or other university students, or co-workers of you or your family.

To uphold the integrity of the placement process, the proctored exam must meet the following requirements or risk invalidation:

  • The student must provide a photo ID to the proctor at the time of the examination.
  • The proctor must be able to receive the essay exam through email or through standard mail, as specified by the BHSU representative. 
  • The proctor must explain exam instructions to the student before he/she begins the exam.
  • The proctor must ensure that the student has access to no other materials than the exam prompt and Microsoft Word, unless otherwise specified.  The exam must be typed.
  • The proctor must monitor the student during the exam period, and may not designate anyone in his/her place. The proctor will be required to attest to the integrity of the student’s work.
  • When the exam is completed, the proctor must collect and dispose of all exam materials including the essay prompt and any notes or outlines made by the student during the exam. For the English exam, the student may keep an electronic or hard copy of his/her essay response but no other materials pertaining to the exam.  For the reading exam, all materials must be returned or disposed of, as directed.
  • Finally, the proctor must submit the completed exam at the end of the exam period by email or mail, as specified by the BHSU representative.

Proctored exams will require the agreement of the Director of the Writing Assistance Center (for English), Instructor Mary Cooper (for reading), or the BHSU testing center, as well as the designated proctor.  To begin this process, please download the Proctor Contract. 

 

Contacts

Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, Director of Honors
English Placement
Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu
605-642-6918

Instructor Mary Cooper
Reading Placement
Mary.Cooper@BHSU.edu
605-642-6697

Black Hills State University Testing Center
Humbert Hall
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD  57799
605-642-6908

 

 

Black Hills State University

LOCATION:
First Floor of the
E.Y. Berry Library
PHONE: 
605-642-6922
EMAIL:  
WritingCenter@bhsu.edu