Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rose, Amy D.||Armstrong, Sonya L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Universities and colleges--Entrance requirements; College students--Decision making; Advanced placement programs (Education); Educational evaluation


Increasing college completion rates is important not only for institutions of higher learning, but also for the nation. Success in the first year and persistence to second year are vital to increasing these completion rates. One aspect of the first-year experience is placement into math, reading and writing courses. A majority of college freshman are placed using standardized placement exams that determine if they take pre-college or college-level courses. Directed self-placement (DSP) is an alternative placement method that is being utilized in lieu of standardized placement exams at a small selection of institutions within the U.S. A secondary analysis was conducted to understand the relationships among DSP, student persistence and success. Specifically, analyses were conducted to understand how previous performance (high school GPA and ACT scores) related to student choice, persistence and success. Participants were from one private Midwestern university (N = 2,760). T-tests were conducted and effect sizes were calculated as well as a logistic regression, chi-square test of independence, and an ordinal regression. The results of the analyses provided evidence that previous performance, specifically high school GPA and ACT score were related to the DSP choice. It was also found that there is a relationship between DSP choice, student success, and persistence in preparatory and college-level writing courses. High school GPA and ACT score were found to be predictors of success in the first writing course. The ACT score was found to not be significantly related to persistence through course, but high school GPA was found to be significantly related. These findings underscored the need to explore alternative methods of placement beyond standardized placement exams.


Advisors: Amy D. Rose; Sonya L. Armstrong.||Committee members: Thomas Smith.||Includes bibliographical references.


xi, 89 pages




Northern Illinois University

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