The Placement Problem

“The problem of placing entering college students at the appropriate level has, for years, plagued both administrators and language departments” Orwen, G.P. (1974).

Regrettably, little has changed since Orwen first inveighed against the perennial problem of placing incoming language students.  Even with the advent of computerized language testing, most assessments remain entirely norm-referenced and do not in any way reflect the particular curricula of individual institutions.

SLUPE (the Saint Louis University Placement Exam) is the first online adaptive placement exam that relies on curricular objectives AND test-taker data sourced from enrolled students. SLUPE gives faculty control over what kinds of language structures are required to move from one course level to a subsequent one.

In addition to recommending an appropriate course for incoming students, SLUPE can also be used to evaluate existing curricular benchmarks and inform instructional design and program assessment initiatives. Diagnostic reports can also be generated for individual students so they can review problematic areas identified by the tool.

The SLUPE Process

Adding questions to your custom assessment is straight-forward and requires no programming expertise. Once you have built your placement test based on curricular benchmarks, you can further calibrate the exam with your own student data. You will quickly see what your students know and at what point in your language course sequence they know it. Detailed reporting helps you determine which question items are the best-suited for determining placement at your institution.

Academic Commentary on SLUPE

“On the basis of our experience over nearly two years, we can confirm firstly that the SLUPE platform will provide anyone wanting to create a computer-adaptive test with the means of doing so. It does not presuppose of its creators any formal background in testing, it is easy to learn to use, requires little time or effort to produce an operational test, and, of course, is free.”

“SLUPE has the great advantage of requiring no programming ability or statistical expertise of test creators. SLUPE is a user-friendly CAT authoring system which requires only that test makers create their own question database.”

“(SLUPE) is a user-friendly system that the test administrator uses to create his or her own database. This has changed drastically how CATs have been perceived and how they have been used for decades”