MARIETTA, OHIO—With registration for the spring semester beginning next week at Washington State Community College (WSCC), the institution is continuing efforts to eliminate enrollment barriers by removing the placement testing requirement for general admission. The shift away from required placement testing was implemented to simplify the enrollment process for adult learners and alleviate testing anxiety.
For those who have been out of school for a while “the fear of walking through the door on the first day and taking a test can be daunting,” said Dean of Student Success Kathy Temple-Miller.
As an open enrollment institution, Washington State does not make application decisions based on test scores or grade point average for general admission. Instead, placement test scores were used to assess college readiness in Mathematics and English. Those who needed extra help in either subject would be placed into brush-up courses.
Kathy Temple-Miller said making testing optional removes perceived barriers and reduces the amount of time for certificate and degree completion. This ultimately saves students money. She said removing the testing requirement is backed by studies that show assessing students with multiple factors and gauging their confidence “provides us with a more accurate assessment of success in the college classroom.”
This change is one of many that the college has recently adopted in their efforts to increase access to higher education. “Leaders are finding new ways to create meaningful change by transforming the everyday standard practices that cause some adults to question whether they are ready for college,” explained Temple-Miller.
Other reforms made by the college include innovative delivery models such as 8-week and Saturday only classes, the Guided Pathways redesign of the student experience from first contact to completion, and the new Student OneStop which consolidated all student support systems in one centralized location on campus.
While testing is no longer required for general admission, individuals applying to selective admission programs, such as those in health sciences, and Early College options must still follow placement testing and GPA requirements. Temple-Miller also explained that general admission students can still choose to complete placement testing and that students can now rely on support from a success coach. “We want prospective students to realize that Washington State has success coaches that will be their guide on this journey regardless of where they start.”
Success coaches are part of the newly designed Center for Student Success. The center uses a holistic approach that addresses student success from admission to employment or transfer. The center includes career coaching to help undecided students find a clear path, tutoring and academic support, success coaching to gain new stress management strategies, and the Office of Disability Services.
WSCC begins its spring registration on October 26 for current students and open registration starts on Wednesday, October 28. For enrollment information, prospective students can contact Admissions at 740.568.1900.