Assessment of Generation 1.5 Learners for Placement into College Writing CoursesReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Basic Writing (CUNY), v27 n1 p61-79 2008

Higher education settings in the United States typically include several types of writing assessments. Since tests determining students' placement into writing courses are often high-stakes, it is imperative for those who make placement decisions to be knowledgeable of the different types of learners entering higher education in order to make appropriate placement recommendations. This article investigates the existence of different types of second language learners in the U.S., with particular emphasis on the population currently identified as Generation 1.5. After describing several defining characteristics, I draw on results of studies identifying how these learners are different from other L2 learners. I use this exploration to highlight findings that can inform writing program administrators interested in adopting assessment procedures leading to fairer and more accurate placement of L2 students. Such findings could serve as a foundation for a writing placement framework that takes into consideration different types of learners based on their writing performance as well as cultural and educational backgrounds.

Descriptors: Student Placement, Testing, College Students, Writing Tests, Student Evaluation, Second Language Learning, English (Second Language), Individual Differences, Writing Ability, Educational Research

Kingsborough Community College City University of New York. Available from: Boyd Printing Company, Inc. 49 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, NY 12210. Tel: 800-877-2693; Tel: 518-436-9686; e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Author: di Gennaro, Kristen


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