Date of Award:

1973

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Keith T. Checketts

Abstract

This study investigated the validity of excusing students from composition courses based upon an objective examination.

Utah State University (USU) students who had taken freshman composition courses during the 1970-71 school year when these courses were required of all entering freshman students were divided into two groups: one group was composed of those who had received an "A" or "B" for three freshman composition courses, while the other group had received a- "C" or "D" for the same courses. USU students who had been excused from taking freshman composition courses based on the CLEP General Examination in English Composition (CLEP) during the 1971-72 school year when all entering freshman students were required to take the C LEP were divided into two groups: one group had scored above 449 on the CLEP and the other group had scored from 390-449. In addition, students who had been excused from the same composition requirement based on a score above 2 on the Advanced Placement Test in English Composition (AP) were included in the study. A random sample of 25 from each of the above groups participated in the study.

All subjects completed an essay test (CLEP Subject Examination in English Composition--Essay Section) and an objective test (CLEP Subject Examination--Objective Section). The essay test was rated independently by three members of the USU English Department, and an inter-rater reliability coefficient of . 83 was obtained using analysis of variance techniques.

Results showed that on the bases of both the essay test and the objective test there was no significant difference in the writing ability of the two groups of students who had completed freshman composition courses and the two groups of students who had been excused from freshman composition courses based on the C LEP. On the bases of both of these tests, the students who scored above 2 on the AP test scored above all other groups in the study; the students who scored above 449 on the CLEP scored second to the AP students and very much like the students who had received an average of "A" or "B" in freshman composition courses; the students who scored 390-449 and those who received a "C" or "D" in composition courses received virtually identical scores on the essay and objective tests.

Based on multiple regression analysis, the objective test was found to be a much better predictor of freshman English grades than the essay test. In addition, the essay test was found to add little to the prediction of freshman composition grades provided by the objective test alone.

Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that the C LEP had been accurately applied at USU. Based upon the assumption that freshman composition grades are a valid measure of writing ability, it was also concluded that the objective test used in the study was a more valid measure of writing ability than the essay test, and further concluded that the objective test could predict writing ability quite accurately independent of the essay test.

In consideration of the previous conclusions, it was concluded that a strictly objective test can validly be used to excuse students from freshman composition courses.

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