Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education

Edited by Jessica Nastal, Mya Poe, and Christie Toth
Copy edited by Meg Vezzu. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

This book won the Best Book Award for 2022 from the Council of Writing Program Administrators at its 2023 annual convention. Presented every two years, the award recognizes an outstanding book related to writing programs and program administration. (At the 2023 conference, awards were given for both 2021 and 2022.)

CoverWriting Placement in Two-Year Colleges brings together two-year college teacher-scholar-activists from across the U.S. to share stories, strategies, and data about local efforts at reforming writing placement assessment to advance educational access and equity. The chapters in this edited collection help faculty and writing program administrators navigate the shifting landscape of placement in the 2020s. Contributors demonstrate how two-year colleges have addressed local and state-level pressures for reform, especially at a time when the nation has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic with its inequitable economic, social, and physical toll.

Table of Contents

Open the entire book:   In PDF Format PDF Format     In ePub Format ePub Format

Front Matter


Foreword, Lizbett Tinoco
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.1.2

Introduction, Jessica Nastal, Mya Poe, and Christie Toth
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.1.3

Part One. The Long Road of Placement Reform

Chapter 1. No Reform Is an Island: Tracing the Influences and Consequences of Evidence-Based Placement Reform at a Two-Year Predominantly Black Institution, Jessica Nastal, Jason Evans, and Jessica Gravely
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.01

Chapter 2. From ACCUPLACER to Informed Self-Placement at Whatcom Community College: Equitable Placement as an Evolving Practice, Jeffrey Klausman and Signee Lynch
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.02

Chapter 3. A Path to Equity, Agency, and Access: Self-Directed Placement at the Community College of Baltimore County, Kris Messer, Jamey Gallagher, and Elizabeth Hart
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.03

Chapter 4. Welcome/Not Welcome: From Discouragement to Empowerment in the Writing Placement Process at Central Oregon Community College, Jane Denison-Furness, Stacey Lee Donohue, Annemarie Hamlin, and Tony Russell
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.04

Part Two. Innovation and Equity in Placement Reform

Chapter 5. Narrowing the Divide in Placement at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: The Case of Yakima Valley College, Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt and Travis Margoni
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.05

Chapter 6. Putting ACCUPLACER in Its Place: Expanding Evidence in Placement Reform at Jamestown Community College, Jessica M. Kubiak
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.06

Chapter 7. Tracking the Racial Consequences of Placement by Probability: A Case Study at Kingsborough Community College, Annie Del Principe, Lesley Broder, and Lauren Levesque
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.07

Chapter 8. Mind the (Linguistic) Gap: On “Flagging” ESL Students at Queensborough Community College, Charissa Che
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.08

Part Three. Pandemic-Precipitated Placement Reform

Chapter 9. Pandemic Placement at Cuyahoga Community College: A Case Study, Ashlee Brand and Bridget Kriner
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.09

Chapter 10. A Complement to Educational Reform: Directed Self-Placement (DSP) at Cochise College, Ella Melito, Erin Whittig, Cathy Sander Matthesen, and Denisse Cañez
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.10

Chapter 11. Community College Online Directed Self-Placement During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sarah Elizabeth Snyder, Sara Amani, and Kevin Kato
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.2.11

Afterword: Placement, Equity, and the Promise of Democratic Open-Access Education, Darin L. Jensen and Joanne Baird Giordano
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565.3.2


About the Editors

Jessica Nastal is Interim Dean of Learning Resources and Assessment and Associate Professor of English at Prairie State College. Her research focuses on equity in writing assessment and writing pedagogy, particularly for New Majority college students. Nastal’s scholarship has appeared in Journal of Response to Writing, Composition Studies, ETS Research Reports, and Journal of Writing Assessment. She has served as Developmental Editor for the Journal of Writing Analytics, Associate Editor for the Journal of Writing Assessment, and on the editorial board of Composition Studies. She won an Excellence Award in 2021 from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in two-year colleges. As dean, she implemented PSC’s Learning Environment Award to recognize faculty and staff who make outstanding contributions in teaching and learning at the college..

Mya Poe is Associate Professor of English at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on writing assessment and writing development with particular attention to justice and fairness. She is the co-author of Learning to Communicate in Science and Engineering and co-editor of Race and Writing Assessment and Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity. She has also guest-edited special issues of Research in the Teaching of English and College English on the topic of social justice, diversity, and writing assessment. Her teaching and service have been recognized with the Northeastern University Teaching Excellence Award, the Northeastern College of Social Sciences and Humanities Outstanding Teaching Award, and the MIT Infinite Mile Award for Continued Outstanding Service and Innovative Teaching.

Christie Toth is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate studies in the University of Utah’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies. She is co-editor of the critical sourcebook Teaching Composition in the Two-Year College and recipient of a Mark Reynolds Best Article in Teaching English in the Two-Year College award. Christie has worked on several writing placement reform projects at both two- and four-year institutions. She has published on writing placement in Assessing Writing, Journal of Writing Assessment and the edited collection Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity. Christie collaborates closely with faculty, staff, and student colleagues at Salt Lake Community College on a variety of transfer initiatives, a partnership that won a 2021 Diana Hacker Outstanding Programs in English Award. Her co-authored book about these collaborations, Transfer in an Urban Writing Ecology: Reimagining Community College/University Relations in Composition Studies, will be published by CCCC’s Studies in Writing and Rhetoric series in 2022.

Publication Information: Nastal, Jessica, Mya Poe, & Christie Toth (Eds.). (2022). Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. https://doi.org/10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565

Digital Publication Date: July 26, 2022
Print Publication Date: April 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64215-156-5 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-157-2 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-379-8 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565

Contact Information:
Jessica Nastal: jnastal@prairiestate.edu
Mya Poe: m.poe@northeastern.edu
Christie Toth: christie.toth@utah.edu

Practices & Possibilities

Series Editors: Aimee McClure, Clarke University; Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University; Aleashia Walton, University of Cincinnati
Associate Editor: Jagadish Paudel, University of Texas at El Paso

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It is also available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2022 Jessica Nastal, Mya Poe, Christie Toth, and the authors of parts of this book. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 302 pages, with notes, illustrations, and bibliographies. This book ia available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital formats for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.