CEC Theses and Dissertations


Freshman Placement for Computer Information Systems at a Women's Four-Year Liberal Arts College in Alabama

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Louise Thomas


Aleamoni and Dougherty (1979) support the concept that placement in the curriculum at the improper level may cause unnecessary failure or encourage lack of interest. The computer science curriculum offered in Alabama's high schools is not consistent in meeting the objectives as specified in the State Curriculum Guide (Wright, 1991). Therefore, placement testing for CIS entry level is the primary purpose of this study.

A criterion reference test for CIS placement has been developed to identify the discrepancies in knowledge levels among Alabama's female high school graduates. This test offers an interpretation to the mastery/nonmastery levels of computer science as defined by the objectives of the Alabama State Board of Education.

The procedures used for developing the test follow the recommendations of Aleamoni and Dougherty (1979), Berk (1980), Haladyna (1982), and Cangelosi (1990). Statistical validation (Anastasi, 1988; Gordon, 1994; Gibbons, 1985) of the test was performed using pretest and posttest scores from one group of 66 freshmen women. Item analysis was performed for difficulty and discrimination. The KOlmogorov-Smirnov test statistic (Gibbons, 1989 and Gordon, 1996) was used to determine if the set of data, pretest and posttest scores, represents a normal distribution for a random set of data. The KolmogoroviiiSmirnov test was selected because it is designed for small sample sizes. Results of these tests indicate that the scores represent a normal distribution; therefore, the CIS placement test can be considered valid.

Regression analysis tests were performed to determine if there was any relationship among pretest scores and high school computer science grades, ACT composite scores, ACT math scores, or ACT science scores. Correlation coefficients ranging in value from 0.06 to 0.22 indicates that there is an extremely weak relationship.

The results of this study has a significant impact on the successful implementation of the CIS major assessment plan for Judson College. The placement test scores recorded for each CIS major/ minor student will establish the foundation for assessment. Based on the model established by Aleamoni and Dougherty (1979), it is recommended that Judson College's CIS department implement the following:

  1. Recognize the CIS placement test as an important tool for proper advisement and placement of CIS majors and minors into the CIS curriculum.
  2. Establish a procedure for the administration of the test.
  3. Develop a method to e valuate the administrative procedure.
  4. Develop a procedure for periodic review and modification of the CIS placement test.

It is recommended that the mastery/nonmastery scores be assigned following the guidelines of Appenzellar (1988), Anastasi (1988), Berk (1980), and Panel 1 (1979). The recommendation follows that a score of 118 - 130 be assigned mastery level a, 105 - 117 be assigned mastery level B, 92 - 104 be assigned mastery level C, and below 92 be assigned nonmastery.

According to the results of this study, the CIS placement test will be beneficial in the advising function and student placement by CIS faculty at Judson College.

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