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Bad idea (3.00 / 1)
It's important that students not be forced to retake courses that they've already learned, or jump through unnecessary hoops. But having a one-size-fits-all standard for college credit isn't the answer.

The fact is, colleges are not interchangable. Different branches of UT are already forced to use many of the same numbers for their classes, but the students are different, and so the content is often different. Learning enough at ACC to place out of one semester of calculus at UT Tyler is probably NOT good enough to survive the 2nd semester of calculus at UT Austin.

The biggest problem I encounter teaching calculus at UT Austin is students whose preparation is weak, but who have made it through all of the official hoops. (For instance, they've passed the prerequisite at ACC.) They get placed into classes that they're not ready for, and they often crash and burn. Having lost a semester failing a class, they THEN have to go back and learn the preliminaries before they can realistically try again.

That doesn't do anybody any good. If you want to improve success rates, you have to place students in the classes that they're ready for -- neither higher nor lower. If we're talking about placement at University X, only the folks at University X have any idea where to place the bar.

It's bad to place the bar too high. It's even worse to place it too low and have people fail one or two semesters later. The political pressures have always been to lower the bars, so most of the entry bars at UT Austin are already too low. For every student who wastes a semester taking a class that (s)he should have been able to skip, we have half a dozen who fail classes that they should never have attempted.

McClendon's bill would make this problem much, much worse.  

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