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FEE Results Remain Consistent With Those From Previous Years

By Frank Dabek

Of the freshmen who took the Freshman Essay Evaluation this year, 149 or 17 percent passed. This percentage is consistent with previous years’ tests.

Of those who did not pass, 60 percent received a score of intermediate, and 22 percent scored low enough to require taking a writing class their freshmen year.

In the past two years 17 percent and 20 percent received credit for the phase one writing requirement by taking the test.

An additional 89 freshmen avoided the FEE altogether by receiving phase one writing credit through the advanced placement language and composition test.

Coordinator of the Writing Requirement Leslie C. Perelman said that the results “mirror what they have been for the past five years.”

Many more pass web FEE

Perelman noted, however, that those taking the test on the world wide web did significantly better than those who took the test during Orientation week. The web-based FEE, now in its second year, had a passing rate of 20 percent versus eight percent for the more traditional written test.

The variation can be partially explained by the fact that freshmen choose when to take the exam. “Poor writers tend to procrastinate taking writing tests,” Perelman said.

In addition Perelman said that the online version of the FEE is a “much more valid test” because it better replicates realistic conditions under which students will write.

Evidence from this test dispels fears of widespread cheating on the online FEE, he said. The passing cutoff score, set blindly by faculty each year, has remained constant since the introduction of the web based test two years ago. This consistency is “good prima facie evidence that there is not widespread cheating,” Perelman said.

Credit given for some APs

This year 89 students were given phase one credit for earning a five on the AP language and composition test. An additional 84 students were awarded an intermediate grade for a score of five on the AP literature test or a 750 or higher on the SAT II subject test in writing.

Perelmen said that the literature test is not a strong predictor of FEE performance: only 50 to 60 percent of students who receive a five on the literature test pass the FEE. However, 95 percent of those who earn literature fives do not receive a score of subject required.

The literature test “doesn’t predict that you’ll pass, but does predict that you won’t bomb it,” Perelman said.

An additional 28 students were awarded subject-required scores after they failed to take either the web based or Orientation FEE tests.