Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Jillian Skelton, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Floralba Arbelo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Neil Mathur, Ph.D.


There is uncertainty on how to maximize freshman performance in an English course when students have competing placement scores. Students who have scored above the cutoff score on one of the English placement tests (either reading or writing) and scored below the cutoff score on the other are not systematically placed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether ACCUPLACER placement cutoff scores in reading and writing predicted performance in first-semester English courses and first-semester cumulative GPA among incoming students at a community college in the Pacific Northwest during the 2015−2016 and 2016−2017 school years. Two research questions guided this study: How do administrators maximize freshman performance in an English course when students have competing placement scores? What are the differences between remedial and entry-level course grades for students who have competing placement scores? The sample consisting of 2,722 deidentified archival data of reading and writing placement scores, first English course grades, and first-quarter overall grade point averages. The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) model was used to analyze the data. The key findings of this study showed that there were no significant differences in either remedial or entry-level English course grades that had competing placement scores. However, there was a statistically significant difference in academic performance based on a student’s cutoff scores who scored above the cut-off for both reading and writing with higher cumulative GPAs than students who scored below the cutoff on both the reading and writing.