IEP Diagnostic Tests

Updated August, 2013


Diagnostic Tests: When we talk about diagnostic tests (or “diagnostics”), we mean the test that each instructor of a given class gives and grades within the first days of the quarter to be sure each student is in the right class.

·         New to a class? Find the other instructors in your teaching cohort who will teach that same class – they may already have a diagnostic in place, and all you need to do is make copies.

·         All sections of the same class (for example, GW 1) give the same diagnostic on the first day(s) of the quarter.

·         Purpose: The purpose of these tests is for you to have an idea of the range of abilities in your current group of students. The purpose is not to move students out of the class. However, sometimes you will have a student who scores far, far higher than others (at least 85%). Discuss this student’s scores in other classes (your track cohort) before you consider a level change.

·         The goal is to have any and all level changes done by the end of the first week.

·         Instructors create their own diagnostics, which are common to each teaching cohort. (For example, all GW 1 instructors give the same grammar diagnostic and the same writing diagnostic). Contact other instructors who are in your teaching cohort (ask the IEP Coordinator for this information). If all instructors within a cohort are new to the class, then ask the IEP Coordinator for contact information of instructors who have taught the class before. In addition, the IEP Coordinator has a binder full of many past diagnostics your teaching cohort can look at/use/modify.


o   Your diagnostic test should be comprised of material that is 50% “previous to the current level” and 50% “of the current level”. For example, a level 3 diagnostic will include what should have been accomplished in level 2, plus what will be accomplished in level 3.

o   This is particularly important for grammar diagnostics. You need to know your outcomes and be sure the test is written with them in mind. If you use someone else’s test, be sure to double check this.

·         Students and diagnostics:

o   Let your students know, before taking the test, that they are *not* meant to pass that test, and stress that their grades for these tests won’t count. Tell them it’s purely for you to assess their level and be sure they’re in the right place.

o   Scores on diagnostics are not meant to be shared with students. Their scores don’t affect their grades.

o   Students can not approach instructors about moving up a level. If a certain student has scored above 85% on all diagnostics in your class, you should contact your track cohort (the student’s other instructor(s)) to see how the student scored in those classes. You should also show the completed/graded diagnostics to an instructor in the target level (the level above your class). If all requirements are met for a move, complete a level change form and give it to Kim to start that process.

o   Incorrectly placed students 1: If a student scores 85% or higher on all of your diagnostics, and you think he/she might be able to move up, discuss it with the instructors of the target level (show the tests and results) and follow the level change procedure.

o   Incorrectly placed students 2: If, conversely, a student scores significantly lowers on your diagnostics than the rest of your class (scores may change every quarter – there’s no norm for this) discuss it with your track cohorts and the instructors of the level lower than you, and follow the same procedure in reverse.  We try to place low so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

·         Last, do not let students keep (or photograph) their graded diagnostic tests! If you do, they can easily give their old tests to their friends (who can then prepare for the test next quarter) and you will need to write a new one.