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replacement for the CPE?

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    Benjamin Miller

    Dear all, has anyone heard anything official about the fate of the CUNY Proficiency Exam, or what (if anything) is being put in its place?


    HI Ben,

    As far as I know, the Board ratified the recommendation to end the CPE, with the cost of administering the exam cited as the major reason for its cessation. I’m not aware of anything being put in its place, but others might have more news and insight.




    I just saw the posts by Ben and Matt regarding the demise of the CPE. I was not involved in any of the discussions leading up to this decision and, like Matt, I was under the impression that the exam was eliminated mainly as a cost-saving measure. However, last weekend, while logging in to the CUNY portal to go to my Blackboard site, I noticed that Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s Nov. 23 speech to the Board of Trustees was available there as a podcast. In that speech, if I recall correctly, he mentioned that the trustees decided to do away with the CPE because, as he said in the speech, it wasn’t working effectively, and he went on to say that “they” were looking for a nationally normed exam to replace it. I encourage those who are interested in this issue to listen to the speech, which is available at

    Rebecca Mlynarczyk

    Corey Frost

    In the letter that the Provost sent out on October 7, she said that “we will put a committee together to identify a different test to assess student learning at CUNY.” Among the criteria mentioned were that the test should be nationally normed and longitudinal—that is, a test that can be compared to national results and that measures how students improve during their time at CUNY. Using a national test would also save money, I presume.

    Joseph Ugoretz

    Pretty much all of us who were around when the CPE was introduced said the same thing “we already DO assess student learning, and we signify the results of the assessment quite clearly. We call the signifiers ‘grades.’ And with enough grades we give another signifier called a ‘diploma.’ This test is redundant and is not going to show us anything we don’t already know.”

    Ten years later, surprise! Students who are already doing well in terms of GPA and curriculum requirements do just fine on the CPE, and students who are not doing well in terms of GPA also do not do well on the CPE.

    There was an idea that FACULTY are somehow not competent to be accurate, objective, and constructive assessors of student learning. There was an idea that we needed an outside one-shot test to do that complicated professional-level work, because we weren’t to be trusted to do it ourselves.

    There really wasn’t ever any validity to that idea (and I’m not going to speculate about what motivated that idea). We DO assess student learning at CUNY, and we do it very accurately and carefully. And faculty are the best ones to do that assessment.

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