Placement of multilingual writers within writing programs is an important and challenging issue. If students perceive that the placement process is rigid and unfair, this perception may affect their attitudes and motivation levels while taking courses in the writing program. The purpose of this study was to see whether a specific subgroup of students (n = 65) in a large university writing program for multilingual students could be successful if allowed to collaborate, with guidance, in their own placement. Various data were collected about these students in their first quarter after matriculating in the writing program: instructors' initial ratings, students' outcomes in their initial course (final portfolio scores and course grades), and students' satisfaction levels with their placement after they had completed the course (via a brief survey). These data were compared to another group of students (n = 65) who received similar placement scores but were not given the choice to move up or down a level. Findings indicated the pilot group was able to succeed at their chosen course level at levels comparable to the comparison group, and they were happy with their placement choices. Implications for placement processes in multilingual writing programs are discussed.
Keywords: multilingual writers, writing assessment, directed self-placement, placement processes, student agency