Building Your Knowledge

In this section of the toolkit, you will learn more about what multiple measures assessment (MMA) is, how it works, and about the research evidence behind it. 

This information will help you decide if you want to pursue MMA at your college. It will also prepare you to make the case to your colleagues–which is the subject of the second section of the toolkit. Let’s get started!

What is multiple measures assessment?

MMA is a placement system that uses more than one indicator of college readiness to assess students. MMA allows students to take college-level courses if they meet college readiness benchmarks on at least one indicator or through a score that combines multiple indicators. The goal of MMA is to expand access to college-level courses by giving students several ways to demonstrate college readiness.

MMA can be used to place students into standalone developmental or college-level courses. In states and colleges that have implemented corequisite remediation, it can also be used to determine if a student needs extra support or will likely be successful in the college-level course without it.

  • An Introduction to Multiple Measures Assessment
  • Colleges have traditionally used standardized tests to place students into courses
  • Placement tests are poor predictors of college readiness
  • To improve placement, colleges are increasingly using multiple measures assessment (MMA)
  • High school GPA is the most predictive placement measure
  • Research shows MMA increases college-level placement and pass rates
  • College-level course completion rates for students bumped up via MMA compared with similar students placed in dev ed
  • Placement reforms are one part of a larger developmental education reform movement
  • Many colleges are introducing MMA and other reforms at the same time
  • Our recommendations

Why should colleges expand access to college-level courses?

Students arrive at college with varying levels of readiness for the rigors of college-level coursework. The traditional response has been to use standardized tests to place students deemed not college ready into one or more prerequisite developmental courses. While a small percentage of students can successfully complete prerequisite course sequences, research has shown the vast majority do not.

Over the last 15 years, we’ve learned that regardless of their test scores, many students can do well in college-level courses. We’ve also learned a lot about how to structure courses and design supports for those students, including by pairing college-level courses with corequisite support courses. The goals of MMA align with what we’ve learned: Students tend to do better when placed in college-level courses that build in support to address academic weaknesses when they arise. MMA can also be a tool in your college’s efforts to make developmental education more equitable. 

Tools for Building Your Knowledge

A student takes notes in class

Research Brief

Lessons From Two Experimental Studies of Multiple Measures Assessment

A summary of two major CAPR studies of MMA and recommendations for reforming placement systems.

Student sitting at her desk, writing.

Issue Focus

Rethinking College Course Placement During the Pandemic

Guidelines for adapting placement policies during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Reading

2. Making the Case