Two thirds of students who attend community colleges and two fifths of students who attend public four-year colleges enroll in one or more developmental—or remedial—course. Though these classes may be helpful to some students, they also require a substantial investment of limited time and money that could otherwise be applied to college-level coursework. Most students who participate in remediation in math or English are referred to these programs based on scores they earn on standardized placement tests. Yet research shows that some students assigned to remediation based on test scores would likely pass a college-level course in the same subject area without first taking a remedial course, if given that opportunity. Research also suggests that using multiple measures, including high school GPA, to assess student skills and performance may lead to more effective placement.
To evaluate the impact of a multiple measures placement system on student outcomes, CAPR initiated an experimental study in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) system and seven community colleges. This session described the broadly positive results from the study’s first cohort of students. The early results indicate that many program group students were placed differently than they would have been under the status-quo placement system, and they were more likely to enroll in and complete college-level courses than their non-program-group peers.
Elizabeth Kopko, Community College Research Center
Vikash Reddy, California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and CAPR