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Calculating the Costs of Remedial Placement Testing

By: Olga Rodríguez, Brooks Bowden, Clive Belfield & Judith Scott-Clayton


Calculating the Costs of Remedial Placement Testing

Of the more than one million new students who enter community colleges each fall, nearly 70 percent are assigned to remedial coursework. The cost of providing this coursework is high, yet evidence about the effectiveness of remediation is not compelling. In addition, many students are misclassified in the remedial assessment process. In order for colleges and college systems to engage in informed deliberation about their assessment practices, it is important to know how much the colleges currently spend on their placement test procedures relative to other costs, and it is important to understand that students also incur opportunity costs in taking placement tests.

Based on a longer report, this publication presents findings on the costs to colleges and students of remedial placement testing, discusses the implications of these findings, and provides guidance on similar analyses that could be undertaken by individual colleges.