The Mixed Methods Blog
Assessing College Readiness Using Multiple Measures: Is It Better for Students?
Should a student who can pass a college-level course be made to take a remedial course to review K-12 math or English content?
The answer to that question seems obvious. But when colleges use placement tests to determine which courses incoming students must take, many students who could do well in college-level courses are assigned to remedial courses, making it much less likely that they will ever graduate. The problem with the inaccuracy of college placement testing has been clear for several years, but researchers are still working to determine the best replacement for the tests.
CAPR is studying one alternative placement method, a system that combines multiple measures of college readiness—including high school GPA, years since high school graduation, and placement test scores—in an algorithm that weights them by their predictive power. Our new report on seven community colleges in the State University of New York system that are using the algorithm shows that it is making a difference for students—though it’s too soon to tell its effects in the longer term. In the first semester of the study, many more students were placed into college-level math and English courses, and more students passed these courses, especially in English.