Teachers College, Columbia University

Evaluation of a Multiple Measures Placement System Using Data Analytics

Date and Time: November 08, 2019 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.
Location: Denver, CO
Venue: Sheraton Denver Downtown | Governor's Square 10

To evaluate the impact of a multiple measures placement system on student outcomes, CAPR researchers initiated an experimental study in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) system and seven community colleges. The placement system being evaluated uses data on prior students to develop predictive algorithms at each college to weight multiple measures, including placement test scores, high school GPA, and years since high school graduation. Over 13,000 incoming students who arrived at these colleges in the fall 2016, spring 2017, and fall 2017 terms were randomly assigned to be placed using either the status quo placement system (the control group) or the alternative placement system (the program group). Students were tracked for up to five terms.

In this session, researchers presented final impact analyses for all three cohorts of students. Impact analyses were conducted using ordinary least squares regression analyses, controlling for college fixed effects and a range of student characteristics. For both math and English, researchers considered three outcome measures constructed from administrative data: the rate of college-level course placement (versus remedial course placement), the rate of college-level course enrollment, and the rate of college-level course completion with grade C or higher, all in the same subject area. They also examined impacts on overall credit accumulation, persistence, and degree completion. To examine whether program assignment led to differential impacts by race/ethnicity, Pell status, or gender, we presented subgroup analyses and tested the significance of interaction effects for each subgroup. Preliminary results, which examine first-semester impacts for the first cohort, are broadly positive. Researchers find that program group students were placed differently than they would have been under the status quo placement system and that assignment to the program group produced positive and statistically significant effects on all first-semester outcomes considered, including completion of college-level math and English.

Associated Papers


Senior Research Associate
Community College Research Center

Associated Project(s)