Teachers College, Columbia University

Lessons From Two Experimental Studies of Multiple Measures Assessment

By Dan Cullinan & Elizabeth M. Kopko
Lessons From Two Experimental Studies of Multiple Measures Assessment

Prior research suggests that using only standardized placement test scores to determine which new college students should take developmental coursework is inadequate, as many students may be unnecessarily assigned to developmental courses. MDRC and CCRC recently completed two experimental studies of multiple measures assessment, in which colleges use high school GPA, placement test scores, and other measures to assign incoming students to developmental or college-level courses in math and English. One study took place at seven City of New York (CUNY) community colleges; the other study was conducted at four Minnesota community colleges and one Wisconsin community college. Results from both studies indicate the student outcomes improve under multiple measures assessment as compared to status quo placement based on test scores alone. This brief describes findings from the studies and offers recommendations for institutions seeking to reform their assessment and placement practices.