tc columbia

Multiple Measures Assessment Project

July 2016−December 2020

Students who place into developmental education are substantially less likely to graduate from college than students who do not. Yet studies have shown that standard placement tests are inaccurate and place too many students into developmental courses. In response, many colleges are redesigning their placement systems to use multiple measures to determine if students need remediation.

In the first phase of this project, CCRC and MDRC worked with colleges in Minnesota and Wisconsin to build and evaluate high-quality multiple measures assessment (MMA) systems. The researchers provided technical assistance to two clusters of colleges in Minnesota and Wisconsin to optimize an approach to placing students in math, reading, and English using high school records and noncognitive assessments. They also documented the design and implementation of the MMA systems to provide guidance to other colleges hoping to undertake similar initiatives.

The second phase of the project centers on a random assignment study at five colleges that is examining the effect of MMA on student outcomes. Of particular interest will be whether students placed using MMA are more likely to enroll in and complete college level math and English courses, persist in college, and make good progress toward credential completion. As the colleges work to fully scale MMA during the second phase of the project, MDRC and CCRC will provide advising and consultation services, as well as continue the technical assistance work that began in Phase I. Researchers will also study cost-effectiveness and implementation as part of Phase II. This project will culminate in a final report to be published in February 2021.

This project is funded by the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates.

Project Lead

Elisabeth A. Barnett