How to Improve College Placement Using Multiple Measures

Group of college students

Students who are placed into developmental (remedial) courses often fail to complete them, and many colleges and states are therefore interested in reforming developmental education. But what if students are not accurately placed into developmental courses in the first place? What if some of the students placed into developmental courses could have succeeded in college-level courses? Research suggests that standardized tests — the traditional method for placing students — actually does misplace substantial numbers of them. An alternative strategy is to place students using multiple measures of college readiness, including grade point averages, instead of a single test score.

Join Katie Beal as she talks to MDRC’s Dan Cullinan and the Community College Research Center’s Elisabeth Barnett about early findings from a Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness study of systems that use multiple measures for placement, and about lessons for colleges interested in implementing these systems.

About Evidence First

Policymakers talk about solutions, but which ones really work? MDRC’s Evidence First podcast features experts—program administrators, policymakers, and researchers—talking about the best evidence available on education and social programs that serve people with low incomes.

About Leigh Parise

Leigh PariseEvidence First host Leigh Parise plays a lead role in MDRC’s education-focused program-development efforts and conducts mixed-methods education research. More