Strong Start To Finish
Points of Interest

Overplacement in Developmental Math

This Points of Interest shows that college-ready students, as measured by overall high school GPA, are placed into developmental math courses despite having high GPAs.
May 20, 2020
Vilan Odekar
Tags: Accurate Placement, Student Supports, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., 4. Streamline remediation options., 7. Prioritize the student experience., New Roles for Student Services, Transfer and Course Applicability

In recent years, community colleges have moved toward using a student’s overall high school grade point average (GPA) as an additional measure to determine the student’s college-readiness for gateway math courses. Studies show that overall high school GPA can be a reliable predictor of success in these courses. The higher the GPA, the more likely the student will pass the gateway course. Despite this, some colleges are still placing students with high overall high school GPAs in developmental courses.

In a study that tracked 100,000 California high school graduates from a large urban school district into and through community college, about 75% of the students were placed in developmental math or English. Of this group, 23% had an overall high school GPA above 3.7. This Points of Interest shows that college-ready students, as measured by overall high school GPA, are placed into developmental math courses despite having high GPAs.