Strong Start To Finish
Points of Interest

Greater College-Level Enrollment Rates

This Points of Interest from Strong Start to Finish highlights one benefit of multiple measures: Improved placement rates into college-level math and English courses.
November 27, 2018
Maxine T. Roberts
Tags: Accurate Placement, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., Transfer and Course Applicability

Under traditional assessment practices, the results of a single score from a placement test—such as Accuplacer—determines whether students are granted access into pre-college (developmental education) or college-level math and English courses. These testing and placement practices can be problematic, particularly when students are misplaced into developmental education courses. The need for assessment and placement methods that address misplacement and over-enrollment into developmental education prompted the creation of Multiple Measures (MM) placement practices. This method involves using measures that are either administered by the institution (e.g., noncognitive assessments, writing assessments, and computer skills assessments) or measures obtained from outside the institution (e.g., high school GPA, types of courses taken, and other standardized test scores) to ‘boost’ students’ scores on the placement exam. The boost in score can increase the percentage of students who place into college-level math or English.

Using MM for placement, seven community colleges in the State University of New York resulted in higher enrollment into college-level math and English courses. Under the traditional placement method, 43.7% and 52.4% of students were placed into college-level math and English, respectively. Student placement outcomes improved under multiple measures: 47.8% (math) and 82.8% (English). This highlights one benefit of multiple measures: improved placement rates into college-level math and English courses.