Strong Start To Finish
Points of Interest

Improved Gateway Course Placement Rates

This Points of Interest from Strong Start to Finish highlights one benefit of multiple measures: Increased placement into gateway math courses for Pell Grant recipients.
December 5, 2018
Maxine T. Roberts
Tags: Accurate Placement, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., Transfer and Course Applicability

When students are required to take assessment tests prior to entering community college, many are placed into developmental math courses, rather than credit-bearing, gateway courses. Because placement into developmental math has been shown to stall students’ progress in college, developmental education reformers have sought alternative assessment methods. Employing multiple measures assessments requires using more than a single test to determine course placement; other measures—such as high school GPA and non-cognitive measures—are used to improve learners’ course placement outcomes. Using this new style of assessment, in place of traditional assessment is important for students’ progression through the college pipeline.

After seven community colleges in the State University of New York system employed multiple measures, gateway math placement increased for Pell Grant recipients at these institutions. Under traditional assessment, 38.5% of Pell Grant recipients placed into these courses; the use of multiple measures boosted their gateway math placement to 45.6% (an increase of 7.1 percentage points). This Points of Interest highlights one benefit of using multiple measures: increased placement into gateway math courses for Pell Grant recipients.