Too Many Students in Remedial Classes?

Two new studies from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College found that more community college students are in remedial education classes than need be. The studies found that more than a quarter of the students assigned to remedial classes based on placement test scores could have passed college-level courses with a grade of B or higher. You can access the studies below.

Predicting Success in College: The Importance of Placement Tests and High School Transcripts
By: Clive Belfield & Peter Crosta—February 2012

This paper uses student-level data from a statewide community college system to examine the validity of placement tests and high school information in predicting course grades and college performance. The authors find that while commonly used placement tests do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform in college, high school GPA has a strong association with college GPA and with college credit accumulation.
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Do High-Stakes Placement Exams Predict College Success? (CCRC Working Paper No. 41)
By: Judith Scott-Clayton—February 2012

This paper analyzes one of the most commonly used placement exams, using data on over 42,000 first-time entrants to a large, urban community college system. Using both traditional correlation coefficients and decision-theoretic measures of placement accuracy and error rates, the author finds that placement exams are more predictive of success in math than in English, and more predictive of who is likely to do well in college-level coursework than of who is likely to fail.
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