Policies for Assessing Community College Readiness

Topics: Community College, Developmental and Remedial Education, Student Retention and Success, Academic Affairs

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Research Questions

  • Do institutions conduct mandatory testing before placing students in credit-bearing coursework?  
  • What assessments and cut scores are used, and how are these determined?


Community colleges often struggle with setting policies and practices around which students need to take developmental coursework before enrolling in credit-bearing courses.  One particular challenge is how to place students at the correct level of developmental coursework, such that they receive the remediation and support they need, but are also making progress towards their degree. This brief examines testing and placement policies at six community colleges, describing prevalent testing tools and outlining noteworthy elements of institutions' testing policies.