Reengineering Developmental Math

Accelerating Student Success Through High-Return Personalized Pathways

Topics: Community College, Academic Affairs, Academic Planning, Curriculum Development, Program Approval, Program Prioritization, Student Retention and Success, Developmental and Remedial Education

Current Entry Assessments Flawed

Unnecessary Pre-College Placement Common and Costly

At most institutions, a high-stakes exam testing high school concepts determines whether a student will start in developmental or college courses and have vastly different chances of degree attainment. The College Board’s Accuplacer and the ACT’s Compass exams are the most widely used placement exams across institutions; these exams rely on a single numerical score to place students into courses. A handful of states have developed more sophisticated placement exams for entering college students, but they represent a very small segment of available assessments.

Data from the Community College Research Center suggests that about one in four developmental students are overmathed—developmental students who would have earned a B or higher had they been placed into college math. This overmathing not only wastes students’ time and money, but also significantly diminishes their chances of degree completion.

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Current Entry Assessments Flawed

Preventing Unnecessary Pre-College Placement