Stuck in Remediation – Overcoming College Placement Hurdles

October 1, 2018

McCann is a leading producer of placement exams; our CollegeSuccess® Standard Computer Adaptive Placement Tests are low-cost alternatives for many community colleges nationwide. The platform allows for customization which drives Florida’s PERT, the Virginia Placement Test, and many others.  Diagnostic assessments are available allowing administrators to determine students’ competency-based strengths and weaknesses. Placement tests can be used in several ways and recently there has been a lot written on how as a single data point from a single placement test score is not in a student’s best interest.

American Public Media released podcast that dove deep into the subject and told of how one community college and one state addressed actions taken from a single text. To add context, they also looked at several students, adult learners who would have not progressed if a single test would have been their gateway to college. It is great background on the subject – read / listen here  They describe remedial education as a trap that discourages students in their return to college.

Inside Higher Education has written a few pieces recently. One highlights how going beyond placement exams allows more community college students to take and pass gateway math and English courses.  Co-requisite remediation is one possible tact, another is an intensive focus on remedial courses.

What the lack of consensus on the problem of students coming to college, not ready to perform at college levels indicates, is there is no easy fix and no single solution. Test results are a measure, but a single test is not a solution. For the majority of new college students, passing a placement exam clears the way to a successful run. For those that don’t pass, there is no simple, automatic response.  College advisers will suggest that future students consider both the SAT & ACT and when it comes to college placement, that same level of choice should be considered.

We welcome and applaud the efforts that will help use testing as a better way to serve students.