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Many first-year college students placed in remedial courses, often on the basis of a single standardized test, should not be there. Far from improving students’ chances of success, our research has found that unnecessary remediation is often a roadblock to college completion. Students of color are disproportionately affected. New methods of assessment are needed to place students more in line with their ability to learn and perform at the college level. 

ERP has championed improvements in college placement through multiple measures, utilizing predictive data to accurately assess student capacity and place more incoming students in college-level courses. We partner with high schools, community colleges and four-year universities to map effective pathways to accelerate degree or certificate completion. Reducing the number of students in unnecessary remedial classes will put more students on a faster path to graduation, while saving millions in taxpayer dollars and student fees.

Our Work at a Glance: Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, CA)

Nearly 80 percent of Bakersfield College’s entering freshmen students were being placed in remedial Math and English coursework. Using ERP data, the college worked with its feeder high schools to modify curriculum and better align with college standards. In addition, with our recommendation, the school adopted a multiple measures assessment methodology that utilized factors beyond the standard placement exam. In an initial pilot study, 68 percent of students placed higher and avoided taking courses they already completed in high school. The result: more than 500 semesters of unnecessary remedial courses were avoided, translating to $550,000 in savings to students and the state.

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