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Points of Interest

Community College Students Overplaced in Developmental Math

This Points of Interest shows that students who took higher levels of math in high school were still placed into developmental math courses in community college.
May 27, 2020
Vilan Odekar
Tags: Accurate Placement, Student Supports, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., 7. Prioritize the student experience., Structuring Equity, Transfer and Course Applicability

Nearly half (49%) of students starting college at a community college in California were placed in developmental education. For students who took higher level math courses in high school, their preparation is usually not considered during placement into college-level math courses. As a result, many students who may be ready for these courses were instead placed into developmental math classes.

A recent study of high school graduates who attended community college in California showed that students who took Algebra 2 or higher were placed in either arithmetic, pre-algebra, or Algebra 1 in community college. Over 50% of the students who took Algebra 2 and earned a grade of B or higher were placed in developmental math. A smaller, though still significant, proportion of students who took Trigonometry, Statistics, or Calculus in high school were placed in developmental math. This Points of Interest shows that students who took higher levels of math in high school were still placed into developmental math courses in community college.