Course Completion and Multiple Measures
Seven community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system participated in a random assignment study to determine whether a multiple measures placement system led to better student outcomes than a system based on test scores alone. The multiple measures system used data analytics to weight multiple measures — including both placement test scores and high school GPAs — to place incoming students into college-level or developmental education courses.
Impact findings show that, in comparison to business-as-usual group students, program group students were 2 percentage points or 13 percent more likely to pass a college-level math course in the first term. However, by the second term there were no discernable differences in college-level math completion rates between the two groups. Impacts in English were larger than those in math. Program group students were 6.3 percentage points or 23 percent more likely to pass a college-level English course in the first term. Program group students were 2.9 percentage points more likely to complete a college-level English course after three terms. This Points of Interest shows that students placed by multiple measures are more likely to complete college-level math and English courses than students placed by a single test system, and the positive impacts on completion rates are greatest in the first term.