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Points of Interest

Multiple Measures Elements

This Points of Interest illuminates the variety of measures used by states and systems to determine students' readiness for college-level courses.
May 22, 2019
Maxine T. Roberts
Tags: Accurate Placement, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., New Roles for Student Services

States and higher education systems are concerned about college readiness of incoming students. However, it is challenging to define the meaning of the term “college readiness” and to develop measures that are accurate enough to correctly identify when students need additional support. The predictive validity of any concept as complex as “college readiness” improves when considering multiple data points. Thus, a growing number of states and systems are moving away from single standardized test scores in favor of more accurate “multiple measures” policies. Specifically, higher education systems are increasingly using multiple measures to determine appropriate course placement, including high school grades, work experience, and non-cognitive factors in addition to standardized or locally-developed exams.

A report by Education Commission of the States offers a national perspective on this issue by scanning for examples of multiple measures policies across the 50 states. The report finds that states use a variety of measures for placement, with high school academic performance being the most common. This Point of Interest illuminates the variety of measures used by states and systems to determine students’ readiness for college-level courses.