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Are Standardized Placement Tests Limiting Accessibility?

Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain reported last week that nearly a third of students who were being placed into remedial classes at the community college level don’t need to be there. In fact, the study questioning the value of the two most commonly used standardized placement tests—the COMPASS and ACCUPLACER—found that many students placed in remedial classes would have passed college-level classes with a B or better.

“We find that placement tests do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform in college,” the researchers wrote.

According to Fain, approximately six in 10 community college students are assigned to remedial classes. Remedial credits typically don’t count toward a degree, but students still have to pay to take them.

The question must be asked: if cost is one of the most limiting factors to higher education accessibility, why are students being forced to pay for non-credit classes they don’t need?

Perhaps this is an area where academic advisors and admissions officers could play a bigger role.