Accurate Placements

At PCCC, more than 84 percent of students test into the developmental math sequence, with 47 percent of students placing at or below the lowest levels of math offered at PCCC.  In addition, 66 percent of students place into developmental writing and reading and 22 percent of students entering PCCC need instruction in English as a Second Language.  Although some students need extensive remediation before entering college level courses, a significant number of students are placed into higher levels and accelerate their progress through the developmental and ESL sequences.  The Accurate Placements Team has identified several elements to assist students in achieving accurate placements:

Make placement testing information visible and comprehensive.
Develop preparation test tools.
Provide opportunities for students to improve their placement scores.
Improve placement test registration process.
Improve post-placement test communication with students.


The College's website has been updated to give testing information greater visibility.

On-line English and math practice tests with links to tutorial videos have been developed and posted on the PCCC website.  Students are given test preparation information prior to testing.

Students placing below the lowest level of math are placed into a math prep program, RAMP (Reaching a Mind's Potential), which provides individualized practice and targets each student's area of need.  Students who complete the program are retested and placed into the appropriate math course.

English prep workshops are available to students who place into Developmental English.  After completing the workshops, students are retested and placed into the appropriate level of developmental or college-level English courses.

ESL students who place below the lowest level of ESL are placed into a prep program.  After completing the workshops, students are retested and placed into the appropriate level of ESL instruction.

The creation of a new Testing Center allows students take placement tests as walk-ins or make an appointment.

Turnaround of test scores is almost immediate and test scores are available on the website.



Update Spring 2015:

Traffic to the PCCC preparation website has increased dramatically, including hits from other schools, as well as international use.  Similarly, survey results show that more students are preparing for the test prior to registration. 

  Surveys of test takers:  Did you prepare?

   Fall 2011 – 24%

   Fall 2015 – 44%


  Website hits:

   2012 Monthly average – 412

   2015 monthly average – 3740


But more importantly, student who prepared for the test have shown better placement results.  This is most evident at the lowest levels, with students who practiced showing a decreasing percentage, while the placements for those students who did not practice stayed relatively constant. 

Placement into Developmental English                             Developmental Math

                          Practiced     No Practice                         Practiced                    No Practice

2011-2012            33%        31%                                        0%                          0%

2012-2013            30%        31%                                        19%                        17%

2013-2014            29%        30%                                        16%                        18%

2014-2015            27%        33%                                        15%                        19%



In addition, in order to provide the opportunity for students to improve their placement scores, PCCC changed the order of the Math Accuplacer.  Prior to 4/10/2012 the test started with Arithmetic, and only those students who scored a 54 or better were then administered the Algebra section.  After 4/2012 the test started with the Algebra section, and only those students who scored a 39 or lower were then administered the Arithmetic section. 

The immediate result of the shift was that more students placed directly into the higher levels (MA025A and MA025) as opposed to Arithmetic (MA010, MA010A, MA010B).  Placements in the Algebra levels went up 36.2%. 

In terms of the pass rates:

- Not surprisingly, there was little change in the pass rates for those students who originally placed into Arithmetic and were promoted to Algebra.  The change in the Accuplacer test had little effect on them, other than “waste” a little of their time, taking the Algebra test that previously they would not have seen.
- The difference in the pass rates for the MA025 students pre- and post- change is small (4.4%).  These are the strongest of the Algebra students, and since the college level placement score is consistent from college to college, the difference here is negligible.
- The difference in the MA025A scores gets a little larger at almost 9%.  As a result 120 more students did not pass based on the new placement vs. the old.  But for the same time period 2231 students skipped an MA010 level class due to the change in order, meaning overall 95% of students benefited from the change. 


Pass rate for students who placed directly into algebra                                                 

                                pre change %                     post change %  

MA025A               63.0%                                    54.2%   

MA025                  63.7%                                    59.3%   



Pass rate for students who placed into arithmetic and promoted to algebra                        

                             pre change %                     post change %  

MA025A               44.1%                                    49.8%   

MA025                  48.1%                                    50.9%   



Additional tools are being implemented to supplement one-on-one tutoring.  Online products like EdReady or Edmentum provide tutoring modules customized to each student, based on an initial assessment test.  These are available to all students online, eliminating time or geography as an obstacle.  New placement tests have also been purchased for ELS placement. 








ID 15490

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #15490, and then fill out the intervention contact request form

Please note that for security purposes, contact information can only be provided to known contacts at active Achieving the Dream institutions.

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