At many California community colleges, faculty have often never seen data on their own placement policies. If asked, they wouldn’t be able to tell you how many students qualify for transfer-level English and math, how many have to take two or more remedial classes, and how placement rates vary across different racial/ethnic groups. This template helps to make placement practices more visible, so that colleges can understand the impact of their policies on student equity and completion.
One Central Valley college found that 12% of incoming students were eligible for transfer-level math, and that students who started at this level completed the course at a rate of 65% within two years. On the other hand, 75% of their incoming students were required to take two or more remedial math courses, and their chance of passing a transferable course was just 2%-10%.
One Inland Empire college found that among students placed into college English, 78% went on to pass the course within two years and that white students were three times more likely than African-American students to begin at this level. On the other hand, more than half of the college’s African-American students were required to take three or more remedial English courses, where their likelihood of passing college English in two years was just 8%.
This tool is intended to help college faculty and administrators see that students’ initial placement is the most powerful driver of their long-term completion and that in order to increase completion and equity, we must transform our placement practices.