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Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students Starting College

Placement into a developmental course can affect a student’s entire educational trajectory, putting additional barriers in the way of a college education.

For years, colleges have used placement exams to determine whether to deem incoming students “college ready” or assign them to developmental education. This 2012 report highlighted how emerging research was casting doubt on the practice, sparking national debates over the tests’ fairness, and highlighting their traditional use as a potential barrier to college success. Where to Begin? helped state and college leaders understand the latest research, make sense of the contentious debate issues, and consider their options for moving forward.

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