How Useful Are College Placement Tests in High School?

By Catherine Gewertz, Education Week Contributor


What would happen if you gave a college-readiness test and no one came?

That’s the question hanging over South Dakota at the moment. Well, an exaggerated version of the question.

Worried about high remediation rates at their state colleges and universities, state leaders tried an experiment: They’d provide more money for high school students to take a free Accuplacer test, which is designed to measure readiness for college coursework. They’d make sure districts knew that students could create and complete custom coursework designed to fix the academic problems identified by the test.

Problem is, hardly anyone wanted to do this.

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