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ERIC Number: ED539503
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 43
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
Does Failing a Placement Exam Discourage Underprepared Students from Going to College? National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #11-14
Martorell, Paco; McFarlin, Isaac, Jr.; Xue, Yu
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan
About one-third of college students are required to take remedial courses to redress the lack of preparation for college-level coursework. Assignment to remediation is generally made on the basis of a placement test score, and in some states students are required to take a placement test prior to enrolling in college-level courses. In this type of setting, assignment to remediation may have the unintended effect of dissuading students from actually going to college. This is because remedial courses typically do not count towards a college degree, so remediation increases the cost of college by increasing the time required to complete a degree. Furthermore, being identified as in need of remediation could directly affect enrollment rates via stigma effects or by providing students with information about their unsuitability for college. This paper examines this issue empirically using administrative data from the state of Texas. Using regression discontinuity methods, we find that students whose placement exam scores would require them to be in remediation are no less likely to enroll in college than are those scoring just above the remediation placement cutoff. Appended are: (1) Distribution of Min (Math, Reading) Score; and (2) Average Max (Math, Reading) Score by Min (Math, Reading) Score. (Contains 5 figures, 7 tables and 23 footnotes.)
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan. Joan and Sanford Weill Hall Suite 5100, 735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Tel: 734-615-5312; Fax: 734-615-8047; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: National Poverty Center
Identifiers - Location: Texas