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ERIC Number: ED565657
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
Why Students Do Not Prepare for Math Placement Exams: Student Perspectives. CCRC Research Brief. Number 57
Fay, Maggie P.; Bickerstaff, Susan; Hodara, Michelle
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Drawn from surveys completed by 122 students enrolled in developmental math at four community colleges and from seven student focus groups with a total of 34 developmental math students at those same colleges, this research brief illuminates student experiences with and perspectives on the math assessment and placement process. Findings suggest that many students who go on to enroll in developmental math are unlikely to prepare for the math placement exam, although most students know ahead of time that they are required to take the exam and many colleges make test preparation materials available. Lack of preparation may undermine students' exam performance and negatively affect the accuracy of their placement. We identify four interconnected reasons why students tend to not prepare for the exam: (1) misperceptions about the stakes of the assessment and placement process, (2) lack of knowledge about preparation materials, (3) misunderstandings about why and how to prepare for a college placement exam, and (4) a deep lack of math confidence. The brief concludes with recommendations for colleges. [This brief is a product of CCRC's Analysis of Statewide Developmental Education Reform (ASDER) research project, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.]
Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Community College Research Center
IES Cited: ED556127; ED565798