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The goal is to offer low-scoring students remedial coursework so that they can undertake regular coursework.tests given are College Board's ACCUPLACER and ACT's COMPASS, both of which are online, computer-adaptive, multiple-choice tests.However, the efficacy of developmental education has been questioned in recent research studies, such as those by Bettinger and Long; If placement tests are designed to measure a student's ability to learn at a given college level, a correlation between test and course success may not be sufficient to establish the test as a valid measure, for example, if the students systematically cheat on both test and course.
Typically, grades of A, B or C are counted as successful, while grades of D and F are counted as unsuccessful.
Grades of I (for an unconverted Incomplete) and W (a Withdrawal) may be considered unsuccessful or may be excluded from the analysis.
One study found that one-quarter of students assigned to math remediation and one-third of students assigned to English remediation in the US would have passed regular university courses with a grade of at least a B without any additional support.
Upon enrollment a student will be recommended or required to take placement tests, usually in English or writing, in math and in reading.
Throughout the history of placement testing and enrollment practices, the pendulum has swung slowly back and forth between more and less prescriptive practices.
If students are not required to take placement tests, they tend to avoid them.
Some colleges add computer-scored essay writing tests, including ACCUPLACER's Write Placer, and COMPASS's e-Write.
Less-prepared students are placed into various remedial situations, from adult basic education through various levels of developmental college courses.
If they are not required to immediately enroll in the developmental classes they've placed into, they will often delay or avoid taking those as well.
The validity of studies examining placement testing and developmental courses will necessarily suffer to the extent that students avoid testing and the subsequent course placements.