Questions are being raised about the validity of the standardized tests that land 70 percent of the state’s community college students in non-credit remedial courses before they can start taking courses that will count toward their degree.

“There has been relatively little research whether such exams are valid,” researchers from Columbia University’s Teachers College wrote in a report released Tuesday. “Placement tests do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform in college”

These findings come as Connecticut’s Higher Education Committee considersbill that would prevent the state’s community colleges and Connecticut state universities from forcing students to first take these non-credit remedial courses.

The cost to the state to have these remedial courses is steep: $84 million a year, according to the New England Board of Higher Education.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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