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What Are Multiple Factors?

In the context of course placement, “multiple factors” refers to the use of academic and non-academic information, to determine appropriate course placement. The best practice for placing students into college-level courses is with the use of multiple factors along with ACCUPLACER test scores. Examples of multiple factors include:

Academic Factors

  • High school GPA
  • Other test scores, such as the SAT or high school end-of-course exams
  • Faculty-authored local tests
  • Transferred or PLA credits

Non-Academic Factors

  • Attitudinal variables (i.e. study habits; academic behaviors and mindset; learning strategies; and social skills)
  • Results from non-cognitive assessments 

Why Use Multiple Factors? 

When placement decisions are made using multiple factors along with ACCUPLACER placement test results, institutions often get a more meaningful, reliable, and valid placement recommendation. Counselors and colleges gain a more complete picture—one that supports necessary intervention and includes recommendations for support in areas such as organizational skills or family outreach. 

How to Implement Multiple Factors 

ACCUPLACER makes it easy to implement multiple factors. Through the ACCUPLACER platform, institutions can combine various factors with a test score, to determine appropriate course placement. Institutions should determine through data analysis which factors have had the most impact on student success before integrating them into the system. More information about the process for determining, researching, and integrating multiple factors is available in  Multiple Factors in College Placement Decisions, available for download below.  

While there is no limit to the number of factors you can integrate, it is strongly recommended that institutions evaluate the efficacy of their placement decisions through a predictive validity study. Use the College Board’s Admitted Class Evaluation Service (ACES) ™, a free online service  that allows you to evaluate your use of ACCUPLACER test scores and other measures used in placement decisions