How Multiple Factors Improve Placement Decisions

ACCUPLACER test scores provide vital information about a student’s current skill set, but they don’t tell the whole story. To get a complete picture of a student’s abilities, we strongly recommend considering multiple factors as part of your course placement policies and decisions. No single factor should determine a student’s future. For more guidance, review the "Multiple Factors" resource on this page.

ACCUPLACER supports the use of both academic and nonacademic information to determine appropriate placement recommendations. The best practice for placing students into college-level courses is by using a variety of academic and nonacademic factors along with ACCUPLACER test scores.

Examples of academic factors:

  • High school GPA
  • Other test scores, such as the SAT or high school end-of-course exams
  • Faculty-authored institution-specific tests
  • Transfer or prior learning assessment credits

Examples of nonacademic factors:

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

Why Use Multiple Factors?

When course placement decisions are made using multiple factors along with ACCUPLACER test scores, you get more meaningful, reliable, and valid placement recommendations for your students. And 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, you can combine various factors with a test score to determine appropriate course placement. It's important to use data analysis to determine which factors have had the most impact on student success before integrating them into the system.

We recommend that you evaluate the efficacy of your placement decisions through a predictive validity study. The College Board Admitted Class Evaluation Service™ (ACES™) is a free online service that allows you to evaluate your use of multiple factors along with ACCUPLACER test scores in placement decisions.

The downloadable resource on this page has detailed information on how to research different factors, determine which to consider, and integrate them into your course placement policies.