Test scores are interpreted based on a proposed use and assessed in that context, rather than simply by establishing a predictive relationship between scores and grades.Since placement tests are designed to predict student learning in college courses, by extension they predict the need for developmental education.
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.
SMEs sort test items into categories of appropriate difficulty, or correlate item difficulty to course levels.
"Performance level descriptors" define the required skills for remedial and standard courses.
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.
Testing may also include a computer-scored essay, or an English-as-a-second-language assessment.
Some colleges use ASSET, ACT's paper and pencil test.
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.