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It should be noted that the test-prep workshop offered by Bronx Community College and Hostos Community College focuses on test-taking strategies and computer use, on academic preparation.
Many students entering community colleges show up to take college placement tests in reading, writing and math with little to no preparation.
They do not know what is at stake: performing poorly lands students in remedial classes that will cost them a lot of money and significantly increase the chances that they will drop out.
The fact is that many students who enter community colleges need remediation.
A 2016 study by the Center for Community College Engagement found 68 percent of students enter with at least one developmental class requirement.
When students don’t do well on the SAT or ACT, they can pay to take the test again.
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But community college placement exams usually do not allow retesting and students are stuck with remediation if they have scored poorly on their first attempt.
A report by Education Reform Now diagnoses the main problem as a deficient high school education that underprepares students to enter college-level courses.
But community colleges play a significant role in locking students into these courses by outdated approaches to placement testing and by failing to alert and inform students about the college entrance exam.
In 2016, the admissions office at Bronx Community College started talking about the importance of preparation for the college placement exam at new students’ information sessions and then scheduled students for test-prep workshops automatically instead of making it optional.
After instituting that practice, they saw a significant increase (an estimated 10 percent) in students testing out of the lowest level of remediation.