Title

Giving Community College Students Choice: The Impact of Self-Placement in Math Courses

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-9-2019

Publication Title

American Educational Research Journal

First page number:

1

Last page number:

34

Abstract

This study examines the impact of a “natural experiment” that gave students the choice to place into or out of developmental math because of an unintended mistake made by a community college. During self-placement, more students chose to enroll in gateway college- and transfer-level math courses, however, greater proportions of female, Black, and Hispanic students enrolled in the lowest levels of math relative to test-placed counterparts. Difference-in-difference estimates show that self-placement led to positive outcomes, but mostly for White, Asian, and male students. This evidence suggests areas of concern and potential for improvement for self-placement policies. Self-determination theory, behavioral decision theory, and stereotype vulnerability provide possible explanations for the observed changes.

Keywords

Behavioral decision theory; Developmental education; Self-determination theory; Self-placement; Stereotype vulnerability

Disciplines

Educational Psychology | Higher Education

Language

English

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