CUNY's Testing Program

Characteristics, Results, and Implications for Policy and Research

by Stephen P. Klein, Maria Orlando Edelen


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In May 1998, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mayor of New York City, convened the Mayor's Advisory Task Force on the City University of New York (CUNY). The task force asked the Council for Aid to Education, a subsidiary of RAND, to conduct an independent analysis of several aspects of CUNY's policies and procedures. This report is the second in a series of reports on this work. CUNY allocates substantial resources to providing remedial instruction for well over half of its incoming freshmen. This report examines the quality and utility of the tests CUNY uses to decide who must receive this instruction. This report also presents a statistical profile of CUNY's incoming freshmen; explores the relationships among various test scores and grades at CUNY; and discusses the implications of our findings, including approaches that could increase the number of qualified students CUNY graduates. CUNY is the third largest public university system in the United States and is the largest urban system. The findings regarding the characteristics of CUNY's students and its procedures for determining who receives remedial instruction are therefore likely to be of interest to policymakers at other urban public higher education institutions across the United States.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Analysis of the CUNY Testing Program

  • Chapter Three

    Demographics, High School Grades, and SAT Scores

  • Chapter Four

    Analysis of High School Data

  • Chapter Five

    Additional Research Activities

  • Chapter Six

    Policy Options and Recommendations

  • Appendix

    Statistical Data

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of The Council for Aid to Education, an independent subsidiary of RAND.

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