Policies for placing students into remedial college courses



Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide placement requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set placement requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The system encourages institutions to use the ACCUPLACER to assess students for placement into college-level courses. Students can exempt placement with minimum scores on the ACT or SAT. Each institution sets their cut-off scores, but generally students are exempt with satisfactory SAT (Math – 480 or above, Verbal/Reading – 480 or above, and English/writing sections – 480 or above) or ACT (e.g., 18 or above in English/writing, and 20 or above on Reading or Math) scores.

In May 2017, the Board of Trustees adopted the Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement. The new policy series references admissions but repeals ACCS Policy 802.01, which addressed system-wide provisions for student assessment and placement.



In January 2016, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) Coordinating Board adopted a new Student Placement Policy requiring all IHEs to submit and have approved a student placement plan. IHEs are encouraged to use multiple weighted measures to determine placement in college-level courses if a student’s scores fall below the minimum ACT scores for the subject matter. These measures may include high school GPA, the number of years since a student took a specific course or was in school, other test scores (such as SAT or high school end-of-course exams), or other non-cognitive information such as motivation, time management skills or family support, writing samples and successful completion (A or B) of transitional courses in high school.

See Arkansas’ state profile for minimum ACT scores.

Whichever placement criteria the IHE chooses must predict a better than 75 percent likelihood of the student’s ability to earn a “C” or better in the course in which the student is placed. A student’s reading level should be strong enough for them to earn a “C” or better in courses that require substantial reading. At some institutions, STEM majors must meet higher standards for placement than non-STEM majors. IHEs are required to use data-driven practices, provide data to support their placement decisions and allow for follow-up evaluation of placement effectiveness.


Four-Year Institutions

The SAT is administered to at no cost for all high school juniors. Students can take the ACT at their own expense. Students achieving the SAT cut score set by the individual IHEs are exempt from remedial or developmental courses. Students participating in the current transitional course pilot program and passing the course with a 77 or higher are exempt from remedial/developmental work.

Both universities require all first-time freshmen to take the ALEKS assessment to determine math course placement.

University of Delaware

Placement goals vary by college and intended major. Students cannot register for a specific math course unless they attain the appropriate placement threshold. Students can enroll in credit-bearing math courses if they reach 45 percent proficiency on the ALEKS assessment. In the fall 2017, University of Delaware is instituting a test-optional pilot program for Delaware residents applying for first-year admission.

Delaware State University

All formally admitted freshmen and transfer students must complete online ALEKS placement test for Mathematics two weeks prior to orientation. Students who score a 15 or lower on the ACT must take the Nelson Denny reading test. Students are placed in English composition courses based on their SAT/ACT scores: Under 400/15 or below ─ Writing Skills; 400-574/16-19 ─ Regular Composition; 575+/20+ ─ Honors Composition.

Delaware State offers two Summer Bridge programs – Jumpstart and Project Success – for first-time freshman who could benefit from academic enrichment. Students may be provisionally admitted if they do not meet regular admission requirements, contingent upon successful completion of the Project Success Program. 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Delaware Technical Community College students who meet minimum admission test scores requirements (SAT Math of 500 or above, SAT Verbal of 475 or above), have competed credit-bearing courses in English, reading and math, or who have a bachelor’s degree when they are admitted, may be exempted from taking standardized placement tests in reading, writing and math. All other students are required to take the ACCUPLACER to determine the level of instruction at which they begin college course work.



A student who demonstrates college readiness by achieving or exceeding the minimum standard test scores and enrolls in a Florida College System institution within two (2) years cannot be required to retest or complete developmental education at a Florida College System institution. Further, a student who entered 9th grade in a Florida public school in the 2003-2004 school year or after and earned a Florida standard high school diploma, or a student who is serving as an active duty member of any branch of the United States Armed Services, is exempt from placement testing and cannot be required to enroll in developmental education instruction in a Florida College System institution. A student who is exempt may opt to be assessed and to enroll in developmental education, and the college shall provide such assessment and courses upon the student’s request.

Non-exempt students who have not earned credit for college level coursework for reading, writing, and mathematics shall be tested for proficiency prior to the completion of initial registration. A student admitted to a Florida College System institution whose score on a common placement test indicates a need for developmental education must be advised of all the developmental education options offered at the institution and, after advisement, shall be allowed to enroll in the developmental education option of his or her choice.

See Florida’s state profile for minimum placement assessment scores.


Four-Year Institutions

For placement purposes, students admitted to career degree or certificate programs must be evaluated for Learning Support placement. Students who meet the institution’s regular admission standards for programs leading to baccalaureate degrees are exempted from taking the CPE or COMPASS.

A Mathematics Placement Index (MPI) and an English Placement Index (EPI) will be calculated based on High School Grade Point Average (HSGPA), SAT or ACT and, when indicated, the COMPASS placement test or other approved placement test.

Indices are calculated using formulas for the following combinations of variables:

HSGPA and SAT/ACT – when both are available

HSGPA and COMPASS – when SAT/ACT are not available

SAT/ACT and COMPASS – when HSGPA is not available

COMPASS – when neither HSGPA nor SAT/ACT is available

For some students who score below the cutoff EPI or MPI, COMPASS test scores provide additional information over that contained in HSGPA and SAT/ACT; those students will be required to take the appropriate COMPASS tests. The COMPASS score will be combined with the HSGPA and SAT/ACT and the resultant EPI or MPI will be compared to the System level cut scores to determine students’ Learning Support Placement.

See Georgia’s state profile for the Collegiate Placement Index. Students with placement indices less than the minimum collegiate placement index for that subject will be placed into co-requisite or Foundations-level Learning Support.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Effective November 1, 2016, a technical college must utilize ACCUPLACER or COMPANION, the TCSG-approved assessment instruments when evaluating students’ readiness for diploma, degree and certificate programs. However, in the place of ACCUPLACER or COMPANION, or General Education Development (GED®) scores of 165+ on English or Math, technical colleges may accept a student’s official entrance score on a validated assessment instrument (such as SAT or ACT) if the scores meet the college program’s required minimums. If a student’s SAT or ACT scores do not meet the college’s program minimums for regular admission, a student must be assessed using one of the TCSG-approved instruments.

Students who do not meet all requirements for regular admission into a selected program are granted provisional admission status. Provisionally admitted students may take learning support classes, and certain specified occupational courses until class pre- and co-requisites are satisfied.



The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education adopted College Readiness Indicators after the passage of Senate Bill 1 (2009). The Council revised the readiness benchmarks for the 2017-18 academic year. Beginning fall 2016, students who have been admitted to a public postsecondary institution and meet or exceed one of these benchmarks are automatically eligible to begin college-level work. 

See Kentucky’s state profile for minimum qualifying scores for eligibility to enroll in credit-bearing college courses.



Students at all institutions must earn at least 18 on the English and 19 on the math sections of the ACT (or the equivalent on SAT, ASSET or Compass) for placement in entry-level courses. Universities may admit students who are within 2 points of minimum college-level placement in Mathematics Summer Provisional Admission. To be fully admitted, these students must enroll in prescribed mathematics course(s) during the summer prior to admission with appropriate support and complete the degree-credit mathematics course with a grade of “C” or better and a term GPA of at least 2.5.

Students within 1 ACT point of the benchmark in Mathematics (or within 2 ACT points in English) may be admitted if enrolled in an English/math course with supplemental/co-requisite delivery of developmental support. As of June 2015, regional institutions can admit students needing one developmental course, but only 2-year institutions and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are authorized to teach the developmental courses.



Requirements vary by institution and institution type. In 2015 USM was awarded a four-year grant from the USDOE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to develop new mathematics pathways aligned with student’s major programs of study. Five USM institutions and seven community colleges are participating in the pilot.


Four-Year Institutions

Students who do not meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted but must participate in an on-campus placement process at the institution. Students who score below 16 on the ACT English, Reading, or Math subtests must take intermediate courses. However, institutions must exempt students who completed SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of “80” or higher from taking intermediate courses. Students who are admitted without sufficient skills in English, reading or math are required to enroll in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the summer semester program entitles the student to continue enrollment at the university.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Institutions set their own placement thresholds for entry into college-level English and math courses. However, the Mississippi Community College Board convenes the Chief Academic Officers in an affinity group. Through this group, 14 of 15 institutions have agreed to use a minimum ACT English sub-score of 17 for placement into English Composition I (ENG 1113) and a minimum math sub-score of 19 for College Algebra (MAT 1313).

Entering freshmen enrolled at a public postsecondary institution who have an ACT Mathematics, Reading or English subtest score of 16 or less are required to take Intermediate Algebra or English during their first semester of college. Institutions can require students who score 17, 18 or 19 to take the intermediate course(s). However, students who complete the SREB Math, English and/or Literacy Ready course with a grade of 80 or better are not required to take the Intermediate level course before entering college-level course work. Students taking two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the year-long Academic Support Program or equivalent courses.


Four-Year Institutions

While the system has set a common definition for “remedial instruction” through its annual Remedial Activities Report, institutions choose how to deliver remedial and developmental education at their campuses. Since 1992, the system board has authorized institutions to contract with community colleges to offer remedial instruction.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The State Board of Community Colleges adopted a multiple-measures placement policy in March 2014 with a system-wide implementation occurring by fall 2016. There are no exemptions. To be eligible for Multiple Measures Placement, a high school student must complete four math courses including Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II (or the Common Core equivalents) and one additional math course.

See North Carolia’s state profile for the community college system’s placement procedures.

North Carolina community colleges have recently modularized their developmental math, English and reading courses. The future goal is a modular approach. However, the paths vary by college.



The Board of Regents provides for students who achieve a score of 19 or higher on each ACT subtest will usually be placed directly in college-level courses. If students score below 19 on a subject test their past academic record will be reviewed or they may be asked to complete additional testing before being placed. Students who score below the scoring threshold must take developmental courses for those subject areas. Students placed in developmental education must start in their first semester and complete these courses within the first year or before completing 24 credit hours. The State Board of Regents are collaborating with Complete College America and providing support to state public institutions to implement co-requisite English and math remediation in the 2017-2018 academic year.


Four-Year Institutions

Individual institutions establish minimum ACT/SAT scores and class rank requirements. Developmental courses can only be offered by two-year institutions, but university students may still complete placement testing by subject through various instruments.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

University of South Carolina Two-Year Regional Campus provisional students undergo placement testing in English and math to determine readiness for college-level courses.  Failure to reach readiness benchmarks results in placement in “enriched” sections of entry-level courses.

Technical colleges may offer developmental education, but the system board has not enacted policies that govern placement into college-level or developmental education courses. 



Board of Regents

System policy has approved placement cut scores for ACT and SAT subtests. Students scoring at or above the cut score are exempt from Learning Support (i.e., developmental education).

See Tennessee’s state profile for ACT/SAT placement cut scores. 

Institutions require students who score below the cutoff in writing, reading, and/or math to enroll in co-requisite learning support courses. Also, institutions must address in their Learning Support Framework how to support students who score 12 or below on any ACT subtest. The system advises institutions to partner with local school districts to deliver learning support to at-risk students identified through placement assessments administered prior to senior year.

All TRB institutions are directed to form partnerships with their local high school district to develop early intervention systems and provide learning support to at-risk students identified through assessments prior to their senior year in high school.

Stand-alone learning support may be provided only to support non-degree seeking students whose program does not require college-level math, English or reading. An institution must have strategies to address learning support for students with ACT subject scores (or equivalent scores on other assessments such as the SAT, PSAT, etc.) of 12 or below.

University of Tennessee System

The system’s three undergraduate institutions set minimum ACT and SAT cut scores for entrance into specific English and math courses. If a student’s scores are high enough, they have completed an appropriate course with a C or better, made a passing score on an AP or CLEP exam, or pass the approved online math placement exam with an 80% or higher, they qualify for the first math course required for their major. If not, they are directed to take a pre-requisite course. All three institutions require students with low ACT English or SAT Critical Reading sub-scores to take an additional course or participate in a supplemental writing lab.

UT-Martin requires students who score below 21 on the ACT English and/or ACT Math subtests to enroll in the lowest applicable college-level courses.



Students who present minimum qualifying scores on one of six college-readiness assessments may enroll in any entry-level college courses without placement testing. Veterans and active-duty military, transfer students who have satisfied readiness requirements at other institutions, and students enrolled in a short-term certificate program at a public two-year campus also are exempt from placement testing.

See Texas’ state profile for college readiness benchmarks.

TAAS is the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. TAKS is the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. STAAR is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

Institutions administer the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) for students who do not meet the exemption criteria. Students participate in a Pre-Assessment Activity, which includes test preparation and academic counseling. Students who do not meet or exceed TSIA cut scores (Math, 350; Reading, 351; Writing, 350/5 363/4) must work with a counselor to develop an academic success plan for exiting developmental education status. Institutions may offer one or more of the following:

Standalone, developmental education

Co-requisite/mainstreaming models

Non-course competency-based options

Modular/technology-based options


Four-Year Institutions

Institutional governing boards also set assessment and placement policies. Most institutions set placement scoring thresholds through these policies.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The Virginia Placement Test for Math (VPT‐Math), identifies the specific skills modules a student needs to complete to be eligible for a specific college‐level math course. The Virginia Placement Test for English (VPT‐English) includes an essay component designed to assess incoming students’ English preparedness and place them into the appropriate English course. Students who are considered nearly college ready may enroll directly into College Composition I (ENG 111) while co‐enrolling in a two‐credit‐hour developmental English course.



Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must demonstrate minimum proficiency in mathematics, writing, and reading. State policy authorizes institutions to offer three types of support for students who do not meet minimum standards: stand-alone developmental education courses, co-requisite courses, and supplementary academic support programs.

State policy provides minimum placement cut scores. Institutions may set higher cut scores for placement decisions. However, high school juniors who score a Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts and math summative assessments are exempt from placement testing.

See West Virginia’s state profile for minimum placement exam cut scores.

Students not meeting one of these standards must successfully complete required remediation. Institutions must develop strategies that allow students to progress through college-level, credit-bearing courses in the first year of enrollment. Institutions may require students who do not meet the standards to complete such courses at another institution. Such courses could include a stretch course, a co-requisite course, an ALP class or other embedded course delivery.