Postsecondary Placement

Overview

Postsecondary Placement Policies

Placement policies are set by individual institutions or at the state-level, sometimes by institution type. Institutions use placement policies to determine whether students are permitted to take college-credit courses or are required to take remedial courses. Factors considered in student placement include standardized exam score submissions, placement plans, and college-level coursework completed during high school. See below for each state’s postsecondary placement policies. (Updated August 2019)

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Alabama
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

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

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The Alabama Community College Board of Trustees repealed the two-year system’s requirements for student placement testing in 2017.

As a result, the Alabama Community College System now encourages but does not require its institutions to use the ACCUPLACER to assess students for placement into credit-bearing college courses.

Institutions may exempt students from placement tests if students achieve satisfactory scores — as set by each institution — on the ACT or SAT.

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Arkansas
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

Students who meet or exceed the ACT Benchmarks in English, reading, and math are exempt from placement testing.

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires all institutions to have an approved student placement plan. The board directs institutions to use multiple measures to determine placement into college-level courses when students score below the minimum ACT cut scores.

Arkansas Department of Higher Education ─ Minimum ACT Scores

ACT Sub-test Cut Score
English Composition 18
Reading 22
Math – College Algebra 22

The multiple weighted measures may include the following:

  • high school grade-point average
  • 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)
  • other non-cognitive information such as motivation, time management skills or family support
  • writing samples and successful completion of a transitional course in high school

The board requires institutions to assess the effectiveness of placement criteria in predicting student success in the first credit-bearing college course.

Institutions may require that students interested in STEM majors meet higher standards for placement.

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Delaware
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

Delaware requires that 100% of high school students take the SAT before graduation. Accordingly, students who meet the SAT cut score set by the state’s public colleges and universities are exempt from remedial or developmental courses upon enrollment.

The University of Delaware and Delaware State University require that all first-time freshmen take the ALEKS assessment to determine their math course placement. A score of 45 or higher on the ALEKS assessment allows students to enroll in credit-bearing math courses.

High school students who pass the state’s transitional courses with a 77 or higher are exempt from remedial and developmental courses.

University of Delaware

At the University of Delaware, placement determinations vary by college and intended major. Students cannot register for specific math courses unless they meet the appropriate placement thresholds. Once you know the required math course for your major, use the following chart to determine the placement level.

Course

Title

*Placement Level Required for Enrollment

Math 010

Intermediate Algebra (Remedial, non-credit)

G, M, P, S, B, C

Math 113

Contemporary Mathematics

G, M, P, S, B, C

Math 114

College Mathematics and Statistics

M, P, S, B, C

Math 115

Precalculus

P, S, B, C

Math 117

Precalculus for Scientists and Engineers 

S, B, C

Math 221

Calculus I

B, C

Math 241

Analytic Geometry and Calculus A

C

In 2017, the University of Delaware launched a four-year pilot program providing Delaware students with the choice to submit their SAT or ACT test scores for admission to the University.

Delaware State University

All formally admitted freshmen and transfer students must complete the online ALEKS placement test for math two weeks prior to orientation and score at 45 or higher to enroll in college-level math courses. Student performance on the ACT or SAT determine placement into English composition courses.   

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

All Delaware Technical Community College students are required to take the Accuplacer to determine placement unless they meet one of the following three exemptions:

  • Completed credit-bearing courses in English, reading and/or math
  • Earned a 490 or above on SAT Math and 475 higher on SAT Verbal
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree when they are admitted
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Florida
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

A student who entered ninth grade in a Florida public school in the 2003-2004 school year or after and earned a Florida standard high school diploma, or 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.

However, a student who is exempt may opt to be assessed and enroll in developmental education. If so, the college shall administer assessments 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.

Florida College System – Minimum Placement Assessment Scores*

Test

Math

Reading/Verbal

English/Writing

ACT

19

19

17

SAT (prior to 3/1/16)

440

440

N/A

New SAT

24

24

25

ACCUPLACER

72

83

83

PERT

114

106

103

* A Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 (FCAT 2.0) minimum composite score of 262 was accepted through March 2017.
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Georgia
Postsecondary Placement Policies

University System of Georgia

The Board of Regents has established system-wide placement policies and exemptions for community colleges and four-year institutions.

To be exempt from placement testing in English (reading/writing), students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Completed Area A English course with grade of “C” or higher
  • English Placement Index of 4230 or higher
  • High School grade-point average of 3.1 or higher and completion of required high school curriculum in English
  • Score of 480 SAT or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section
  • Score of 17 ACT or higher on the English or Reading subtest higher
  • Score of 61 or higher on Classic Accuplacer (237 or higher on Next-Generation Accuplacer) Reading Comprehension Test and score 4 or higher on the WritePlacer

To be exempt from placement testing in Mathematics a student must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Complete Area A mathematics course with grade of “C” or higher
  • Placed into pre-calculus or higher math course
  • Math Placement Index of 1265 or higher
  • High School GPA of 3.4 or higher and completion of required high school curriculum in mat;
  • Score of 510 or higher on the SAT math section
  • Score of 20 or higher on the ACT math subtest
  • Score of 79 or higher on Classic Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test
  • Score of 266 or higher on Next-Generation Accuplacer Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics test

Institutions may set higher scores or require additional measures for screening and placement into Learning Support courses. Students who meet the institution’s admission standards for programs leading to baccalaureate degrees are exempted from further placement testing.

Institutions may calculate a Mathematics Placement Index and an English Placement Index based on high school grade point average, SAT or ACT and, when indicated, the Classic Accuplacer placement test.

Institutions place students who do not meet placement thresholds into co-requisite, Learning Support courses. For more detailed information, please see the University System of Georgia Academic Affairs Handbook 2.9.1 Administrative Procedures for Learning Support Programs.

Technical College System of Georgia

System policy requires technical colleges to assess students’ readiness to enter academic programs of study. Institutions may accept a student’s official entrance score on several validated assessment instruments, including the SAT, ACT, GED, Accuplacer, COMPASS, or Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). Colleges may also use high school GPA and documentation of certain work experiences to exempt students from placement testing.   

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 they satisfy program pre- and co-requisites.

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Kentucky
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education revised the placement requirements for the 2019-20 academic year.

Students who meet or exceed the state’s minimum qualifying scores (see table) on one of five assessments are exempt from completing developmental education or co-requisite coursework. The council also sets cut scores for placement into three credit-bearing math courses: quantitative reasoning, college algebra and calculus.

Kentucky’s Minimum College Readiness Benchmarks

Readiness Area

ACT

SAT

KYOTE

GED

ALEKS

English

18

480 or 25

6

165

N/A

Reading

20

480 or 25

20

165

N/A

Math

19

500

22

165

30

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Louisiana
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

Students at all public institutions must earn at least a 19 ACT score in Math for placement in college-level courses or earn an equivalent score on one of the following assessments:

  • 500-510 on SAT Math
  • 65 on the Accuplacer Elementary Algebra subtest
  • 40 on the Algebra section of the COMPASS Mathematics test

Students at all public institutions must earn at least an 18 ACT score in English for placement in college-level courses or earn an equivalent score on one of the following assessments:

  • 25 on the SAT Writing and Language Test
  • 86 on the Accuplacer Sentence Skills section
  • 70 on the COMPASS Writing Skills Test

Institutions may enroll students in co-requisite math and English courses if they score an 18 or 16 on the ACT Math and English subtests, respectively.  

The board authorizes institutions to create alternative placement systems, upon approval by the system’s Division of Academic and Student Affairs.

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Mississippi
Postsecondary Placement Policies

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 subtest must take intermediate courses. The board allows institutions to require students with an ACT sub-score between 17 and 19 to enroll in intermediate courses. However, students are exempt from the intermediate course requirement if they completed an SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of 80 or higher.

Students required to take two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the summer program entitles students to continue their enrollment at the university.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Institutions have the right to set their own placement thresholds for entry into college-level English and math courses. However, the Mississippi Community College Board convenes a group of 14 of the 15 community colleges’ chief academic officers who have agreed to use an ACT English score of 17 or higher for placement in English Composition and an ACT math score of 19 or higher for placement in College Algebra.

Entering freshmen enrolled at a public postsecondary institution who have an ACT math, reading or English subtest score of 16 or less are required to take Intermediate Algebra or Intermediate English during their first semester of college. Institutions may also require that students who score between 17 and 19 take the intermediate course(s).

However, students are exempt from the intermediate course requirement if they completed an SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of 80 or higher. Students taking two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the year-long Academic Support Program or equivalent courses.

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North Carolina
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina authorizes institutions to contract with community colleges to offer remedial instruction.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The State Board of Community Colleges requires institutions to use a multiple-measures placement policy.

Multiple Measures Used for Community College Placement Decisions

Placement Measure

Description

Benchmark

High School GPA

Students who meet the GPA benchmark are exempt from placement testing.

2.6 GPA

ACT/SAT

Students who do not meet GPA benchmark or who graduated from high school more than five years ago take the ACT or SAT. Qualifying scores exempt students from placement testing.

ACT Reading 22 OR

ACT English 18

 

SAT  Evidence-based Reading 480

 

ACT Math 22

SAT Math 530

Diagnostic Assessment

Students who do not meet the GPA benchmark, ACT/SAT cut score, or who graduated from high school within the past five years take the placement test.

Colleges administer the North Carolina Diagnostic Assessment and Placement test (Accuplacer). Colleges place students who do not meet placement cut scores in developmental education courses.

The board authorizes community colleges to establish policies on how to support students accessed near the Accuplacer cut scores through enrollment in a college course with appropriate developmental education supports.

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Oklahoma
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

State policy exempts students from remedial and developmental education if they score 19 or higher on each ACT subtest. However, institutions may establish higher standards by requiring additional testing of those students meeting or exceeding the minimum ACT subject test score requirement.

State policy requires institutions to develop entry-level assessment programs for students scoring below the ACT thresholds. These programs should evaluate students’ academic qualifications, goals, study skills, values, and motivation. 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 president or the president’s designee may allow exceptions on an individual basis for students with extenuating circumstances. Institutions must report these exceptions to the State Regents.

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South Carolina
Postsecondary Placement Policies

The University of South Carolina System

State policy prohibits the delivery of remedial and developmental education courses at four-year institutions.

While technically allowed by state law, system policy also prohibits the offering of these at the board’s three two-year colleges. These institutions provide enriched sections of entry-level courses. Institutions may require students to complete testing by subject (e.g., math and foreign language) to determine course placement.

Technical College System

Technical college students may present qualifying SAT or ACT scores or participate in placement testing. Students must take institutionally determined placement tests in reading, writing and math. Institutions place students who do not meet placement benchmarks in developmental education courses.

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Tennessee
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

Board of Regents

University boards have set placement policies since the enactment of Chapter 869 in 2016. System policy in the Tennessee. The Board of Regents revised placement rules for community colleges in March 2019. Community colleges may use four assessments: ACT, SAT, Accuplacer, and the Seamless Alignment and Integration of Learning Support program. Students scoring at or above the cut score are exempt from Learning Support (i.e., developmental education).

ACT/SAT Placement Cut Scores

Readiness Area

ACT

SAT

Accuplacer

SAILS

Writing

18

490

250

4

Reading

19

500

250

4

Math

19

500

250

5

Institutions require students who score below the cutoff in writing, reading, and/or math to enroll in co-requisite learning support courses.

Community colleges may provide standalone learning support to non-degree seeking students whose program does not require college-level math, English or reading.

University of Tennessee System

The system’s three undergraduate institutions set minimum ACT and SAT cut scores for enrollment in specific English and math courses. Students may document passing scores on an Advanced Placement, CLEP, or the online math placement exam to qualify for the first math course required for their major.

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.

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Texas
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

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.

Texas College Readiness Benchmarks

Sub-test ACT SAT New SAT* TAAS** TAKS STAAR
Composite 23 1070
English 19 1770 2200 Level 2 score on English III
Reading 500 480 89
Math 19 500 530 86 2200 Level 2 score on Algebra II
*New SAT first administered after March 5, 2016
**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, 340) must work with a counselor to develop an academic success plan for exiting developmental education status. House Bill 2223 (2017) requires public, postsecondary institutions to offer co-requisite models. In the 2019-2020 academic year, institutions must enroll at least half of eligible students in co-requisite instruction. The threshold grows to 75% for subsequent years.  

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Virginia
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

Institutional boards set assessment and placement policies.

Community College System

The State Board for Virginia’s Community Colleges approved a multiple-measures placement policy in 2017. The policy lists several exemption criteria for students, including high school grade-point average and qualifying SAT, ACT, or GED scores. Additionally, students who have completed an associate degree, earned a C or better in a college-level math or English course, or completed developmental courses at a Virginia community college are exempt from placement testing.

Students who do not meet any of these criteria take the Virginia Placement Test for English and/or math.  The tests determine placement in developmental or credit-bearing courses. 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.

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West Virginia
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must demonstrate minimum proficiency in math, writing, and reading. State policy authorizes institutions to offer co-requisite courses or entry-level courses with supplementary academic support programs.

State policy provides minimum placement cut scores. Institutions may set higher cut scores for placement decisions.

Minimum Placement Exam Cut Scores

Test

Math

Reading/ Verbal

English/Writing

ACT

19

17

18

SAT

510

23*

480

ACCUPLACER

250 (Quantitative Reasoning)

255 (Elementary Statistics)

260 (College Algebra)

85 (Arithmetic)

252

250

*Critical reading sub-score on new SAT
**As of 2016, the Compass test system, and its affiliated tests, are no longer offered but scores from these tests will continue to be accepted.

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