Postsecondary Placement

Overview

Postsecondary Placement Policies

Placement policies are set by individual institutions, by institution type and at the state-level. Placement policies determine whether a student can be placed into college credit-bearing courses or needs to be remediated. (Updated November, 2017)

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Alabama
Postsecondary Placement Policies

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 Alabama Community College Board of Trustees has adopted a Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement which repealed the state’s system-wide requirements for student placement testing.

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.

In general, students may be exempted from placement testing if they achieve the following scores on the SAT or ACT:

  • SAT: math 480 or above; verbal/reading 480 or above; English/writing 480 or above.
  • ACT: English/writing 18 or above; reading 20 or above; math 20 or above.
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Arkansas
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) Coordinating Board requires all institutions to have an approved  student placement plan. Institutions are encouraged to use multiple weighted measures to determine placement in college-level courses when a student’s scores fall below the minimum ACT scores. However, institutions are required to use data-driven practices, provide data to support their placement decisions and allow for follow-up evaluation of placement effectiveness.

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

Whichever placement criteria an institution chooses, if assessment scores are used, the score must indicate about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a “C” or better in the corresponding 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 percent 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. Even so, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University require that all first-time freshmen take the ALEKS assessment to determine their math course placement.

High school students who pass the state’s transitional courses with a 77 or higher are exempt from remedial/developmental work at the postsecondary level.

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.

Students entering the following colleges or majors must receive a score of 75 or better (associated with *Placement Level C) on the ALEKS exam to qualify for placement in Math 241 ─ Analytic Geometry and Calculus A:

  • College of Engineering: all majors
  • Environmental studies, Life and Health Sciences, Physical and Applied Sciences
  • College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment: All BS programs
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics & Astronomy, Actuarial Science, Biochemistry, Pharmacy interest
  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Statistics
  • College of Education and Human Development: Elementary Education – Middle School Math 

Students entering the following colleges or majors must receive a score of 70 or better (associated with *Placement Level B, C) on the ALEKS exam to qualify for placement in Math 221 ─ Calculus A or Math 241:

  • All Lerner College majors except for BA in Economics and Economics Education, Sports Management, and BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management
  • College of Agricultural and Natural Resources: Animal Science, Environmental and Resource Economics, Food and Agribusiness Marketing and Management, Food Science, Natural Resource Management, Pre-Vet
  • College of Health Sciences: Nutritional Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Exercise Science

Students entering the following colleges or majors must receive a score of 60 or better (associated with *Placement Level P, S, B, C) on the ALEKS exam to qualify for placement in Math 115 ─ Precalculus or Math 221 or Math 241:

  • College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment: All BA programs
  • College of Agricultural and Natural Resources: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Insect Ecology and Conservation, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Landscape Architecture
  • College of Health Sciences: Athletic Training, Medical Lab & Diagnostics​ interest
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Neuroscience

Students entering the following colleges or majors must receive a score of 45 or better (associated with *Placement Level M, P, S, B, C) on the ALEKS exam to qualify for placement in Math 114 ─ College Mathematics and Statistics or Math 115 or Math 221 or Math 241:

  • College of Arts and Sciences: All Arts and Humanities majors
  • College of Education and Human Development: All majors (except for Middle School Mathematics)
  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Landscape Horticulture and Design, Plant Science
  • College of Health Sciences: Health Behavior Science, Applied Nutrition (including students interested in the Dietetics major)
  • Lerner College: Economics BA, Economics Education, Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, Sports Management, BS

Once you know the required math course for your major, use the following chart to determine the placement level. In all cases, an advisor will explain which course is best:

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. 

Minimum ALEKS Score Courses you are permitted to take
Less than 30 No equivalent course. You cannot register for any math courses. To place in a math course, you must review the content in the Prep and Learning Module. Then retake the placement test and earn a score of 30 or higher to place in a math course.
30-44 MTSC 075 – Introduction to Algebra. This is a pre-college-level course. It provides you with a solid foundation in algebra and the problem-solving skills needed to move comfortably and confidently into college-level courses. Credits earned from this course do not count towards graduation. You are strongly encouraged to review the content in the Prep and Learning Module. Then retake the placement test and earn a score of 45 or higher to place into a college-level math course.
45-52 MTSC 110 – College Algebra A – This course is equivalent to the first half of MTSC 121 – College Algebra. You must take MTSC 110 and MTSC 111 – College Algebra B to earn credit equivalent to MTSC 121.
45-59 MTSC 121 – College Algebra
45-100 MTSC 107 – Math and Data Analysis
45-100 MTSC 105/201 – Mathematics for Teachers I
60-75 MTSC 122 – Trigonometry; or
MTSC 125 – Finite Mathematics
60-100 MTSC 241 – Elementary Statistics
76-100 MTSC 251 – Calculus I; 
MTSC 261 – Calculus for Life Sciences; or
MTSC 225 – Calculus for Business and Social Sciences

Students are placed in college English composition courses based on their SAT/ACT scores:

  • Under SAT 400 / ACT 15 or below ─ Writing Skills
  • SAT 400-574 / ACT16-19 ─ Regular Composition
  • SAT 575+ / ACT 20+ ─ Honors Composition

Students who score at 15 or lower on the ACT reading must take the Nelson Denny reading test.

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.

  1. Completed credit-bearing courses in English, reading and/or math.
  2. Earned a 500 or above on SAT Math and 475 higher on SAT Verbal.
  3. Hold a bachelor’s degree when they are admitted.
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Florida
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

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 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 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.

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

Four-Year Institutions

The University System of Georgia has established system-wide placement policies and exemptions for four-year, two-year and technical colleges.

To be exempt from placement testing in English (reading/writing) a student must

  • score 430 SAT Critical Reading or higher; OR
  • score 17 ACT English or higher; OR
  • score at or above the advanced proficiency level on the Georgia High School Graduation Test – English Language Arts (Consult the GHAGT Concordance Chart on the Student Affairs Resource page); AND
  • have met the Required High School Curriculum requirement in English.

To be exempt from placement testing in Mathematics a student must

  • score of 400 SAT-Mathematics or higher; OR
  • score of 17 ACT- Mathematics or higher; AND
  • have met the Required High School Curriculum requirement in mathematics.

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.

For those students who are not exempt, a Mathematics Placement Index and an English Placement Index are calculated based on high school grade point average, SAT or ACT and, when indicated, the COMPASS placement test or other approved placement test.

Indices are then calculated using one of the following four procedures:

  1. High school grade point average and SAT or ACT
  2. High school grade point average and COMPASS – if SAT or ACT are not available
  3. SAT or ACT and COMPASS – when high school grade point average is not available
  4. COMPASS – when neither high school grade point average nor SAT or ACT is available

Indices are compared to the state placement cuts to determine placement. Students with placement indices that are less than the minimum state placement index for that subject are placed into co-requisite or Foundations-level Learning Support. For more detailed information, please see the University System of Georgia Academic Affairs Handbook 2.9.1 Administrative Procedures for Learning Support Programs.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

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 or a GED score of 165 or higher on English or Math.

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 ACCUPLACER or COMPANION when evaluating students’ readiness for diploma, degree and certificate programs.

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.

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Kentucky
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education adopted College Readiness Indicators after the passage of Senate Bill 1 (2009) and then revised the readiness benchmarks for the 2017-18 academic year.

Students who have been admitted to a state public postsecondary institution and meet or exceed the state’s minimum qualifying scores (see table 1) on one of five assessments are automatically eligible to enroll in credit-bearing college courses.

Kentucky’s Minimum College Readiness Benchmarks

Readiness Area

ACT

SAT

KYOTE

GED

COMPASS

English

18

430 or 25

6

165

74

Reading

20

470 or 25

20

165

85

Math

19

460

22

165

36

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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 the equivalent in Math on the SAT, ASSET or Compass:

  • 460-470 in SAT Math
  • 40 on the Algebra section of the COMPASS Mathematics test
  • 43 on the Elementary Algebra section of the ASSET Mathematics tests

Students at all public institutions must earn at least an 18 ACT score in English for placement in college-level courses or earn the equivalent in English on the SAT, ASSET or Compass:

  • 450 in SAT Verbal
  • 68 on the COMPASS Writing Test
  • 44 on the ASSET Writing Skills Test

Students within one point of the 19 ACT benchmark in math or within two points of the 18 ACT benchmark in English may be admitted if enrolled in an English/math course with supplemental/co-requisite delivery of developmental support.

Students who are within two points of the 19 ACT in math may be provisionally admitted through the state’s summer math program. To earn full admission, these students must enroll in a prescribed mathematics course during the summer prior to full admission and complete the degree-credit mathematics course with a grade of “C” or better and earn at least a 2.5 GPA for the term. Successful students may be fully admitted and allowed to continue. Students who do not meet provisions may not be admitted for the fall semester/term, other than by special exception.

As of June 2015, regional institutions can admit students needing one developmental course, but only two-year institutions and historically black colleges and universities are authorized to teach the developmental courses

In addition to the Regent’s minimum admission standards, institutions may adopt more specific or rigorous requirements for admission or for automatic admission, thus providing a buffer for exceptions to the university standards that still meet the board’s minimum requirements.

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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 subtests must take 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 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 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 can 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

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

Since 2016, all North Carolina Community Colleges have been required to use multiple measures to make student placement decisions.

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

ACT English 18

 

SAT Reading 500

SAT Writing 500

 

ACT Math 22

ACT Math 500

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. Colleges place students who do not meet placement cut scores in developmental education courses.

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.

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Oklahoma
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

Students who score 19 or higher on each ACT subtest are usually placed in college-level courses. Institutions may establish higher standards by requiring additional testing of those students meeting or exceeding the minimum ACT subject test score requirement.

Students scoring below 19 have their academic record reviewed and may be asked to complete additional testing before being placed. 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. All exceptions must be reported to the State Regents.

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South Carolina
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

Four-year institutions establish minimum ACT/SAT scores and class rank requirements. Developmental courses cannot be offered at the four-year institutions, but students may still complete placement testing by subject (e.g., math and foreign language) through various instruments.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Two-year students undergo placement testing in English and math to determine readiness for college-level courses. Developmental courses cannot be offered at the two-year institutions, so students who fail to meet placement benchmarks are placed in enriched sections of entry-level courses that count towards college credit. These students are then mainstreamed into regular coursework as soon as possible.

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. Students who do not meet placement benchmarks are placed in developmental education courses.

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Tennessee
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Statewide

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).

ACT/SAT Placement Cut Scores

Readiness Area

ACT

SAT

Writing

18

490

Reading

19

500

Math

19

500

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 Board of Regents recommends that each regional institution partner with the local school districts in its region to deliver learning support to at-risk students identified through placement assessments administered prior to senior year.

Institutions are directed to form partnerships with their local high school district to develop early intervention systems and provide learning support to high school students considered not college ready 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 students’ scores are high enough, or they have completed an appropriate course with a C or better, or made a passing score on an AP or CLEP exam, or pass the approved online math placement exam with an 80 percent 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.

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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 85
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, 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:

  • Stand-alone, developmental education
  • Co-requisite/mainstreaming models
  • Non-course competency-based options
  • Modular/technology-based options
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Virginia
Postsecondary Placement Policies

Four-Year Institutions

Assessment and placement policies for public four-year colleges and universities in Virginia are determined by each institution’s governing board.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The Virginia Placement Test for Math (VPT‐Math) identifies the specific skills 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.

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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 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.

Minimum Placement Exam Cut Scores

Test

Math

Reading/ Verbal

English/ Writing

ACT

19

17

18

SAT

500

23*

480

Grade 11 Summative Assessment

Level 3

N/A

Level 3

ASSET

40 (N umerical)

38 (Elem. Algebra)

36

38 (Writing Skills)

COMPASS**

59 (Pre-Algebra)

36 (Algebra)

75

71

ACCUPLACER

85 (Arithmetic)

76 (Elem. Algebra

40 (College Level)

79

88 Sentence Skills

Nelson-Denney

N/A

30th Percentile

N/A

*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. Such courses could include a stretch course, a co-requisite course, an ALP class or other embedded course delivery.