Placement Testing

pc handsThe college uses placement tests to assess skills in reading, writing, mathematics and English as a second language (ESL).* The results are used to place students into courses where they will have the best opportunity to succeed. Courses are available for students who need developmental work as determined by placement testing.

Before registering for credit courses, students must take the placement tests (or provide other evidence of English or Math eligibility). If students need developmental work, they must begin that work in their first semester at the college and continue until the requirements are completed (which may take several semesters). Based upon reading/writing placement testing, students may be required to enroll in College Success/Academic Learning Skills (COLS-/ACLS-) courses as outlined in the Placement Guidelines. Developmental course work does not count toward degree requirements. Students who place into developmental courses can retest once before starting those courses. Students may not take the test while enrolled in a developmental course.

Some students may be placed into English or Mathematics courses as a result of PSSA, ACT, or SAT scores, or previous degrees or courses. Students must furnish the appropriate evidence of previous testing or experience before registering for courses. If they do not furnish evidence, they must take the placement test before registering.

* Students whose first language is not English should contact the ESL department for testing and placement. If students have low reading or writing scores on the English Placement Test and their first language is not English, they will be referred to the ESL department for ESL testing and placement.

Requests for accommodated testing must be submitted through the Office of Disability Services.

Placement Guidelines: English, College Success/Academic Learning Skills & Mathematics


English I (ENGL101):
  • Competence as determined by the English placement test
  • Combined Reading and Writing 11th grade PSSA score of at least 2650 (with neither Reading nor Writing score below 1200).
  • Score of 500 or higher on both the SAT Writing and Critical Reading exams (2005 and beyond).
  • Evidence of a score of 21 or higher on the ACT English Exam.
  • Completion of required developmental courses.
Writing Skills Workshop (ENGL 027):
  • Placement into developmental writing only as determined by the English placement test or course work. [R in Writing Skills I (ENGL 025); R in Reading Fundamentals (READ 016) and/or Critical Reading (READ 017)]
Writing Skills I (ENGL025), Writing Skills II (ENGL 026), Reading Fundamentals (READ016), Critical Reading (READ017):
  • Placement as determined by the English placement test
English as a Second Language:
  • English language competence as determined by ESL department
Helpful Links
Test Taking Tips
Sample Questions for Reading
Sample Questions for Writing

College Success/Academic Learning Skills

College Study Skills (ACLS 020):
  • Required for students needing either Writing Skills I (ENGL 025) or Reading Fundamentals (READ 016); ACLS020 should be taken in the same semester as ENGL025 and/or READ016
College Seminar: Applied Strategies for Academic Success (COLS150):
  • Required for students needing both Writing Skills II (ENGL026) and Critical Reading (READ017); all three should be taken in the same semester.


Prealgebra (MATH 020), Applications in Math (MATH103):
  • Open enrollment; no placement or pre-requisites needed
Elementary Algebra (MATH 022), Intermediate Algebra (MATH 026):
  • Competence as determined by the mathematics placement test
  • Completion of required developmental courses with a C or better
Elementary and Intermediate Algebra Combined (MATH 028):
  • Competence as determined by the mathematics placement test
Foundations of Mathematics I (MATH118), Foundations of Mathematics II (MATH119), The Nature of Mathematics (MATH120), College Algebra (MATH140), Introductory Statistics (MATH150):
  • Competence as determined by the mathematics placement test
  • 11th grade PSSA math score of 1300 or higher
  • Score of 500 or higher on the SAT mathematics exam
  • Completion of required developmental courses with a C or better

For all other MATH classes, refer to course prerequisites in each course description.

Helpful Links
Test Takings Tips
Sample Questions for Mathematics

Changes approved by Academic Policy Committee May 10, 2011; to be effective Fall 2011

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