Placement Testing

Purpose of Placement Tests

State Law requires all students attending public institutions of higher education be assessed in reading, writing and mathematics before enrolling in classes. The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state legislated program designed to improve student success in college.

All students, unless considered TSI Exempt, must take a the TSI assessment prior to enrolling in classes. Students scoring below the placement test standards are required to enroll in developmental courses which do not apply towards a degree or certificate.

Determining Course Placement

  • The TSI Assessment is not a Pass/Fail exam, it is a placement exam that will help to determine appropriate academic level.
  • Proper course placement during the first year is critical to fostering student success in college. Placement scores help to ensure students enroll in courses that best match their academic skills and prior learning experience.
  • Enrollment in most college-level courses requires meeting a minimum score or students will need to complete all appropriate developmental coursework with a C or better.

The TSI Assessment

All of the colleges within the Lone Star College System administer the TSI Assessment for students who will be attending in our System. There is a $29 fee to take the exam (or $10 per section). Students will need to contact their campus Advising/Counseling Office to obtain a testing ticket and pay the fee in the Business Office prior to testing.

Other Placement Testing Options

Accuplacer Math/Compass Math

Accuplacer or COMPASS may be taken to place in higher level math courses, such as trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus. These options are only available for those who have completed and placed into College Algebra on the TSI Assessment. These are computerized, non-timed exams. Students receive their scores immediately after testing.

Compass/ESL

COMPASS/ESL is used for placement into ESOL courses. It is a computerized, non-timed placement test. It consists of three multiple choice sections: Listening, Reading, and Grammar/Usage. Students receive their placement scores immediately after testing.

TSI Minimum Scores and Exemptions

Students who have recently taken approved college assessment tests (SAT, ACT, TAKS, TAAS) may be exempt from part or all placement tests. Students who have completed the approved developmental course sequence may also be exempt from placement testing

SAT, ACT, STAAR, TAKS and TSI scores are valid for 5 years if the student has enrolled in an institution of higher education during that time period (does not have to be just LSCS); TAAS scores are valid for 3 years if the student has enrolled in an institution of higher education during that time period (does not have to be just LSCS).

  Reading Writing Math
SAT1 1070 combined with 500 Verbal/Critical Reading 1070 with
500 Math
ACT1 23 composite with 19 English 23 composite
with 19 Math
11th Grade TAKS2 2200 with 3 on essay 2200
TAAS3 89 1770 86 TLI
(Texas Learning Index)
STAAR4 English III: Level II: 2000 (Reading) and 2000 (Writing) Algebra II: Level II
4000+
  1. SAT and ACT: the combined score with the specified minimum scores above shall be exempt for those corresponding sections. High scores on the ACT or SAT may qualify the student for the Honors Program.
  2. TAKS: a minimum scale score of 2200 on the math section and/or a minimum scale score of 2200 on the English Language Arts section with a writing subsection score of at least 3, shall be exempt from the assessment required under this title for those corresponding sections.
  3. TAAS: a minimum scale score of 1770 on the writing test, a Texas Learning Index (TLI) of 86 on the mathematics test and 89 on the reading test shall be exempt from the assessment required for those corresponding sections.
  4. STAAR end-of-course (EOC) with a minimum score of Level 2 on the English III shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment for both reading and writing, and a minimum score of Level 2 on the Algebra II EOC shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment for the mathematics section.

Students Will Also Be Considered TSI Complete If:

  • A student who transfers to an institution from a private or independent institution of higher education or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education and who has satisfactorily completed college-level coursework as determined by the receiving institution.
  • A student who has previously attended any institution and has been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution.
  • The student who has graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education.
  • The student is enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less (Level-One certificates, 42 or fewer semester credit hours or the equivalent at a public junior college, a public technical institute, or a public state college).
  • A student is serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States and has been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment.
  • A student who on or after August 1, 1990, was honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States.

Students meeting TSI exemption criteria may submit evidence of eligibility for exemption to their Lone Star College campus.

NOTE: Students must still meet prerequisites for all classes

Test Preparation

The score a student makes on their placement test determines their course sequence. Because of this, it is highly recommended to prepare for the placement test.

View more information about Test Preparation

Placement Testing Process

  1. Apply to Lone Star College before scheduling any tests.
  2. Visit the campus Advising/Counseling Office to see if you need to take any placement tests. Obtain a test referral form, if needed and pay the fee to the campus business office.
  3. Visit the campus Testing Center to schedule a placement test or to find out which campuses offer walk-in testing.
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