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Student Success Center

Realize your Potential

Contact Us

College of Southern Maryland
Student Success Center
301-934-7657

La Plata Campus
LR Building, Room 120

For information regarding academic issues contact:
studentsuccess@csmd.edu

For information regarding testing contact:

Salman Zafarullah, Testing Center Manager
La Plata Testing Center: 301-934-7657
Testing_Center@csmd.edu

Leonardtown Campus
B Building, Room 111

For information regarding academic issues contact:
Beverly Dearstine-Russell
240-725-5329
beverlyr@csmd.edu 

For information regarding testing contact:

Jacqueline Dyson, Testing Center Manager
Leonardtown Testing Center: 240-725-5340
LEON_Testing_Center@csmd.edu

Prince Frederick Campus
PFA Building, Room 125

For information regarding academic issues contact:
Laura M. Robins
443-550-6042
lrobins@csmd.edu

For information regarding testing contact:

Linda Giles, Testing Center Manager
Prince Frederick Testing Center: 443-550-6040
PRIN_Testing_Center@csmd.edu

Placement Testing

The purpose of the English, reading, and mathematics placement tests at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is to assess students' entry-level academic skills and to provide options to strengthen them.  Students have a better chance for success in college if their basic skills are strong enough to meet the rigors of college-level classes.  All courses in English and mathematics require that students have completed the appropriate placement tests for placement prior to enrollment, as do many other courses in variety of disciplines (for example:  biology, chemistry, early childhood education, and information technology services).  These requirements are listed under prerequisites in the course description section of the CSM Academic Catalog.  For all of these reasons, students should make it a priority to complete the placement tests as early as possible after admission but no later than the point at which they have accumulated nine credits.

 

Test Center Locations, Hours, Instructions

Depending on the test center location you choose, an appointment for your placement test may be required. Choose your location, then review the instructions.

At the La Plata campus, walks-in are welcome and no appointments are necessary for students taking the placement test for the College of Southern Maryland. Students can simply come to the La Plata campus during normal business hours with a photo ID and your CSM student ID number.

For tests at the Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campuses, make appointments by calling the Testing Centers.

Placement testing is also administered at local high schools. For more information, follow this link: High School Placement Testing.

ACCUPLACER Placement Test


ACCUPLACER is an internet-based, computerized, adaptive, placement testing system developed by College Board.  The test assesses basic skills in writing (English), reading, and mathematics, as well as more advanced mathematics skills.  The test is untimed.

The Reading Comprehension test measures a studentís ability to understand what he or she has read. There are 20 questions with four content areas on this test: identifying main ideas, direct statements/secondary ideas, inferences, and applications. For more information about proficiency at various scoring levels click here.

The Writing/Sentence Skills test measures students understanding of sentence structure. i.e., how sentences are put together and what makes a sentence complete and clear. There are a total of 20 questions administered in three content areas measured on this test: recognizing complete sentences, coordination/subordination, and clear sentence logic. For more information about proficiency at various scoring levels click here.

The Mathematics Placement test is a multiple choice test that evaluates a studentsí ability level.  There are three skill areas within the mathematics test: arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college level math.  Arithmetic has a total of 17 questions and measures a studentsí ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. The Elementary Algebra has a total of 12 questions, which measure a studentsí ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts.  For more information about proficiency at various scoring levels click here.  The College Level Math has a total of  20 questions and measures a studentsí ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematics concepts.  For more information about proficiency at various scoring levels click here.  Due to the adaptive nature of the test program, students will see more or less difficult questions based on the accuracy of their responses.  The ACCUPLACER test has a built-in calculator for use on specific math problems only.

Practice Questions are available on the Accuplacer website and on the Student Success Center website here.

Note: You do not have to take all tests at one time. Completing the tests with a rest in between can aid student concentration and comfort level. Inform the Testing Center staff if you do not want to take all of your tests in the same .

What to Expect When You Take the Placement Test

  • Valid photo identification (government issued photo ID or CSM student ID card) is required for all testing.
  • CSM student identification number is required.
  • Appointments are required at Leonardtown & Prince Frederick campuses. La Plata operates on a drop-in basis within the scheduled hours of operation, meaning no appointment is necessary for CSM students. See Hours of Operation page for additional detail.
  • Calculators, pencils and scratch paper will be provided.
  • You will receive your scores directly after your test.
  • No children are allowed in Testing Centers.
  • No cellular phones are allowed in Testing Centers.  Lockers are available for personal items.

How Long Does The Test Take?

The test is not timed. Students should take as long as necessary to verify the accuracy of answers before they are submitted. This is important, because, once an answer has been selected and confirmed, students cannot return to that question to alter it. As such, the total duration of time fluctuates from one to two hours depending on the individual student.

When Do Scores Expire?

Placement Test results are valid for 2 years only.

Cost of Placement Test

There is no cost for students taking the placement test for the College of Southern Maryland at the La Plata, Leonardtown, and Prince Frederick campuses. If taking the test at an approved alternate site, students may incur a cost for the proctor and/or the site. There is a fee for retesting.

Placement Test Results

The attached document details Placement Test Cut Scores for the College of Southern Maryland. Please contact the Student Success Center or the Advising Office if you have any questions. Read more about the different levels of placement below.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Adult Basic Education (ABE) describes a level of capability on the placement tests. Students, who receive this score designation need to improve their reading, math, and/or English language skills before they begin coursework at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). If your placement test scores specify placement at the ABE level, you will be required to do supplementary work prior retesting and starting college classes. For more information, click here.

College Preparation

College Preparation classes offer the opportunity to build up skills in math, reading or English to prepare  for work in college level courses.

College Level Courses

College Level test results allow students to register for college level introductory courses or depending on the score, skip some initial college level courses.

Waiving The Placement Test

Work and/or Academic Experience

Students who can document work and/or academic experience that would suggest the ability to do college-level work can provide such documentation to the appropriate department chair  for consideration of a waiver of the placement test in English, reading, and/or math.

SAT/ACT Scores

An automatic waiver is granted for math if a student has a score of 550 or above on the SAT Math and for English and reading with a score of 550 or above on the SAT Critical Reading score. Waivers are also granted in math with a score of 21 on ACT Math; for English with a score of 21 on the ACT English; and for Reading with a score of 21 on the ACT Reading. ACT and SAT test scores are considered valid for placement waivers if they have been taken within the past 5 years. Students may have test scores sent directly to the Student Success Center or can come into a Center and print the scores out from the College Board SAT website in front of a SSC official (anytime during normal business hours). These scores allow registration in select college level math and English (ENG 1010) courses.  You should meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss which math course would be best for your program of study.

Transfer Students

Transfer students who have not taken a college-level English or a college-level mathematics course in the last five years may be required to validate their skills in those areas.

Retaking of the Placement Tests

 

Dual and Concurrent, Gifted and Talented, Home School and Non-High School Graduates (Special Admissions Programs)

Students applying for one of these special admissions programs must place at college level in English/Sentence Skills and Reading in order to be admitted.  Math test scores may also be required in order to register for math and/or some science classes. Students may take the ACCUPLACER placement test or submit ACT or SAT score results.  Students attempting to gain admission under these special admissions programs may not retake the placement tests to gain entrance into one of these programs.   Students are encouraged to contact one of the Student Success Coordinators (one at each campus) in advance of taking the placement test to request access to PLATO, the placement test prep program which is available online and free to College of Southern Maryland applicants.  For more information about about these special admissions programs click here.

 

PLACEMENT TESTING

PRIOR TO TESTING

REMEDIATION PROOF

TEST FEE

First Placement Test (taken at a Test Center or high school)

Optional:

 

- Free outside resources available for review at http://bit.ly/csmdptp

 

- Free sample questions and Accuplacer apps ($2.99) for iPhones and web-based access at http://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/students


- PLATO placement test prep, a web-based skills review software, available free of charge to CSM students.  To request a login and password, contact the Student Success Center at studentsuccess@csmd.edu.

None Required

Free

Second Placement Test (1st Retest)

- All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.

- Proof of Review Required (must do at least one from the list below):

* Free outside resources available for review at http://bit.ly/csmdptp

* Free sample questions and Accuplacer apps ($2.99) for iPhones and web-based access at http://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/students

Provide proof of skills review with print out of practice materials or show completion of phone app.

Free

Second Placement Test
(1st Retest)
Without Review of Skills

- All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.

- Optional:

* Free outside resources available for review at http://bit.ly/csmdptp

* Free sample questions and Accuplacer apps ($2.99) for iPhones and web-based access at http://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/students

None Required

$25

Third Placement Test (2nd Retest)

- All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.

 

REQUIRED REMEDIATION:

- * Plato Learnís (Edmentum) Web-based Skills Review software Ė Complete the pretest, all tutorials assigned per the pretest, and the post-test.  You must demonstrate improvement in your post-test score in order to retest in Reading, Sentence Skills (English), or math. 

Contact a Student Success Coordinator for PLATO access.

Provide a print out showing completion and mastery to a Student Success Coordinator.  If approved for re-test, it will be noted on your student record.

Free

Any Additional Retests prior to completing a Reading, English, or math course

- All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.

- Discussion required with an Student Success Coordinator or Academic Advisor, covering course expectations and additional remediation alternatives.

Contact a Student Success Coordinator or Academic Advisor. There must be significant extenuating circumstances to justify a retest.

$25

Placement Retest after completing a significant portion of a college prep course (course starts with a zero or MTH-1000T)

- All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.

- Required:

* Completing a significant portion of the course work in a college prep course is a remediation option as long as the course work is consistent with the subject area you are testing in (such as RDG-0700 if you want to retest in reading).

Contact a Student Success Coordinator or Academic Advisor. If approval is granted, it will be noted on your student record.

Free

You can download a copy of the Test Proctor Fee form and pay at the Bursar's Office when you visit the campus or pre-pay online using a credit card by clicking here.

Scores from Other Institutions

Students who do not wish to take or retake the placement test and have placement scores  (Compass or Accuplacer) from another institution that are two years old or less can submit scores to the College of Southern Maryland from the initial institution. The Student Success Center (SSC) does not have access to all placement tests in general or those for other schools taken at CSM; only the initiating institution of the test can see and release them. Therefore, to have placement test scores reviewed, students need to officially request that the school they are coming from send the official score report OR the test scores and test type on school letterhead by email to Testing_Center@csmd.edu,  by fax to 301-934-7696 or postal mail. The scores, unfortunately, cannot be hand delivered by students and will not be accepted in this format. If you are interested in pursuing this option, contact the the SSC Office in advance by calling 301-934-7657.

 

Sending Placement Test Scores to Another Institution

Students who have taken placement tests at the College of Southern Maryland for CSM can request that their placement test scores be sent to another institution by completing the below Student Release Form and presenting the original or submitting a copy of a driverís license or government issued photo identification card along with your request.

 

ACCUPLACER Remote Testing

CSM students who are unable to come to the CSM Testing Centers due to their distance from the college may be able to arrange to take the ACCUPLACER remotely at an alternate site. Remote testing permits approved test sites to launch our exam so that students receive a score report which utilizes our cut scores to determine course eligibility and our placement messages about those courses. Additionally, ACCUPLACER test results are immediately available in our ACCUPLACER data base.  There are two ways to provide a remote launch.

  1. Contact the Testing Center at (301) 934-7657 to determine if there is a college, university, or community college near you which participates in the ACCUPLACER Remote Testing Network. If there is, we will register you for our test package through their test site.  You will receive a confirmation email with a voucher number to use on test day plus information about your test site.  It is the student's responsibility to contact that test site and arrange for a date and time to take the test and pay any fees associated with proctoring the exam.  When the exam is completed have the test site contact us so that your test scores will be put into your CSM student record. 
  2. If we are not able to locate a test site through the ACCUPLACER Remote Launch Network, 
    you should contact the college, university, or community college testing center closest to you to see if they would be able to proctor the ACCUPLACER exam.  Once you have located a test site, you should provide a CSM Testing Center with that testing centers contact information.  We will arrange for a login and password to be provided in order to launch the exam. This login and password is only made available for a brief period of time.  It is the student's responsibility to contact that test site and arrange for a date and time to take the test and pay any fees associated with proctoring the exam. 

Biology Placement Test

Students have the option of taking the Biology Placement Test, a free test is not a required test and offered on a walk-in basis at all of our Testing Centers. Qualifying students can place out of entry-level courses depending on skill demonstrated. A score of 35 or above allows for placement in BIO 2040, BIO 2040L, BIO 2070, or BIO 2070L if previously tested out of or passed MTH 1000T.

Students may retest after a week, only once if the result is within 5 points of the passing designation (a mark of 29 or above).For more information on the Chemistry Placement Test, contact Department Chair William Montgomery at 301-934-7841 or by email at billm@csmd.edu.

To prepare for the test, please review the Test Preparation page.

 

Chemistry Placement Test (California Chemistry Test)

Similarly, students can opt to sit for the free, Chemistry Placement Test: California Chemistry Test, available at all of our Testing Centers, also on a walk-in basis. Students receiving a 20 or higher may register for CHE 1200 or CHE 1200L upon the successful completion of MTH 1115 or MTH 1120, waiving the CHE 1000 course requirement.

Students may re-test only once if their score is within 1 point of a passing grade after a week's wait. For more information on the Chemistry Placement Test, contact Department Chair William Montgomery at 301-934-7841 or by email at billm@csmd.edu.

To prepare for the test, please review the Test Preparation page.

Placement Test Preparation

http://www.csmd.edu/StudentSuccess/TestingCenter/PlacementTestPrep.html