La Plata Campus
Kelly B. Hart
Prince Frederick Campus
Laura M. Robins
The purpose of the English, reading, and mathematics placement tests 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 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.
ACCUPLACER is an Internet based computerized 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 four content areas on this test:† identifying main ideas, direct statements/secondary ideas, inferences, and applications.
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 three content areas measured on this test:†† recognizing complete sentences, coordination/subordination, and clear sentence logic.†
Mathematics Placement Test:† The math test is a multiple choice test that evaluates a studentsí ability level.† There are three skill areas within the mathematics test.† Arithmetic measures a studentsí ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. The Elementary Algebra test measures a studentsí ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts.† The College Level Math test measures a studentsí ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematics concepts.† The test begins with Elementary Algebra.† Because of 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 online.
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.
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 Verbal or 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.†
Placement of 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.
Students applying for one of the special admissions programs may not retake the placement tests to gain entrance into one of these programs; however, these students are encouraged to contact one of the Student Success Coordinators (one at each campus) to request remediation in the placement test prep program which is available online and free to College of Southern Maryland applicants.
A student who completes an ACCUPLACER placement test may re-test under the following conditions:
1. All students must wait 48 hours before attempting a re-test.
2. If the student remediates in the placement test prep program to improve skill areas prior to re-testing, there is no re-test fee.
3. A student who does not wish to remediate prior to re-testing must pay a $25 re-test fee for the first re-test.
4. A second attempt to re-test requires remediation and another 48 hour waiting period. After this attempt, a student must meet with an academic advisor before any additional re-tests will be approved.
You can download a copy of the Test Proctor Fee form here.