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TSI Assessment

Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

To use scores from any assessment other than the TSI, you must have a transcript from a regionally accredited college or university indicating complete coursework. This includes a grade of W. Effective Aug 26, 2013, students must take the Texas Success Initiatives Assessment (TSIA).

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) became effective Sept. 1, 2003. This initiative replaced the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) and is in effect for students who register and pay prior to August 26, 2013.

The Texas Success Initiative requires that incoming students, unless exempt, be assessed for college readiness in the areas of reading, mathematics, and writing. The assessment instrument used at San Jacinto College is the COMPASS. This initiative further requires that students who do not meet the passing standard of an area of the assessment are not allowed to enroll in college-level classes requiring skills in the unmet area until those college readiness skills are met. Students can meet the skills requirement by completing the sequence of college preparatory courses for that area or by passing a retest of the assessment instrument. Students should meet with an educational planner/counselor to develop their individual college preparatory education plan which will include: when college preparatory studies must begin, the sequence of required college preparatory courses, possible retesting, study skills, and other options for developing college readiness.

The placement chart, published in the catalog, indicates the various skills prerequisite levels, their corresponding score ranges on the placement tests and either the college preparatory courses in which students must enroll or the college-level English or mathematics courses in which they may enroll if they meet the skill level requirement. The placement chart also indicates the college preparatory course sequence for each skill area.

Exemptions from the Texas Success Initiative

Students are exempt from the provisions of the Success Initiative if they have met one of the following conditions:

  • Have graduated with an associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • Are serving on active duty as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, in the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a Reserves unit of the Armed Forces of the United States and have been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment; or have been honorably discharged, retired, or released on or after Aug. 1, 1990.
  • Have previously met TASP requirements or were exempt from the TASP
  • ACT composite score of 23 or higher with individual mathematics and English scores of no less than 19. Scores are valid for five years from the date of testing. Scores on a residual ACT are not acceptable for TSI exemption. A mathematics score of 21 or higher is required to qualify for enrollment in college algebra.
  • SAT composite score of 1070 or higher with verbal and mathematics scores of no less than 500. Scores are valid for five years from the date of testing. A mathematics score of 550 or higher is required to qualify for enrollment in college algebra.
  • Exit-level TAKS mathematics score of 2200 or higher and a language arts score of 2200 or higher with an essay score of 3 or higher. Scores are valid for three years from the date of testing.
  • Transfer from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and have satisfactorily (with a grade of D or higher) completed college-level coursework related to a skill area(s). Students who have not completed coursework related to all skill areas must be assessed in the unmet area(s) and must participate in college preparatory studies if the area(s) is not met on the test.
  • Have attended any regionally accredited institution of higher education and have been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution. This includes passing scores on an approved assessment instrument, a previous determination of college readiness (exemption) under the TASP or the completion (with grades of C or higher) of college preparatory studies at that institution.

Partial Exemption Based on SAT, ACT, TAKS

Students who do not meet all-area exemption standards on one of the above tests are considered to be exempt in the individual areas where the composite and area standard is met. Partial exemptions based on the SAT, ACT, or exit-level TAKS are as follows:

Reading & Writing Mathematics
ACT Composite 23+ and
ACT English 19+
ACT Composite 23+ and ACT Mathematics 19+
(21+ required for college algebra)
SAT Composite 1070+ and
Verbal (Critical Reading) 500+
SAT Composite 1070+ and Mathematics 500+
(550+ required for college algebra)
TAKS Language Arts 2200+
and Essay of 3+
TAKS Mathematics 2200+

Students who are partially exempt based on the ACT, SAT, or TAKS must test for TSI purposes in the areas where they are not exempt prior to enrolling for any courses.

Waived Certificate Programs

Students who enroll in a waived certificate program (certificate of technology, occupational certificate, or marketable skills achievement award) are not exempt from required assessment, but are waived from required college preparatory studies while enrolled in their waived program. However, they are restricted to enrollment in only those courses within the waived program and must meet course related skill level requirements.

TSI Requirements Deferred for Students Who are not Seeking a Degree or Certificate

Students who declare that they are not seeking a degree or certificate may defer both the required assessment (testing) and college preparatory education provisions of the TSI. However, they may accumulate no more than 15 term hours of college-level credit while they delay these provisions. Once students have earned 15 college-level credit hours, they must meet all TSI requirements. To delay assessment and college preparatory studies, students must meet with an educational planner/ counselor to declare that they are not seeking a degree or certificate and be assigned the appropriate status. Students with this status must meet all course skill prerequisites, thus assessment may be required. Students in this non-degree seeking status are not eligible for state or federal financial aid.

Skills Prerequisites

Many courses, including those in waived certificate programs, have minimum levels of skill in reading, writing and/or mathematics stipulated as prerequisites. These prerequisites constitute conditions of enrollment for all students coming under the provisions of the TSI and cannot be waived. They are stated in terms of numerical levels, which correspond with certain ranges of scores on the placement tests. To satisfy a course skills prerequisite, students must score within the range of scores corresponding to the indicated level.

Advising – College Preparatory Studies

Advising on college preparatory education and degree or certificate program options is always available to students at San Jacinto College. At certain times advising is required. Entering students who are not exempt, and who have not met TSI testing requirements, must see an educational planner/counselor or enrollment advisor to determine if they must take an assessment test and to obtain a Testing Referral Form.

Meeting the Requirements of the Texas Success Initiative

Students must have demonstrated college readiness (area by area) prior to being allowed to enroll in college-level courses with an area skill requirement. College readiness is demonstrated by prior college-level coursework with a grade of D or higher, passing an approved assessment instrument (test) or successful completion of college preparatory coursework with a grade of C or higher. Once a Success Initiative area is met, students are not required to further retest unless they are seeking entrance into a program of study that requires passing a test for TSI purposes.

Student Initiated Withdrawal from Required College Preparatory Studies

Students enrolled in college preparatory studies may, under certain exceptional circumstances and for one term only, withdraw from one required college preparatory course, but must meet with an educational planner/counselor to discuss their individual college preparatory education program. This conference should explore the consequences of withdrawing, such as delayed college readiness, restriction from college-level courses with required skill prerequisites, delayed entry into programs of study requiring certain skill levels, and other factors affecting the student’s educational objectives. If the educational planner/counselor approves the withdrawal, it will be sent to the Enrollment Services Office for processing. Students are required to continue with their college preparatory studies program at their next registration and will not be permitted to subsequently withdraw from required college preparatory studies.