Placement Policy

Through the Fall 2014 semester, Northampton Community College will continue to determine student placement in English and Mathematics based on the current Placement Testing Policy, listed below in 'Section A –Placement Testing Policy through Fall 2014.' Beginning in the Spring semester, the College will expand placement options, as outlined below in 'Section B – Placement Policy effective Spring 2015.'

Section A –Placement Testing Policy through Fall 2014

Placement Testing Policy (though Fall 2014)

The 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

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

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 Success (COLS 101):

  • All new students who have never attended college are required to enroll in COLS101-College Success. This course must be taken in the first semester of enrollment. Students who are required to, or have taken, COLS150-Skills for Academic Success, are exempt from taking COLS101. Transfer students are exempt.

Skills 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.

MATHEMATICS

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.

Section B – Placement Policy effective Spring 2015

Placement Policy (effective Spring 2015)

The college uses multiple measures to determine student placement in English and Mathematics classes. Student placement will be determined by:

  1. High School GPA and/or specific course grades in English or Mathematics (completed within 5 years prior to enrolling in first semester at NCC)
  2. Performance on testing including PSSA (11th grade), ACT or SAT (PSSA scores are only valid for 5 years)
  3. Previous college degrees or courses in English or Mathematics
  4. Advanced Placement test scores
  5. NCC Mathematics or English Placement test results

If students do not submit evidence from which the college can determine placement, students will be directed to take college placement tests.

Based upon review of transcripts or other evidence, students may be placed into developmental pre-college courses. Students wishing to challenge such decisions may take college placement tests to earn scores for higher-level course placement. Students who place into developmental pre-college courses can retest once before starting those courses. Students may not take the test while enrolled in a developmental pre-college course.

If students need developmental pre-college work, they must begin that work in their first semester and continue until the requirements are complete. 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 pre-college course work does not count towards graduation requirements.

Degree-seeking students must have placement determined before registering for courses.

Students pursuing a Specialized Diploma or Certificate should seek guidance from an advisor regarding placement.

Guest/Visiting/non matriculated students are exempt from placement; however, must still meet individual course prerequisites.

Based on evidence of course work and/or testing, students may be referred to the ESL department for additional 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

English I (ENGL101):

  • Must be a graduate from an accredited high school (within 5 years prior to enrolling in first semester at NCC) with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent) in a college preparatory curriculum
  • Score of 500 or higher on both the SAT Writing and Critical Reading exams (2005 and beyond)
  • Combined Reading and Writing 11th grade PSSA score of at least 2650; with neither Reading nor Writing score below 1200. (PSSA scores are only valid for 5 years)
  • Evidence of a score of 21 or higher on the ACT English Exam
  • Completion of required developmental courses
  • Competence as determined by the English placement test

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

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.

Mathematics
Foundations of Mathematics I (MATH118), Foundations of Mathematics II (MATH119), The Nature of Mathematics (MATH120), College Algebra (MATH140), Introductory Statistics (MATH150):

  • Must be a graduate from an accredited high school (within 5 years prior to enrolling in first semester at NCC) with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent) in a college preparatory curriculum and having completed Algebra I and Algebra II with a grade of C or better in both
  • Score of 500 or higher on the SAT mathematics exam
  • 11th grade PSSA math score of 1300 or higher (PSSA scores are only valid for 5 years)
  • Competence as determined by the mathematics placement test
  • Completion of required developmental courses with a C or better

Elementary Algebra (MATH 022), Intermediate Algebra (MATH 026), Elementary and Intermediate Algebra Combined (MATH 028):

  • Competence as determined by the mathematics placement test
  • Completion of required developmental courses with a C or better
  • Review of high school mathematics course work

Prealgebra (MATH 020), Applications in Math (MATH103):

  • Open enrollment; no placement or pre-requisites needed

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

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