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Assessment Testing

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​T​SI Assessment

After you are admitted, but before registering for your first course at North Lake, you must have a TSI (Texas Success Initiative) status which will be determined either by test scores or by meeting an exemption. 

What is TSI?

TSI (Texas Success Initiative) is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. The state requires all Texas public colleges and universities to assess the academic skills in reading, writing and math of each entering undergraduate student to determine the student's readiness to enroll in freshman-level academic coursework. All students that do not meet the exemption requirements are required by law to take the assessment test approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)​

Do I need to take the test?

Consult with either the Enrollment Services Representatives (ESR) in Admissions or an Academic Advisor to determine your need to take the assessment test or if you meet an exemption. Exemptions can be based on minimum scores for the ACT, SAT, TAKS, and STARR tests. The official score report for these tests will need to be submitted to determine the exemption. Exemptions can also be applied if you have earned a degree from a regionally accredited institution, if there is successful completion of college level English and Math classes, enrollment in certain certificate programs and/or military service. 

Assessment testing is used for determining the course or courses in which you can enroll. It is not used to determine admission except for students wishing to enroll in “special admissions” programs. Assessment is not required for students enrolling in Continuing Education (CE) courses. 

What do I need to do to take the TSI Assessment Test?

If you are required to take the TSI Assessment Test, you will need to 
  1. Prepare for the test in advance - There is a mandatory Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) which includes a video and practice test. This may take up to 30 minutes to complete. The PAA is accessible online through your eConnect account​. After reviewing this information, you may want to prepare more for the test. Links to more details about the test and a practice test are located on this page.
  2. Pick up your testing referral – After the PAA ends follow the steps to submit your completion. Once the system notes the completion of this activity, you will need to pick up a Testing Referral. These can be picked up in Admissions or from an Academic Advisor.
  3. Arrange your schedule to have adequate time for the testing session. First time testers who need all the parts, will need to take all parts on the same day. There is no time limit on the test; however, if a student needs to take the entire sequence of tests, it is anticipated that it could take up to 5 hours. 

How is the test set up?

The assessment has multiple choice questions with an essay for the writing component. It is computer adaptive, which means that all the questions are on a computer and they increase or decrease in difficulty level depending on how you respond.
  • The assessment content in Math includes Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Geometry & Measurement, and Data Analysis Statistics and Probability.
  • The assessment content in Reading includes literary analysis, main idea & supporting details, inferences in a text or texts, and author’s use of language.
  • The assessment content in Writing includes essay revision, agreement, sentence structure, and sentence logic. The essay will ask you to write a five-paragraph persuasive essay (approximately 350-500 words) on a controversial issue or one of current interest.
More specific information about the topics included on the test and practice test questions can be found at www.collegeboard.org/texas-sample-questions.

How is my test scored?

After you test, you will receive an individual score report that will indicate your score in mathematics, reading and writing. If you meet the College-Readiness Cut-Scores (posted below) you will be eligible to enroll in entry-level college courses. Learn more about interpreting your scores​.

College Readiness Cut Scores

Reading 351-390
Writing Essay of 5 or 363-390 with essay score of 4
Mathematics 350-390

If the score is lower than the college-readiness cut-scores, you will need to visit with an Academic Advisor to develop an educational plan that will be designed to prepare you for your academic goals. Those students not meeting the college-ready level will be given a diagnostic score report which should be shared with your advisor and instructors.  After testing, you will need to visit with an Academic Advisor to develop an educational plan that will be designed to prepare you for your academic goals.​
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