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Placement Testing

Placement Testing

NOVA administers tests to assess an individual’s college readiness and placement in certain courses. Such tests are intended to assist students in selecting courses and designing an academic program in which they will most likely be successful. These tests are administered through the Testing Center at each campus. Students are encouraged to take placement tests in English and mathematics before enrolling in classes.

Prior to testing, students must have submitted an Application for Admission to the College.

Students with scores on any required placement test that are below the specified minimums must complete prescribed developmental studies or English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s). The course(s) required will be determined by the student’s scores. These requirements apply to all campuses and ELI, unless specifically waived by the responsible academic dean.

The following students must take an English placement test, unless they are enrolling in one of the courses listed under Placement Test Exemptions:

  • students who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.00 after the completion of 9 semester hours at NOVA;
  • students who are transferring to NOVA with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 (regardless of the number of hours completed);
  • students who plan to enroll in dual enrollment classes; and
  • students who entered NOVA in the Fall 2002 semester or later, regardless of the GPA, prior to registering for the 16th credit, unless they present a standardized test score that exempts them as outlined in the following section.

A math placement test is required to enroll in college-level math classes, unless the student meets exemptions as outlined in the following section.


Placement Test Exemptions

English Placement Test

English Placement MeasuresScore RangePlacement
SAT-ERW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) 480 or above ENG 111
460-470 range ENF3/ENG 111
ACT-Subject Area Tests English and Reading 18 or above ENG 111
15-17 range ENF3/ENG 111
GED-English 165 or above ENG 111

In addition, the following students may be eligible for credit for ENG 111 and may not need to take the placement test:

  • students who have a previous transfer-oriented associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution;
  • students with a satisfactory score on AP, IB, Cambridge Advanced Level, or CLEP exams.

Many courses require placement into ENG 111 as a prerequisite.

The following courses are exempt from the English placement test requirement:

Exemptions
SubjectClass Number
ADJ  100
ART 121, 122, 131, 132, 153, 154, 221, 222, 223, 231, 232, 235, 236, 237, 241, 242, 243, 244, 253, 254, 258, 271, 272, 277, 299
CIV 171, 172
MUS 101, 102, 131, 132, 136, 138, 141, 142, 145, 148, 149, 155, 159, 163, 164, 165, 175, 185, 198, 199, 231, 232, 236, 237, 238, 241, 242, 245, 248, 249, 255, 259, 265, 275, 285
PED all courses except 116 and 220
SDV 100, 101, 107, 109 (other SDV courses are not exempt)

Math Placement Test

Math Placement MeasuresScore RangePlacement
SAT-Math 530 or above MTE 1-9 Satisfied
510-520 range MTE 1-5 Satisfied
ACT-Subject Area Test Math 22 or above MTE 1-9 Satisfied
19-21 range MTE 1-5 Satisfied
GED-Math 165 or above MTE 1-5 Satisfied
155-165 range MTE 1-3 Satisfied

Duration of Test Score Validity and Test Retakes

ENGLISH: SAT, ACT and GED Test scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test. Virginia Placement Test-English scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test. Previously taken developmental courses will be valid for five (5) years after term taken.

Students who take the Virginia Placement Test - English and who do not enroll in developmental English are allowed to take one (1) retest within twelve (12) months. Students who attempt a developmental English course will be ineligible for a retest. Exceptions to this retest policy may be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with established college procedures.

MATH: SAT, ACT and GED Test scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test. Virginia Placement Test-Math scores are valid for five (5) years after the date of the test. Previously taken developmental courses will be valid for five (5) years after term taken.

Students who take the Virginia Placement Test - Math and who do not enroll in developmental math are allowed to take one (1) retest within twelve (12) months. Students who attempt a developmental mathematics course will be ineligible for a retest. Exceptions to this retest policy may be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with established college procedures.

English as a Second Language (ESL) scores are valid for 12 months; tests may be repeated after six months for students who score below Level 2, and after 12 months for those who score Level 2 or higher.


Dual Enrollment Students

In order to be admitted to dual enrollment classes, all students must demonstrate college readiness by meeting the following placement or scoring criteria:

Admission Criteria for Transfer Courses
Virginia Placement TestCOMPASSASSETPSATSATACTSOL
Reading ENG 111 81 42 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Writing/English ENG 111 76 43 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Writing/Reading ENG 111 N/A N/A 390 480 N/A N/A
Mathematics MTE 1 25 33 500 530 22 Algebra I - pass
Admission Criteria for Non-Transfer-Oriented Courses
Virginia Placement TestCOMPASSASSETPSATSATACTSOL
Reading ENF 1 62 35 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Writing/English ENF 1 32 35 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Writing/Reading ENF 1 N/A N/A 390 480 N/A N/A
Mathematics MTE 1 25 33 500 530 22 Algebra I - pass

Exemptions to all testing requirements are stated above.


Testing Centers

A government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, is required at the Testing Center to take the tests. Students will not be permitted to take backpacks, coats, or other personal effects into the Testing Center.

For information about testing or testing accommodations, contact a campus Testing Center or Student Services Center.

Extended Learning Institute students may use any of the NOVA campus Testing Centers. Some placement testing for ELI students may be arranged to be administered outside the Northern Virginia region. Contact ELI registration at elireg@nvcc.edu or call 703-323-3368 for more information.

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