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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 Exemptions

Students who have taken the SAT, ACT, GED, or TOEFL IBT within the last five years may be considered eligible for ENG 111; or, ENG 111 co-enrolled with ENF 3; without having to take the Virginia Placement Test for English.

  • Students with a minimum score of 480 on the English Evidence Based Reading/Writing SAT are eligible for ENG 111 (applies only to SATs taken after March 2016).
  • Students with a score between 460 and 479 on the English Evidence Based Reading/Writing SAT are eligible for ENG 111 co-enrolled with ENF 3 (applies only to SATs taken before March 2016).
  • Students with a minimum score of 500 on both the Critical Reading and Writing portions of the SAT taken before March 2016 are eligible for ENG 111.
  • Students with a minimum combined score of 18 on both the English and Reading ACT are eligible for ENG 111.
  • Students with a combined score between 15 and 17 on both the English and Reading ACT are eligible for ENG 111 co-enrolled with ENF 3.
  • Students with a GED English score of 165 or above are eligible for ENG 111.
  • Students with a score of 95 or higher on the TOEFL IBT are eligible for 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.

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 Exemptions

Students who have taken the SAT, ACT, or GED within the last five years may be considered eligible for certain Math courses without having to take the Virginia Placement Test for Math.

  • Students with a score between 510 and 529 on the SAT Math, or, a score between 19 and 21 on the ACT Math; are eligible for: MTH 115, MTH 126, MTH 150, MTH 151, MTH 152, and MTH 157.
  • Students with a score of 530 or above on the SAT Math, or, a score of 22 or above on the ACT Math; are eligible for: MTH 115, MTH 126, MTH 150, MTH 151, MTH 152, MTH 157, MTH 163, MTH 166, and MTH 181.
  • Students with a GED Math score between 155 and 164 are eligible for MTH 115 and MTH 126.
  • Students with a GED Math score of 165 or above are eligible for MTH 115, MTH 126, MTH 150, MTH 151, MTH 152, and MTH 157.

A placement test may still be required, dependent on the mathematics requirements in the student's academic plan.

Duration of Test Score Validity and Test Retakes

Virginia Placement Test for English scores are valid for five (5) years from the date of the test. Students who take the English placement test and who do not enroll in a developmental English course are allowed to take one retest within 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.

Accuplacer English as a Second Language (ESL) scores are valid for 12 months. Students may attempt the test a second time after six months only if the student originally placed in to Level 1. Students who place in to Level 2 or above on their first attempt must wait 12 months to attempt the test a second time.

Virginia Placement Test for Math scores are valid for five (5) years from the date of the test. Students who take the placement test and who do not enroll in a developmental or college level math course are allowed one (1) retest within the twelve (12) months following their original test date. Students who enroll in a developmental or college level math course after their first test attempt will be ineligible for a retest. Academic deans may grant exceptions to this policy on a case-by-case basis.


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
English/Writing ENG 111 76 43 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Reading ENG 111 81 42 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
English/Writing ENF 1 32 35 N/A N/A 18 N/A
Reading ENF 1 62 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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