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Placement Testing Policy and Procedures

(Revised April 13, 2016) 

Placement testing at Northeastern Illinois University is conducted using Accuplacer, a computerized placement test. The test is given by appointment only and is not timed. It is used to make sure that you register into the highest level Writing, Reading and/or Mathematics course that you are qualified to take, based on your current skill level. If you are a new student who has not taken college level coursework in mathematics or English you will be required to complete one or more subject area placement tests. Students taking the full assessment (Math, Reading and Writing) should allow 2.5 hours for testing. Please arrive with a photo ID at your scheduled appointment time. Please call 773.442.5293 or email to make an appointment. Students arriving more than 10 minutes after their appointment may be forced to reschedule, please arrive on time. 

An online Study Guide from Accuplacer is available as well as a free interactive app. We encourage students to practice prior to taking or retaking the placement test. 

The Placement Test consists of 

A mathematics test (Math) 
A sentence skills test (Writing) 
A reading skills test (Reading) 
A 300-600 word essay (Writing) 

Testing Room Rules

No cell phones 
No coats 
No hats (unless for religious or cultural purposes) 
No outside calculators 
No additional testing aides 
No children allowed 
No talking

The placement testing policy requires entering and some re-entering students to take the following examinations except where stated exemption conditions have been met. ACT score validity (age of scores and requirements for submission) is defined by University guidelines.

Math Placement Test

All entering freshmen are given two options for placement into a math course: ACT Math score or the Math Placement Test (MPT). Freshmen who submit ACT scores to the university can be placed directly into a math course solely based on their ACT math score. They also have the option of taking the Math Placement Test (MPT), in which case the university will use the higher of the two scores for placement into a math course. Since there is no penalty to taking the MPT, freshmen are strongly encouraged to do so, particularly if they took a math course in their senior year of high school. 

All newly admitted and readmitted students who do not submit their ACT Math scores are required to take the Mathematics Placement Test with the exception of the following: 

1. Transfer students who have earned a grade of “C” or better in a course equivalent to Intermediate Algebra; 
2. Transfer and readmitted students who have met the Math/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement; or 
3. Students with a score of three or higher on the Advance Placement (AP) Calculus Test.

Writing Placement Test

No entering student may register for an English or English Language Program course before taking the Writing Placement Test. Transfer students who do not transfer a course equivalent to ENGL-101 must take the English Placement Test. Students who transfer a course equivalent to ENGL-101 with a grade below “C” also must take the English Placement Test. 

Reading Placement Test

No entering student may register for a Reading course before taking the Reading Placement Test. Students who submit their valid ACT Reading scores will be exempt from taking the Reading Placement Test and from taking READ 115 or READ 116 if they have a score of 20 or greater. 


Reasonable accommodations will be provided with advance notice for persons with documented disabilities. No variation of the assessment can be made without prior approval. See Disability Services (773-442-4595 or for more information on testing accommodations.

Retake Policy

A student may elect to retest for one or more course placements by retaking the placement exam(s) for the subject areas (Math, Reading or Writing) they choose. It is highly recommended that all students complete the Accuplacer Study Guide, which is available online , before retaking an exam. Retests are given only under the following conditions. 

1. Students can only retest in each subject area one time. 
2. Any retest must be completed before coursework is begun in that subject area. The only two exceptions to this condition are the following: (a) a student may retest in Math or Writing if they successfully complete Math or Writing coursework in the NEIU Summer Transition Program or the NEIU Summer Bridge Program and (b) a student may retest in Math (but not Writing) if they earn a grade of A in their first Math Development course. 
3. There is a $10.00 charge for retaking each subject area’s test(s). Please contact Testing Services for how to obtain a Retake eligibility approval form and payment options. 
4. The higher of the original and retake scores will be honored and placement will be final. 
5. Any further appeal must be made in writing to the Coordinator of Math Development (for math placement) or the Coordinator of the English Language Program (for Reading and Writing placement) and must be made at least one week before classes start for the semester.

For more information on retesting or accessing the Accuplacer Study Guide, please contact Testing Services at or (773) 442-5293.

Course Placement Policies Based on Accuplacer Scores

The following cutoff scores will be used in making Mathematics, Writing and Reading course placement decisions.


All NEIU students who are required to meet the Math Quantitative Reasoning requirement must take the Math Placement Test unless they have a Math ACT score of 25 or higher.  Students with a Math ACT score of 25-27 place into College Level II which fulfills the general math requirement, students who are interested in placing in Calculus I will need to take the Math Placement Test. Students with a score of 28 or higher are exempt from the test because their score results in the highest placement.  Course placement determined by higher of the two: Placement Test Score and ACT score.

Accuplacer Score
Math ACT Score
Course Placement
Elementary Algebra 20-40 0-16 Math 090
Elementary Algebra 41-59 17-18 Math 091
Elementary Algebra 60-84 19-21 Math 092
College Level Math* 0-30 22-24 College Level I
College Level Math 31-60 25-27 College Level II
College Level Math 61-120 28+ Math 187

* Students who score an 85 or higher on Elementary Algebra are given the College Level Math test.


All new NEIU students needing to fulfill the English 101 requirement are required to take the Writing portion of the placement test  (Sentence Skills & WritePlacer). 

WritePlacer Score
Sentence Skills Score
Course Placement
0-2 Any ELP 095
ESL 108 may also be required
based on a program interview
3 Any ELP 096
4 Less than 95 ELP 097
4 95 or higher ENG 101
5-8 Any ENG 101


Students may be exempt from the Reading portion of the placement test with a Reading ACT score of 20 or higher.

Reading Comprehension Score Reading ACT Score  Course Placement
20-50   READ 096
51-79   READ 097
80-120 20+ No course needed


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