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The Texas Success Initiative

(Texas Placement Assessment) 

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) was instituted by the Texas Legislature and is a program of diagnostic testing and developmental instruction designed to improve student success rates in Texas colleges. Entering college students are required to meet established minimum standards on assessment tests in math, reading, and writing. Those students who do not meet these standards are required to enroll in appropriate developmental courses designed to improve their academic skills and prepare them for college-level courses.

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment is a program designed to assess students’ readiness for college-level work in reading, writing, and mathematics and to provide information used to identify appropriate interventions that will improve the skills of student who are not prepared for college-level course work. These assessments include multiple-choice questions that are aligned to the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards. The assessments are computer adaptive, which means that questions increase or decrease in difficulty level depending on how you respond. The assessments are untimed; however, it is important to allow yourself enough time to complete each test because the results are a key factor in determining the course or courses in which you can enroll. If you are not satisfied with your performance, you may retake the TSI Assessment at any time. However, before you attempt to retest, it is strongly recommended that you set aside time for additional study.

The TSI Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) is provided by Querium.
If you are a student with interests in attending a Texas college or university and have been advised to take the TSI; you must first complete the free PAA to meet the minimum requirements of Rule 4.55.b of the Texas Administrative Code.

Please click here for your free TSI Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA)

Querium's PAA currently works on most of the current versions of the following web browsers: Firefox, Chrome, and Safari as well as Internet Explorer 9 and 10. We are working on optimizing the experience on Android.

Incoming Texas college students are required to take the TSI Assessment (unless they are exempt; see below) — to determine their readiness for college-level work. Based on how a student performs, he/she may be enrolled in a college-level course that matches his/her skill level or be placed in an appropriate developmental course or intervention to improve his/her skills in areas of identified weakness.

Shown below are the state-wide cut scores approved by the Texas Coordinating Board. These standards are subject to revision based on review of data.

                                                       THE NEW TSI ASSESSMENT 08/26/2013




English/Writing Skills



Course Recommendations





ENG 130


ENG 131 w/ WRIT 101


363+ (WS:4+)

ENG 131



Reading Skills



Course Recommendations





READ 130



College Level w/ READ 101



College Level



Mathematics Skills



Course Recommendations





MATH 130



MATH 131



MATH 133 w/  MATH 101



MATH 133




Not all incoming students need to take the TSI Assessment. Students with a TSI Assessment exemption can enroll in any entry-level college course without restrictions. Students may be exempt if they:

• have met the minimum college readiness standard on SAT, ACT, or a statewide high school test;

• have successfully completed college-level English and math courses;

• have enrolled in a Level-One certificate program (fewer than 43 semester credit hours);

• are not seeking a degree; and

• have been, or currently are, in the military.


RULE 4.54


(a) The following students shall be exempt from the requirements of this title, whereby exempt students shall not be required to provide any additional demonstration of college readiness and shall be allowed to enroll in any entry-level freshman course as defined in §4.53(12) of this title (relating to Definitions): 

 (1) For a period of five (5) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs at or above the following standards that cannot be raised by institutions:    

(A) ACT: composite score of 23 with a minimum of 19 on the English test shall be exempt for both the reading and writing sections of the TSI Assessment, and/or 19 on the mathematics test shall be exempt for the mathematics section of the TSI Assessment;    

(B) SAT: a combined critical reading (formerly "verbal") and mathematics score of 1070 with a minimum of 500 on the critical reading test shall be exempt for both reading and writing sections of the TSI Assessment, and/or 500 on the mathematics test shall be exempt for the mathematics section of the TSI Assessment; or  

(2) For a period of three (3) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) with a minimum scale score of 1770 on the writing test, a Texas Learning Index (TLI) of 86 on the mathematics test and 89 on the reading test.  

(3) For a period of five (5) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs at or above the following standards that cannot be raised by institutions:    

(A) on the Eleventh grade exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) with a minimum scale score of 2200 on the math section and/or a minimum scale score of 2200 on the English Language Arts section with a writing subsection score of at least 3, shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment required under this title for those corresponding sections; or    

(B) STAAR end-of-course (EOC) with a minimum score of Level 2 on the English III shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment required under this title for both reading and writing, and a minimum score of Level 2 on the Algebra II EOC shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment required under this title for the mathematics section.  

(4) A student who has graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education.  

(5) A student who transfers to an institution from a private or independent institution of higher education or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education and who has satisfactorily completed college-level coursework as determined by the receiving institution.  

(6) A student who has previously attended any institution and has been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution. For students meeting non-Algebra intensive readiness standards in mathematics as defined in §4.59(d)(1)(B) of this title (relating to Determination of Readiness to Perform Entry-Level Freshman Coursework), institutions may choose to require additional preparatory coursework/interventions for Algebra intensive courses, including MATH 1314/1324/1414 (or their local equivalent). It is the institution's responsibility to ensure that students are clearly informed of the consequences of successful completion of a mathematics pathways model which results in meeting the mathematics college readiness standard only for specific courses.  

(7) A student who is enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less (Level-One certificates, 42 or fewer semester credit hours or the equivalent) at a public junior college, a public technical institute, or a public state college.  

(8) A student who is serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States and has been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment.  

(9) A student who on or after August 1, 1990, was honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States.  

(10) A student who successfully completes a college preparatory course under Texas Education Code §28.014 is exempt for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of high school graduation with respect to the content area of the course. This exemption applies only at the institution of higher education that partners with the school district in which the student is enrolled to provide the course. Additionally, an institution of higher education may enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with a partnering institution of higher education to accept the exemption for the college preparatory course.

(b) An institution may exempt a non-degree-seeking or non-certificate-seeking student.

(c) ESOL Waiver--An institution may grant a temporary waiver from the assessment required under this title for students with demonstrated limited English proficiency in order to provide appropriate ESOL/ESL coursework and interventions. The waiver must be removed after the student attempts 15 credit hours of developmental ESOL coursework or prior to enrolling in entry-level freshman coursework, whichever comes first, at which time the student would be administered the TSI Assessment. Funding limits as defined in Texas Education Code, §51.3062(l)(1) and (2) for developmental education still apply.

(d) Any student who has been determined to be exempt in mathematics, reading, and/or writing under subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall not be required to enroll in developmental coursework and/or interventions in the corresponding area of exemption.

Transfer Students

Students who are transferring to TSU from a private or out-of-state, regionally accredited, college or university may meet sections of the Texas Success Initiative based on a grade of C or better in courses that are equivalent to the following courses at Texas Southern University.

  ENGL 131/132- Freshman English I & II

  ENGL Literature 230, 231, 235 & 244 (World, American and African American)
  HIST 231,232 - United States History
  POLS 231,232 - American Government
  PSY 131- General Psychology
 (ENGL 131/132- Freshman English I & II) can be used to satisfy the reading portion of TSI.

  MATH 133- College Algebra
  MATH 134- Trigonometry
  MATH 135- Mathematics for Business and Economic Analysis
  MATH 136- Pre-Calculus
  MATH 231- Elementary Statistics

 (Or courses for which these are prerequisites)

*Some international courses may not meet these requirements.  The Transfer Center will inform students of their transfer credits once transcripts have been evaluated.

Student’s who believe they meet one of the exemptions, should be sure that the appropriate test scores/transcripts are submitted to the TSI Coordinator as soon as possible.

Students previously considered TASP or TSI exempt/complete from another Texas state institution will not have to meet TSI requirements; however, all course prerequisites must be met. (Official documents must be presented at the time of exemption)

Developmental Sequence

   When a student fails a portion of a placement test, the university prescribes an appropriate program of developmental activities which consists of:

  • Completion of Developmental Course work English 130, Reading 130, Math 130/131, and/or a college level course with a Non-Course Based Lab (READ, MATH and WRIT 101); or
  • Retaking and passing the appropriate section(s) of a placement test.

Developmental enrollment in the deficient area(s) is required each semester and summer term.  If a student has failed more than one section, it is recommended that developmental courses be taken in all respective areas; however, enrollment in at least one is required.

Once the student has passed the highest required developmental course(s) with a grade of C or better, they will have completed the requirements for the Texas Success Initiative.

In special circumstances approved by the University, students may take a "C" or better course concurrently with a developmental education course. If the student earns a "C" or better in the approved course, he/she will not have to retake that portion of the placement exam.

*For example, a student that displays a deficiency in mathematics can be enrolled in a developmental math class and freshman English concurrently with a writing 101 non-course based lab.*

A student may retake an assessment instrument at any time, subject to availability, to determine the student's readiness to perform freshman-level academic course work.


Dr. Sannie Regan                                                                                 Stephanie Neveu

Assistant Director                                                                                 TSI Coordinator

                                                                                    Student Success Services                                                                      neveusr@tsu.edu

                                                                                    reagan_sm@tsu.edu                                                                              713-313-6886



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