Placement Testing and Developmental Course Work

Penn College evaluates students’ skills to ensure each student has the entry-level skills necessary to be successful in his/her college-level course work. The goal of the placement process is to identify the correct initial placement in math, English, and reading. An applicant may satisfy the placement requirements through transfer courses or established minimum SAT/ACT scores.

Placement testing with accommodations is available for students with disabilities.

When placement test results indicate that a student is significantly underprepared for college-level course work, acceptance may be rescinded until the necessary academic deficiencies are remediated. Some majors are subject to specific remediation requirements and are noted in the Curriculum pages.

Minimums Required for Bachelor-degree Majors

An applicant whose placement tests identify a need for developmental reading course RDG 001 or developmental math course MTH 004 may not enroll in a bachelor-degree major. Alternative enrollment options may allow the student to enroll in a related associate-degree major until the deficiency is remediated.

Developmental Education Courses

Since developmental courses provide the foundation for subsequent courses, including those in the student’s major, it is particularly important for both full- and part-time students to successfully complete those courses during their first semester.

  • When placement testing indicates deficiencies in one or two discipline areas (English, math, and/or reading), the needed developmental courses are to be scheduled in the student's first semester, unless the school dean approves a delay.
  • If multiple developmental courses are required within the same discipline, they must be scheduled in consecutive semesters until all are complete, unless the school dean approves a delay.
  • Students enrolled in developmental courses do not have the option of dropping/withdrawing from these courses.

The College awards institutional credit for developmental courses (courses numbered 001-009). The developmental reading course RDG 111 (College Reading, Reasoning, and Study Skills) may be used as an open or general elective. No other developmental course with institutional credit may satisfy a course requirement or elective. However, the grades earned in all developmental courses will be included in the student's grade-point average and contribute to "satisfactory academic progress" for financial aid purposes.

Additional protocol relating to developmental course work is stipulated in the College's Developmental Studies Policy and Procedure 4.30. Current students can access these, as well as all official policies and procedures, on the myPCT Portal (login required).

Triple Deficiency Options

An applicant whose placement results indicate deficiencies in all three areas: English, mathematics (except MTH006), and reading (triple deficient) will not be permitted to enroll in his/her major until at least one of the three subject areas has been remediated in one of the following ways:

  • Enrollment in the College's Conditional Acceptance Program, intended to improve the student's academic skills and readiness for college-level studies. Prior to enrollment in the College, the student will enroll in one or two developmental courses and will complete a Penn College study-skills workshop series. After successfully completing this program, the student may enroll in a Penn College major. Students who do not satisfactorily complete the Conditional Acceptance Program will have their acceptance to the College rescinded.
  • Alternative plans, which may include enrolling in, and completing, remedial programs or successfully completing courses at another institution (must satisfy developmental requirements) in addition to the Penn College study-skills workshop series.
  • Working with a tutor and retesting without deficiencies.

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