Placement Testing for Entering Students

All entering freshmen, as well as transferring students, are required to demonstrate competence in basic skills of reading and mathematics. Foreign language placement testing is required for placement into some French, German or Spanish classes. 

Mathematics: Towson University requires all entering freshmen and most transfer students to take the online ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment to ensure the best chance of success in an appropriate mathematics course.  

Students with college level mathematics course credit (AP or transfer coursework) may be exempt from taking the mathematics placement test:

  • If a chosen major has no specific mathematics requirement and the AP/transferred college level mathematics coursework satisfies Core 3 of Towson University's Core Curriculum, the student is exempt from taking ALEKS.
  • If transferred coursework either satisfies the specific mathematics course required of the major, or it satisfies the prerequisite course for mathematics requirements, the student is exempt from ALEKS.
  • If AP credit is awarded for Calculus or transferred credit is equivalent to Towson’s College Algebra or Pre-Calculus (or higher), the student is exempt from ALEKS.
  • If none of the above applies, the student must take ALEKS.
  • Even if exempt from taking ALEKS, the student may choose to take the assessment for their own advisement and at no risk. Additionally, after taking ALEKS for the first time, the system generates a learning module tailored to the student’s needs, having identified gaps in the learner’s knowledge base during testing. The student is then welcome to work in the learning module and has a year to do so. 

For more information and access, go to the Mathematics Placement Test website.

Reading: The reading placement test is administered by Towson University's Tutoring & Learning Center for transfer students and incoming freshmen with low SAT and ACT scores. The reading placement test is part of a suite of testing products commonly referred to as ACCUPLACER® tests. These tests were developed by the College Board to help colleges and universities accurately assess student skill levels.

All admitted freshmen with an old SAT score less than 500 in critical reading, new SAT score less than 550 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, or an ACT Reading score less than 21 are REQUIRED to take the reading placement test. A reading placement test score below 251 in NEXT generation or 80 in Classic will require a student to enroll in and complete REED 102 . Unless exempt, all transfer students with fewer than 30 credits are required to take the reading placement test. 

Exemptions from the reading test are listed below:

  • Old SAT Critical Reading score of 500 or higher

  • New SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score of 550 or higher

  • ACT - Reading score of 21 or higher

  • Transferring 30 or more units (credits)

  • Non-native English speaker (ESL) with an iBT TOEFL score of 90 or higher

  • Transfer students with 10 or more units and less than 30 units (credits) who transfer a 100-level college English course equivalent (see below, information for transfer students) to ENGL 102 with a "C" or better

Updates and exemptions regarding the Reading Placement Test will be reflected on the students “To Do List.”

For additional information, please refer to the Reading Placement Testing website.

*The SAT and ACT scores must be officially submitted to Towson University’s Office of Admissions.

Foreign Languages:  Students wishing to enroll in Spanish classes at the 100 or 200 level as well as in 301 who do not already have college credit for the language must take the online placement test administered by the Foreign Languages Department. The link to the placement test can be found on the department website.