Texas Success Initiative

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) 

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) is part of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) program designed to help students determine readiness for college-level course work in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. First time college students in Texas are required to take the TSIA to determine readiness, unless already exempted (see exemption section). Based on TSIA scoring, students may enroll in a college-level course and/or be placed in the appropriate college preparatory course or intervention to improve readiness skills and preparation for success in college-level courses.

Students can meet the skills requirement by completing the college preparatory course sequences for that area or by successfully  retesting on the TSIA. Students should meet with an educational planner/counselor to develop their individual college preparatory education plan, which will include: when college preparatory studies must begin, the sequence of required college preparatory courses, possible retesting, study skills, and other options for developing college readiness.

The TSI placement chart, published in this catalog, indicates the various skills prerequisite levels, their corresponding score ranges on the placement tests, and either the college preparatory courses in which students must enroll or the college-level English or mathematics courses in which they may enroll if they meet the skill level requirement. The placement chart also indicates the college preparatory course sequence for each skill area.

On January 11, 2021, the TSIA 2.0 will replace the current TSIA and apply to all students testing on or after January 11, 2021. This assessment will include mathematics and integrated reading/writing areas to determine college readiness.

Exemptions from the Texas Success Initiative

Students are exempt from the provisions of TSI if they have met one of the following conditions:

  • Enrolling in a Level 1 technical certificate or occupational certificate program.
  • Have graduated with an associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  • Are serving on active duty as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, in the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a Reserves unit of the Armed Forces of the United States and have been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment, or have been honorably discharged, retired, or released on or after August 1, 1990.
  • SAT Testing prior to March 5, 2016 -- Students who took the SAT test prior to March 5, 2016, may use the following scores: Combined critical reading (formerly verbal) and mathematics score of 1,070 with a minimum of 500 on the critical reading test shall be exempt for both reading and writing sections of the TSIA, and/or 500 on the mathematics tests shall be exempt for the mathematics section of the TSIA. Scores are valid for five years from the date of testing.
  • SAT minimum score of 480 on the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) test shall be exempt for both reading and writing sections of the TSIA; a minimum score of 530 on the mathematics test shall be exempt for the mathematics section of the TSIA. The College does not recognize a combined score. Scores are valid for five years from the date of testing.
  • ACT composite score of 23 or higher with individual mathematics and English scores of no less than 19.  Scores are valid for five years from the date of testing. Scores on a residual ACT are not acceptable for TSI exemption. 
  • Transfer from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or an institution that has been approved by committee review and have satisfactorily (with a grade of D or higher) completed college-level course work related to a skill area(s). Students who have not completed course work related to all skill areas must be assessed in the unmet area(s) and must participate in college preparatory studies if the area(s) is not met on the test.
  • Have attended any regionally accredited institution of higher education or an institution that has been approved by committee review and have been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution. This includes passing scores on an approved assessment instrument, a previous determination of college readiness (exemption) under the TASP or the completion with grades of C or higher of college preparatory studies at that institution.

Note: Degrees from non-English speaking foreign institutions and non-regionally accredited institutions do not qualify a student for an exemption of the TSI.

Partial Exemption Based on SAT, ACT, STAAR

Students who do not meet all-area exemption standards on one of the above tests are considered to be exempt in the individual areas where the composite and area standard is met. Partial exemptions based on the SAT, ACT,  or the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams are as follows:

Reading and Writing Mathematics
ACT Composite 23+ and ACT English 19+ ACT Composite 23+ and ACT Mathematics 19+
SAT taken before March 2016 Composite 1,070+ and Verbal (Critical Reading) 500+ SAT taken before March 2016 Composite 1,070+ and Mathematics 500+
SAT taken after March 2016 Reading and Writing 480+ SAT taken after March 2016 Mathematics 530+
STAAR EOC English III 4,000+ STAAR Algebra II, 4,000

Students who are partially exempt based on the ACT, SAT, or STAAR exams must test for TSI purposes in the areas for which they are not exempt prior to enrolling for any courses.

Waived Certificate Programs

Students who enroll in a waived certificate program (level I certificates of technology or occupational certificates) are not exempt from required assessment, but are waived from required college preparatory studies while enrolled in their waived program. However, they are restricted to enrollment in only those courses within the waived program and must meet course-related skill-level requirements.

TSI Requirements Deferred for Students Who Are Not Seeking a Degree or Certificate

Students who declare that they are not seeking a degree or certificate may defer both the required assessment (testing) and college preparatory education provisions of the TSI. However, they may accumulate no more than 15 term hours of college-level credit while they delay meeting these provisions. Once students have earned 15 college-level credit hours, they must meet all TSI requirements. To delay assessment and college preparatory studies, students must meet with an educational planner/counselor to declare that they are not seeking a degree or certificate and be assigned the appropriate status. Students with this status must meet all course-related skill-level prerequisites; thus, assessment may be required. Students in this non-degree seeking status are not eligible for state or federal financial aid.

College Preparatory Courses

Students Who Enrolled in College Prior to Fall 2010

The college preparatory program provides a path for students who are not college-ready. This is based on an exam called the TSIA to determine college-readiness. It is the College’s policy that students who are not college-ready in an area(s) (reading, writing, math) must begin college preparatory courses at their first enrollment and must continue enrolling in at least one college preparatory class each semester until they are college-ready in all areas.

Students Enrolling in College for the First time Fall 2010 through Summer 2012

Students must abide by the following rules when enrolling in college preparatory courses:

  1. A student who is not college-ready in reading must first enroll in the required college preparatory reading course. If the student enrolls in a second course, it must be GUST 0305 College Student Success. The student can then enroll in other courses for which he or she has met the required skills/course prerequisites.
  2. A student who is college-ready in reading, but is not college-ready in either writing or mathematics or both must first enroll in the required college preparatory course in either area. If the student enrolls in a second course, it must be GUST 0305 College Student Success. The student can then enroll in other courses for which he or she has met the required skills/course prerequisites.
  3. Students must begin college preparatory courses at their first enrollment and must continue enrolling in at least one college preparatory class each semester until they are college-ready in all areas.

Students Enrolling in College for the First Time Fall 2012 or Thereafter

  1. A student who is not college-ready in reading or writing must first enroll in the required college preparatory integrated reading and writing (INRW) course. If a student enrolls in a second course, it must be GUST 0305 College Student Success, College Student Success. The student may then enroll in other courses for which he or she has met the required skills/course prerequisites.
  2. A student who is not college-ready in reading or writing, and not college-ready in math must enroll in the required college preparatory requirements in reading and writing first, then GUST 0305 College Student Success and then enroll in math requirements. The student may then enroll in other courses for which he or she has met the required skills/course prerequisites.
  3. A student who is college-ready in both reading and writing, but not college-ready in math, must enroll in the required college preparatory math course. The student must enroll in either GUST 0305 College Student Success, EDUC 1100 Learning Framework, or PSYC 1100 Learning Framework before registering for his or her 10th college credit.
  4. Students must begin college preparatory courses at their first enrollment and must continue enrolling in at least one college preparatory class each semester until they are college-ready in all areas.
  5. A student who transfers up to 11 hours of college-level credit to San Jacinto College will be required to enroll in GUST 0305 College Student Success, EDUC 1100 Learning Framework, or PSYC 1100 Learning Framework. Students with 12 or more hours of college-level credits are not required to enroll in a student success course.
  6. Students required to take the EDUC 1100 Learning Framework or PSYC 1100 Learning Framework course must enroll in the course before enrolling in their 10th college-level credit hour.
  7. Students who do not successfully complete a Student Success course will be required to re-enroll in the course the following semester.

Advising – College Preparatory Studies

Advising on college preparatory education and degree or certificate program options is always available to students at San Jacinto College. At certain times, advising is required. Entering students who are not exempt and who have not met TSI requirements must see an educational planner/counselor or admissions advisor to determine if they must take an assessment test and to obtain a Testing Referral Form.

Skills Prerequisites

Many courses have minimum levels of skill in reading, writing, and/or mathematics stipulated as prerequisites. These prerequisites constitute conditions of enrollment for all students coming under the provisions of the TSI and cannot be waived. They are stated in terms of numerical levels that correspond with certain ranges of scores on the placement tests. To satisfy a course skills prerequisite, students must score within the range of scores corresponding to the indicated level.

Student-initiated Withdrawal from Required College Preparatory Studies

Students enrolled in college preparatory studies may, under certain exceptional circumstances and for one term only, withdraw from one required college preparatory course but must meet with an educational planner/counselor to discuss their individual college preparatory education program. This conference should explore the consequences of withdrawing, such as delayed college readiness, restriction from college-level courses with required skill prerequisites, delayed entry into programs of study requiring certain skill levels, and other factors affecting the student’s educational objectives. Students are required to continue with their college preparatory studies program at their next registration and will not be permitted to subsequently withdraw from required college preparatory studies.

Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA)

The TSIA Mathematics and Statistics Test is a multiple choice assessment that covers the key College and Career Readiness Standards, which include Elementary Algebra and Functions, Intermediate Algebra and Functions, Geometry and Measurement and Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability. The placement test contains approximately 20 items, and the diagnostic test contains ten items per category.

The TSIA Writing Test is a multiple-choice assessment that covers the key College and Career Readiness Standards, which include essay revision, agreement, sentence structure and sentence logic. The placement test contains approximately 20 items and the diagnostic test contains 10-12 items per category. The TSIA Reading Test is a multiple-choice assessment that covers the key College and Career Readiness Standards, which include literary analysis, main idea and supporting details, inferences in a text or texts, and author’s use of language. The placement test contains approximately 24 items, the diagnostic test contains and 10-12 items per category.

The Texas College and Career Readiness Writing standards ask students to write essays that “demonstrate clear focus, the logical development of ideas in well-organized paragraphs and the use of appropriate language that advances the author’s purposes.” WritePlacer automatically evaluates students’ essays written to one of several prompts. WritePlacer essays are electronically scored by the Intelligent Essay Assessor (IEA) that is powered by the Knowledge Technologies (KT) engine. Feedback is provided on the following dimensions: purpose and focus, organization and structure, development and support, sentence variety and style, mechanical conventions, and critical thinking.

Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) Placement Chart

Beginning August 26, 2013, all degree-seeking students, unless otherwise exempt, must have taken the TSIA before enrolling for classes. The scores on the TSIA will determine skill-level assignments. The skill levels will determine the college preparatory courses that must be completed with a grade of C or better to progress to the next level or to become college-ready.

ELAR (English Language Arts and Reading)

TSIA 2 Scores NRS Scores Essay Scores SJCD Skill Level Appropriate Course Placement
Less than 945 2 Skill level 2 Intentional Connections; INRW 0205/INRW 0301; GUST 0305
Less than 945 3 or 4 Skill level 4 Corequisite INRW 0302/ENGL 1301
Less than 945 5 or 6 Skill level 6 Corequisite INRW 0112/ENGL 1301
Less than 945 5 or 6 Greater than or equal to 5 Skill level 7 College Level ENGL 1301
Greater than or equal to 945 Greater than or equal to 5 Skill Level 7 College Level ENGL 1301

Mathematics: Non-algebraic Path

TSIA 2 Scores NRS Scores Essay Scores SJCD Skill Level Appropriate Course Placement
Less than 950 2 through 4 Skill level 4 Corequisite MATH 0332/MATH 1332 (ACM); MATH 0342/MATH 1342 (ASAP)
Less than 950 5 Skill level 6 Corequisite MATH 0332/MATH 1332 (ACM); MATH 0342/MATH 1342 (ASAP)
Less than 950 6 Skill level 8 College Level MATH 1332 or MATH 1342
Greater than or equal to 950 Skill level 8 College Level MATH 1332 or MATH 1342

Mathematics: Algebraic Path

TSIA 2 Scores NRS Scores Essay Scores SJCD Skill Level Appropriate Course Placement
Less than 950 2 through 4 Skill level 4 Corequisite MATH 0104/MATH 0314
Less than 945 5 Skill level 6 Corequisite MATH 0314/MATH 1314 (AIM) MATH 0324/MATH 1324 (ABS)
Between 945-950 5 Skill level 6 Corequisite MATH 0111/MATH 1314
Less than 950 6 Skill level 9 College level MATH 1314 or MATH 1324
Greater than or equal to 950 Skill level 9 College level MATH 1314 or MATH 1324