Reading, Writing & Math Course Placement

‌ Each student must satisfy basic skills course requirements for reading, writing and math. Placement into or exemption from the required courses in mathematics, reading and English will be determined by results of the ACT, Transfer Evaluation Report (TER), and/or course placement tests.


There are two first-year writing courses offered at SVSU. Students with an ACT English score of 16 or higher are placed into English 111 Composition I. Students with an ACT English score of 15 and below are placed into English 080*** Writing Skills.


Students with an ACT Reading sub-score of 21 or higher, or with a reading sub-score of 19 or above and a high school GPA greater than 3.00, are exempt from reading courses. They do not need to take the Compass Reading Test.


COMPASS Reading Test 

Your placement into English 082, English 103, or English 104 will assist you in reading and understanding a variety of complex texts, an essential skill that is important to your success in college. To ensure that you have been placed correctly—neither below nor beyond your level of preparation—and to move toward the completion of your degree program in the most successful, timely manner possible, you may retest with the ACT Compass Reading Test. Practice tests are available at the following website, where you will select “reading test” to prepare for your placement exam:

For further information regarding testing dates and times please email or call the Center for Academic Achievement at (989)964-2469.


Initial math placement for freshmen will be based on ACT math sub-score, according to the table below.

ACT ScoreCourse Placement
28 & above Calculus I (MATH 161)
26-27 Introduction to Mathematical Analysis (MATH 140)
23-25 Courses requiring MATH 103 as a prerequisite
21-22 Courses requiring MATH 082 as a prerequisite
17-20 Beginning Algebra (MATH 082)***
16 & below Basic Mathematical Skills (MATH 081)***

Students may try to improve their initial placement by taking a mathematics placement test. Students may take this placement test no more than 2 times.

The Math Placement Test

Those students who do not have an ACT Math sub-score, or who wish to exercise the re-test option, will take the math placement test. For the next few years, the math placement test will be a COMPASS (Computer-adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System) test developed by ACT (American College Testing Program). The test is multiple-choice, computer-based, and designed to evaluate students’ ability levels in Pre-algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, and Trigonometry. For more information on the COMPASS Mathematics Placement Test visit

***Credits earned in courses numbered below the 100 level will not apply toward graduation and grades for these courses are not included in a student's overall grade point average. However, these credits may be applied when determining a "full load" for financial aid and/or freshmen athletic eligibility. Students admitted under a provisional or probationary status may be required to enroll in these courses during their first semester as a condition of their admission.