Reading, Writing & Math Course Placement

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


Transfer students will be exempt from taking courses for the basic skills reading requirements if they meet either of the following:

1) 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. 

2) A Transfer Credit/GPA Reading Waiver is also available. A waiver is determined by the number of credits completed and corresponding cumulative transfer GPA:

Credits Completed*GPA
30-44 3.25
45-59 3.00
60 or more 2.75


COMPASS Reading Test

Transfer students who do not qualify for a waiver by one of the above criteria will complete the COMPASS Reading Test. This is a computer-based test that will be administered at Transfer Orientation. Practice tests are available at the following website, where you will select “reading test” to prepare for your placement exam:

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, students are permitted one retest with the ACT Compass Reading Test. 

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


Transfer students must complete a writing sample. Students pick one of two topics and write an essay, and are allowed 40 minutes.

* Scrap paper is included for constructing a rough draft.
* Students' writing is critiqued on style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, paragraph structure, sentence structure, etc.

Placement: Members of the English Department read and evaluate transfer student essays. Based on their consensus, the student is placed into the appropriate course, English 080 (Writing Skills)*** and English 111 (Elements of Composition I).


Beginning Fall 2010, the new placement policy will be as outlined below.

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.

Students without ACT Math sub-scores must take the mathematics placement test. These students may take the placement test no more than 2 times. Transfer students who do not transfer appropriate coursework to SVSU, but do submit ACT math sub-scores, will follow the usual procedure for students with ACT scores.

 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.