Assessment Basics

What is assessment?

Assessment testing is one of the “Steps to Success” – the process for getting into Sacramento City College.  The “Steps to Success” give you the information you need for a good start in college.  Assessment tests are used to recommend English, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Math course placements which are prerequisites to many classes you will take as part of your certificate, AA/AS Degree or transfer program.  For these reasons, it is necessary for you to have your assessment results before you see a SCC counselor.

Do I need to take an Assessment Test?

Take an assessment test if you:

  • Are a new student and have never attended college
  • Are planning to earn a degree and/or certificate, and/or transfer to a university;
  • Are taking a course that requires a prerequisite in English, English as a Second Language (ESL), Reading and/or Math;
  • Are applying for the Vocational Nursing Program (LVN), Register Nurse (RN) and Dental Hygiene.

What if I completed coursework at another college or university?

If you have a college degree, you are exempt from placement testing. However, if you have transcripts from outside of Los Rios District and require a prerequisite for English or math to be verified for enrollment, please do the following:

What are the fees for taking the test?

Testing is free.

Which Tests Should I Take?

I’m a new student. What tests should I take? How many tests do I need to take?

Most new students take both either English or English as a Second Language (ESL) and Math tests.

  • The English assessment includes: Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills (both on a computer) and the English Essay (paper/pencil test) if placed below English Writing 300 on the computer portion. The English assessment will result in both reading and English placements.
  • The Reading test may be taken separately for placement if necessary. However, it is a required part of the English assessment and must be taken at the same time as Sentence Skills for an English placement.
  • The ESL assessment is a two-part test. The first part is the ESL Essay, and the second part is the computerized reading, grammar, and listening tests.
  • The Math assessment is made up of 3 tests: Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, and College Level Math. Most students take 1 or 2 of these tests.

Do I need to take the English Essay?

Only students who have already taken the computerized English assessment and the result indicates that “You must complete the English essay to receive your English placement” are required to take an English Essay Assessment Test.

Should I take the English or English as a Second Language (ESL) test?

If you are a bilingual English speaker who needs help with grammar, take the ESL assessment. This assessment will provide recommended course placements in ESL classes. If you are a native speaker of English, or a bilingual English speaker who has a strong command of English grammar, take the English assessment which will provide recommended placements in English classes.

May I take only the math test?

Yes. There are three math tests: Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra and College Level Math. You will begin math testing with either the Arithmetic or Elementary Algebra Test. The computer selects which test to present depending on how you answer certain background questions. If you obtain a high score on the Elementary Algebra Test, you will be able to take the College Level Math test.

What is the Reading Competency for Graduation test?

Students who have not completed English Reading 310 or ESLR 340 with a grade of “C” or better may take the Reading Competency for Graduation test to meet the reading proficiency requirement for Los Rios an AA/AS degree. Effective October 18, 2013, students are able to attempt the Reading Competency test 3 times in the Los Rios District. (ARC, CRC, FLC & SCC.) The first placement test District-wide counts as the first attempt. After the first placement test, students may take another test that is used only for Reading Competency purposes 2 additional times. Students who do not pass the competency test must take English Reading 310 or ESL 340 and pass with a “C” or better in order to graduate.

What is Math Competency for Graduation?

Students may take a Math Competency for Graduation to satisfy the Los Rios AA/AS math graduation requirement. You must bring a Math Competency Information Form from a counselor on the day of the test.

Do I need to take the Chemistry Diagnostic Test?

All students intending to enroll in CHEM 400 and who have not completed CHEM 300 with a grade of “C” or better (within the last year), have to take the chemistry test in order to satisfy the course prerequisite. You may use any type of calculator on the chemistry test. The time limit for the chemistry test is 45 minutes and it consists of 44 questions. Topics included in the test can be found at SCC Assessment.

Before the Assessment

Do I need to register or make an appointment to take a test?

You must complete an application at http://www.losrios.edu/lrc/lrc_app.php and have a Los Rios Student ID number in order to take an assessment test. No appointment or registration is required. English, Reading, and Math placements are done on a walk-in basis, first-come, first-served during our open testing hours. English as a Second Language (ESL), English Essay, Ability to Benefit (ATB) and Chemistry are offered at specified times. For more information about testing schedule please click on the “Testing Calendar” or call the Assessment Center at 916-558-2541.

What do I need to bring for the test?

You need to know your Los Rios student ID number and must bring any type of photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification include: driver license, high school ID, college ID, current state or federal ID card, current passport, a naturalization card or certificate of citizenship. The ATB test requires a government-issued ID card. Pencils and scratch paper will be provided.

Are there sample questions that I can preview before the test?

Yes, you may review the study guides available online

May I use a dictionary, calculators or any other resources?

You may not use dictionaries, calculators or other resources during the assessment tests. You may use a calculator only on the Chemistry test.

How long does the test take?

The time limit for the English Essay is 60 minutes and ESL Essay is 35 minutes. The average time of completion for the English assessment is about 60 minutes, for math it is about 30 minutes, and for ESL assessment is about 2.5 hours. The computerized tests are not timed.

What do I do if I have a disability that would affect my testing?

If you need assistance, other than extra time or zoom text, while taking your computerized or essay assessments, and you have a verifiable disability that requires these accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center – Student Services Building, STS 104, (916) 558-2087phone icon.

After the Assessment

How soon can I get my results?

The results of the computerized assessment tests are available to students immediately after completion of the tests. The English Essay results will be available four (4) working days after taking your essay. The ESL testing results will be available four (4) working days after taking your test.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Retest Policy – The ESL assessment testing process determines placement of an entering student and remains valid for a period of two years. It may not be retaken within two years unless there is a valid reason for the exception. A challenge process exists for students already enrolled in courses who provide evidence that they meet the prerequisites of a course higher than their current placement/enrollment level. Please contact the ESL Chair in RHS 226 with any questions.

When do my assessment results expire?

Effective February 16, 2013 – To calculate your assessment expiration date for tests taken after February 16, 2013, use the table below.  Go to either the September 15 or February 15 date that follows your test date (whichever comes first) and add two calendar years. Your assessment results will be valid proof of prerequisites for classes beginning before that expiration date. If the class you want begins after the expiration date of your assessment results, then you must retake the assessment test.

For Example:

Calculate your assessment expiration date
If you took the assessment between:Your assessment expires:
February 16, 2015 and September 15, 2015September 15, 2017
September 16, 2015 and February 15, 2016February 15, 2018
February 16, 2016 and September 15, 2016September 15, 2018
September 16, 2016 and February 15, 2017February 15, 2019

If you assessed prior to February 16, 2013, your assessment results will be valid for 3 calendar years (36 months) from the date of the test.

What if I fail the placement test? Can I retake it?

The placement test is not a “pass” or “fail” test and does not affect your admission to Sacramento City College. The purpose of assessment testing is to place you in the appropriate English, ESL and Math courses to help you succeed in college. Students may retest one time after a 30 day waiting period if they have not started the course sequence. Students who have begun the course sequence may contact the instructional department for the course challenge process. No retest for English may occur until the results of the English Essay have been posted, if applicable.