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Academic Readiness

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board Policy 3.3 and system procedure 3.3.1 require our institutions to assess new incoming students’ academic readiness for credit bearing college curriculum to assure students have the academic content knowledge to have a high likelihood of success in our courses. Students who are admitted to or enrolled at a Minnesota State college or university must demonstrate their academic readiness to enroll in courses that require college-level reading, writing, and/or math skills.  Students can demonstrate their academic readiness based on their performance on a variety of assessments.  Students may submit any of the following assessment scores to determine their eligibility to enroll into college-level courses.

  • Subject area test scores from a nationally-normed college entrance exam, including the ACT and the SAT. Check with local campuses on the benchmarks required for college level course placement.
  • Starting in the 2017-2018 academic year, students can submit subject area test scores from the high school Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) in reading and mathematics. Students whose grade 10 MCA Reading and/or grade 11 MCA Mathematics scores that meet the designated benchmark in the subject area, within the validation window, are not required to take a developmental-level course in that subject area. This link provides more information for Minnesota State campuses and secondary schools on how the MCAs are used.
  • Subject area test scores from a course placement assessment, Accuplacer, may also be considered to demonstrate academic readiness to enroll in college-level courses.  Each of the Minnesota State colleges and universities offer the Accuplacer assessments. The following link provides more information on the Accuplacer.

If a student does not meet qualifying benchmarks on any of the eligible assessments, they may need to enroll in additional coursework to increase their foundational academic skills to improve their likelihood of success in college level courses. In these instances, a student may be recommended or required to enroll in a developmental-level course and successfully complete the course prior to enrolling in the college-level course. Developmental-level courses are designed to build academic readiness in reading, English, or mathematics. Courses are also available at many institutions specifically designed to meet the needs of English Language Learners. Developmental education courses are offered for credit and although these credits do not count toward the requirements of degrees, diplomas or certificates, this coursework is critical in addressing the readiness gaps that students arrive with when they enter postsecondary institutions.  Colleges and universities offer developmental education to ensure access to higher education for all students needing extra support to be academically prepared for college-level coursework in their programs and majors.

The following link provides more information on systemwide work on developmental education for Minnesota State campuses.

Pakou Yang
System Director of P-20 and College Readiness