Assessment and Course Readiness

As active learners, Normandale students are responsible for their learning as well as meeting or exceeding the academic standards established by the College’s faculty. Normandale uses various assessment activities to provide students with the feedback they need to routinely and accurately monitor progress toward their academic goals. Normandale also uses assessment activities as a vehicle for improving the College’s learning programs. Assessment helps Normandale identify where and how its programs are succeeding and where changes need to be made.

Placement Testing and the MnSCU Assessment Policy

Normandale Community College follows the guidelines of assessment for course placement set forth by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System. Placement testing is intended to help new entering students understand their current level of academic readiness so that they can be placed into the courses in which they can be successful. Placement test results also allow the College to identify changes in the academic readiness of each cohort of new entering students.

If placement test results indicate that a student is not ready for college-level coursework in reading, writing or mathematics, developmental coursework must be completed before the student will be allowed to register for courses in related academic subjects. Students whose placement test results are at the Adult Basic Education (ABE) level in either reading or writing will receive a deferred admission to the College. Deferred admission means that a student may not enroll in courses at Normandale until the student demonstrates college readiness in both reading and writing. Demonstrated readiness in reading and writing is achieved by retaking the placement tests and scoring above the ABE level. Community resources may be available to assist the student in improving these skills.

Students are also assessed in their classes by faculty who use the results to guide instruction. In addition, students will participate in assessment by providing evidence of their learning. As a part of these assessment activities, students will be asked to complete a number of surveys which, in part, ask about our programs and services. Student responses help the College identify areas that need improvement. Our surveys also ask about changes in students’ attitudes, opinions, plans and self-perceptions. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in a focus group or structured interview to help us determine how their experiences at Normandale are affecting them.

Preparation for Placement Testing

Several resources are available to assist students in preparing for Normandale placement testing:

1. Visit the College Board website at: and click on "Free Sample Questions" on the right side of the page.

2. Other helpful websites include:

3. Websites for mathematics review include:

Note: Research suggests that students who have not recently completed a mathematics course may not perform well on the math placement test. Therefore, students who have not recently taken a mathematics course are strongly encouraged to complete math review materials or courses before they take the placement test.

Placement Test Waivers

Normandale’s placement tests measure a student’s reading, writing and mathematical skills. Normandale’s courses in reading, English and mathematics require completion of the placement tests or approval of a waiver before students can register for courses in those disciplines. Certain other courses at Normandale may also require placement testing or approval of a waiver before a student can register for the course. Details on course requirements and prerequisites are available in the individual course descriptions.

All new degree-seeking students at Normandale should complete placement test requirements.

Transfer students who have taken college-level coursework at a regionally accredited college or university may have already satisfied some or all placement test requirements. To obtain a placement test waiver, students must submit official college transcripts of their college-level coursework with their application to the college. See the section entitled Transfer Students from Accredited Colleges and Universities for complete information.

Students interested in possible placement test waivers must submit ACT, SAT, Advanced Placement (AP), CLEP or ACCUPLACER (CPT) results to the Office of Admissions at the time they apply for admission. Reading and writing placement scores and subject area scores are valid if taken within three calendar years, inclusive of the current year, and mathematics scores are valid for two calendar years, inclusive of the current calendar year. An ACT sub score of 18 or higher in English, 21 in reading, and a sub score of 22 or higher in mathematics exempts a student from taking the placement test in that academic skill area and places the student in the introductory college-level course in that academic subject. An SAT score of 550 or higher in reading, writing or mathematics exempts a student from placement testing in that academic skill area and places the student in the introductory college-level course offered in that academic subject.

Retaking the Placement Tests

Students who are dissatisfied with any of their placement test scores may retest in each section once in every 12 month period, regardless of where the test was administered (including other MnSCU colleges or universities). There is a fee of $10 for retaking each section of the test.

If students are dissatisfied with their retest scores, they may appeal their placement level by completing a Placement Testing Appeal form, which is available from the Office of Admissions. The student must provide appropriate documentation to support the appeal. The student will be contacted by faculty from the appropriate discipline to schedule an appointment, if necessary. The designated faculty will determine final course placement.