Feb 07, 2023  
Catalog/Handbook 2018-2019 
Catalog/Handbook 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Placement Assessment

Polk State College provides a comprehensive placement assessment program in accordance with Florida law. Students who do not have previous scores or meet the exemption to placement and developmental education per F.S. 1008.30 are required to test free of charge. Students may use scores that are less than two years old from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and/or American College Testing (ACT) to determine placement in mathematics, reading, writing, and English courses. All students, unless otherwise exempt (See below for description of “exempt”), who do not have recent SAT, ACT, or college placement test scores are tested for proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Although frequently referred to as “testing,” a college placement test is not a pass/fail examination, but rather a skills inventory used to determine proper placement of students in college courses. A college placement test does not determine admission eligibility. Transfer and readmitting students with college-level English and mathematics credit with a minimum GPA of 2.00 are exempt from college placement in addition to active military and students who entered a Florida public high school in 2003-4 or later and graduated from a Florida public high school with a standard high school diploma.

Students who have taken the ACT or SAT may use these scores to determine eligibility for college-level courses as defined by Florida Administrative Code 6A-10.0315 and/or College policy. These exams are used only to determine college-level skills. If scores do not meet the college-level requirements, students must take a college placement test. For placement above College Algebra, a student must score within the range for that placement.

Students who have not taken the ACT or SAT may take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) at Polk State College on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses or the JD Alexander/Lake Wales Center. The current standards for placement in college-level courses for the SAT, ACT, and P.E.R.T. placement exam are:


Subtest/Level ACT SAT                  New/Old P.E.R.T. placement
Reading (English Composition I) 19 Critical Reading   24/440 106
Writing/English (English Composition I) 17 N/A 103
Intermediate Algebra 19 Math                   24/440 114
College Algebra 21 500                     26.5/500 123


All non-exempt students who are applying to take credit courses are required to present official scores on the ACT, SAT, or a college placement test prior to course registration. Students are introduced to the registration process at Orientation where scores are evaluated and registration recommendations are made. Students must complete Orientation after submitting an application.

College developmental courses in writing, reading, and mathematics are required for students who score below the College’s posted standards and are not in an exempt category. Students who are not exempt are required to begin enrollment in all required college developmental courses during their first 12 credit hours at Polk State College and must continue enrollment in these courses each subsequent term until all college developmental courses have been satisfactorily completed. Non-exempt students who place into three college developmental areas are required to take SLS 1101 College Success in their first term at Polk State College. Students who place into two college developmental areas are encouraged to take SLS 1101 in their first term. Students enrolled in college developmental courses may also concurrently take courses in other curriculum areas for which they qualify. College developmental courses do not apply toward graduation requirements.


Exemption from Mandatory Developmental Education 

A student who entered 9th grade in a Florida public school in the 2003-2004 school year, or any year thereafter, and earned a Florida standard high school diploma from a Florida public school or a student who is serving as an active duty member of any branch of the United States Armed Services is not required to take the common placement test and, even if the student decides to take the placement test, is not required to enroll in developmental education instruction. However, students may opt to be assessed and to enroll in developmental education instruction should they choose. All students new to college are encouraged to take a placement test to assist in the registration and course selection process. Polk State College provides a comprehensive orientation, advising, and self-evaluation so students can make informed choices relating to college-level English and mathematics options.


P.E.R.T. Retake Policy

Polk State College allows students to retake the college placement test based on the following guidelines:

  1. Students may retake the college placement test prior to enrolling in a developmental course. Students who have started developmental course work are not allowed to retake the related college placement test section.
  2. The student must wait 30 days before retaking any portion of the test regardless of where the test was taken. If the student wants remediation, the Advising office of Polk State College retains a referral list of agencies and institutions providing remediation services.
  3. Beyond the third attempt at the College, a retake:
    1. Must be approved by a Dean of Student Services.
    2. Requires proof of remediation prior to retaking all or part of the PERT. Acceptable documentation for remediation is at the discretion of the Student Services Dean and may be documentation such as statement from a high school counselor, documentation from a paid tutor, receipts for a preparatory text with a statement from the student.
  4. Scores posted to the student record are valid for two years from the date of the most recent attempt.
  5. Students may appeal the guidelines through the Dean of Student Services.