Jul 22, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2020-21 
Catalog/Handbook 2020-21 [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” statement per Florida Statute 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) Exam to determine placement in mathematics, reading, writing, and English courses. All students, unless otherwise exempt (cf. below description of exemptions), 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 in college courses. A college placement test does not determine admission eligibility. Transfer students and readmitting students with college-level English and mathematics credit and a minimum GPA of 2.00 are exempt from college placement courses. Additionally, active military, and students who entered a Florida public high school in Academic Year 2003-2004 or later and who graduated from a Florida public high school with a standard high school diploma, are exempt from taking college preparatory coursework.

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 Polk State 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 (MAC 1105), the student must score within the range required 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 Campus, Lakeland Campus, or at the JD Alexander Center. The current standards for placement in college-level courses for the SAT, ACT, and P.E.R.T. placement exam:



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 those who score below the College’s posted standards and who are not exempt as described below. 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 College Success (SLS 1101) 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 the ninth grade in a Florida public school in Academic Year 2003-2004 (or any year thereafter) and has earned a Florida standard high school diploma from a Florida public school is not required to take the common placement test. Additionally, any 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. Even if the exempted student chooses to take the placement test, he or she is not required to enroll in developmental education instruction. The student may still opt to take the test for better placement and to enroll in developmental education instruction based on the scores achieved.

Any student who is new to college is encouraged to take a placement test to assist in the registration and course-selection process. Polk State College provides a comprehensive orientation session with pre-advising, and self-evaluation topics to help each student make informed choices relating to college-level English and mathematics options.


P.E.R.T. Retake Policy

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

  1. A student may retake the college placement test prior to enrolling in a developmental course. Any student who has started developmental coursework is 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 Polk State College, a retake:
    1. Must be approved by a Dean of Student Services.
    2. Requires the student to provide proof of remediation prior to retaking all or part of the PERT. Acceptable documentation for remediation is at the discretion of the Dean of Student Services and may include documentation such as statement from a high school counselor, documentation from a paid tutor, or a receipt 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. The student may appeal the guidelines through the Dean of Student Services.