Jul 18, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Placement Assessment

Polk State College provides a comprehensive placement assessment program in accordance with Florida law. A student who does not have previous scores or who meets the “exemption to placement and Developmental Education” statement (per Florida Statute 1008.30) is required to test free of charge. A student may use scores that are less than two years old from the SAT and/or the ACT Exam to determine placement in mathematics, reading, writing, and English courses. Each student, unless otherwise exempt (cf. below description of exemptions), who does not have recent SAT, ACT, or college placement test scores is 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. Any transfer student or student seeking readmission who has taken college-level English, college-level mathematics and who has a minimum GPA of 2.00 is exempt from college placement testing. Additionally, active-duty military, and students who entered a Florida public high school in Academic Year 2003-2004 (or later) and graduated from a Florida public high school with a standard high school diploma, are exempt from taking college Developmental Education coursework.

A student who has 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 Polk State College policy. These exams are used only to determine college-level skills. If scores do not meet the college-level requirements, the student must take a college placement test. For placement above College Algebra (MAC 1105), the student must score within the range required for that placement.

Any student who has not taken the ACT or SAT may take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) 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. are as follows:



Subtest/Level ACT SAT                  New/Old PERT 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


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

College Developmental Education courses in writing, reading, and mathematics are required for any individual who scores below the College’s posted standards and who is not exempt as described below. A non-exempt student is required to begin enrollment in required college Developmental Education courses during the first 12 credit hours at Polk State College; he or she must continue enrollment in these courses each subsequent term until all developmental courses have been satisfactorily completed. Any non-exempt student who places into three college developmental areas is required to take College Success (SLS 1101) in the first term at Polk State College. A student who places into two college Developmental Education areas is encouraged to take SLS 1101 in the first term. A student enrolled in college Developmental Education courses may also concurrently take college-level courses in other academic areas as eligible. Developmental Education 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 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 with pre-advising, as well as self-evaluation topics to help the student make informed choices relating to college-level English and mathematics options.


PERT Retake Policy

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

  1. A student may retake the college placement test prior to enrolling in a Developmental Education 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. The studen its strongly encouraged to remediate before retesting.
  3. Beyond the second attempt of a course 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 Executive Dean of Student Services and may include items such as statement from a high school counselor on school letterhead, 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 these guidelines through the Executive Dean of Student Services.