Assessment Services

Using Alternate Assessment/Placement Test Results to Meet Course Prerequisites

Math placement results, for the purpose of course placement and meeting prerequisite requirements, are valid for two years only. Math placement results “time out” after two years. English and ESL placement results do not “time out” after two years and remain valid to meet course prerequisite requirements. Students can, however, select to repeat the English or ESL placement tests once every two years.

Using Alternate Assessment/Placement Test Results to Meet Associate Degree Competency Requirements in English and/or Mathematics

Placement results may be used to meet English and/or mathematics competency requirements for the associate degree. Placement results, for this purpose, remain valid even if there is a break in attendance. However, placement results must meet the associate degree competency requirements of the catalog year in which the degree is based.

Alternate Assessment/Placement Testing

Assessment Services is located in College Center Building 10, Room 370, conducts the college assessment program which includes English, Reading, ESL, and Mathematics assessment components. There is no charge for placement testing. Assessment Services is offered year round by appointment to students who have completed a College of San Mateo Admissions Application, have a CSM student identification number, present an approved photo identification (e.g., driver’s license, passport, credit card with photo), and plan to attend College of San Mateo. Course placement results are posted on students’ Web SMART accounts under Student Records/Placement Test Results.

Alternate Assessment/Placement tests are required for all students who plan to enroll at College of San Mateo to complete a vocational certificate, an associate degree, transfer to a university, or for students who are undecided but considering one of the aforementioned goals. Also, Alternate Assessment/placement tests are required to enroll in English, ESL, reading, and mathematics, and other courses that have math or English prerequisites.

These assessments are designed to measure current academic readiness in English, reading, and mathematics. Students are advised to work with counselors to discuss course placement results, educational goals, and other relevant information so that counselors can assist students to develop student educational plans. For more information, contact the Assessment Center at 574-6175 located in College Center Building 10, Room 370, or visit the Assessment Services website.

Placement Test Preparation

It is strongly recommended to review sample test questions prior to taking the placement test. Often subject review will in result in stronger test results. Sample test questions can be viewed on the Assessment Services website. 

Placement Test Retest

English/reading, ESL, mathematics: If a student does not accept the placement results, he/she may retake the placement test one additional time within a two year period. 

Special Accommodations for Placement Tests

Assessment Services is able to provide extended test time to students who request it, and is wheelchair accessible. Students requiring placement tests in alternate formats, must contact the Disability Resource Center (College Center Building 10, Room 120) at 574-6438 or 574-6433.

Using English and Math Alternate Assessment Form/Prerequisite Equivalency Form

Placement tests may not be necessary for students who have successfully completed English and/or mathematics coursework at another accredited college or university in the United States. Alternate assessment may be used for students who have successful high school CAASPP scores, AP or IBHL results, or have successfully completed specific high school course work. For more information about assessment and prerequisites and corequisites, a list of frequently asked questions and answers, course prerequisite equivalency forms, and alternate assessment forms visit the Assessment Services and the Prerequisites, Corequisites and Recommended Preparation websites.