Understanding test scores may seem like a daunting task. This is not the case, however, with the Accuplacer test, which is different from tests such as the SAT. The Accuplacer test is not some scary admissions test, but simply a placement test that evaluates student proficiency in reading comprehension, sentence structure, composition and math skills. It is used in more than 1,500 community colleges, four-year colleges, technical schools and high schools. Also, the Accuplacer test is not timed, does not require a fee and a student's score does not affect his admission status.

How Colleges Use the Scores

Students who take the Accuplacer test will be able to get their scores immediately after they finish the test. Community colleges and other institutions then use these scores to determine placement in courses such as English, math and reading. This helps colleges know which students will take the Reading Improvement course, for example, and which students will take English.

Interpreting the Scores

A score of 78 or higher in the Reading portion of the test indicates that the student has tested out of Reading Improvement and does not need to take a reading course. A score of 77 or lower in the Reading test indicates that the student will be placed into the Reading Improvement course. Cut-off scores for other tests determine whether a student will take English or English Fundamentals, and College Math or Basic Math.

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About the Author

Kathryn Esplin, a veteran copy editor, wrote for The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and copy edited for Addison-Wesley, and several years for IDG. She holds a journalism degree from Medill and a B.A. in English from McGill. A memoir, "Of Things Human, Life, Remarriage, Death" was published in "Blended Families (Social Issues Firsthand)."