Accuplacer is the brand name of a very widely used college placement test. Community colleges often use this exam to assess an incoming student’s ability to do “college level” work. It isn’t worth college credit, but it sometimes stands in the way of enrolling in a dual enrollment program.
Who takes an Accuplacer?
When prompted by a college, a prospective student (any age) may take this exam.
Why would my teen take it?
If a college uses Accuplacer (or a different brand) to assess your teen’s college readiness, they may include it on their list of admissions steps.
Does it matter if my teen is in high school?
Yes. Accuplacer for high school students is often used to measure whether or not your student can participate in college level courses. If your student is a high school graduate (adult) the Accuplacer is a placement tool that helps advisors place a student into the correct level math or English.
NOTE: if your student doesn’t earn a high enough score to participate, be aware that their score may still be part of their records and they’ll have to retake it after high school or will be placed into remedial levels. Avoid this at all costs!! My advice: if you don’t think your teen has the reading, writing, and math skills to pass, don’t take the exam until they do.
Can we avoid the Accuplacer?
Probably. I know of a few ways Homeschooling for College Credit families have successfully avoided this exam.
- Earn college credit in a college level English Class (English 101) from a source that doesn’t require the Accuplacer and transfer it back into your college. I recommend using Arizona State University’s Universal Learner class because it only costs $25 to enroll and you only pay if you’re happy with your final grade ($400). There are a few really cool outcomes that result from this- if you opt to NOT take the grade (get college credit), your student still did a lot of English and will likely ace their actual English 101 class. Also, if your college accepts the ASU course for college credit, not only will you skip the Accuplacer, but you’ll skip the class! Use the same strategy for math.
- Take a CLEP exam. At colleges who award college credit for CLEP (almost every community college does) the CLEP Composition exam and CLEP College Mathematics (or higher) may work. If you’re contacting the college, be careful about how you ask this question. Don’t ask them if you can take CLEP instead of their Accuplacer (they will say no) instead send the CLEP official transcripts to the college for evaluation. If they are successfully added to your teen’s academic record, then the testing requirements should be automatically met in the computer.
- Choose a dual enrollment program or college that doesn’t require the Accuplacer AT ALL. There are many, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not the credit will transfer elsewhere. Start by browsing our list of HS4CC Dual Enrollment programs.
- Ask if a different exam your teen already has will work. Sometimes, a college will accept a PSAT, SAT, or ACT score instead of Accuplacer.
Read more about the Accuplacer exam at The College Board
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