Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is assessment?
  2. What is the purpose of assessment?
  3. Who should take the placement test?
  4. Why do students have to take the placement test when they have already completed English and Math courses in high school?
  5. What is covered in orientation?
  6. Who may be exempted from taking the placement tests?
  7. How can students clear prerequisites if they have taken courses at other institutions?
  8. How can students use placement test scores from another institution to clear prerequisites?
  9. Can students request to re-take the placement test?
  10. What kinds of questions are on the English and Math placement tests?
  11. Does your office proctor test for other schools?
  12. Are the tests timed?
  13. What do I need to bring to the tests?

1. What is assessment?

Assessment is an important part of the matriculation process by which students are guided through the college curriculum in selecting courses best suited to their abilities and educational goals.

Assessment is a process that includes tests and other measures and is designed to assist students in meeting course prerequisites.

2. What is the purpose of assessment?

Assessment/Testing is used to measure your mathematics, reading, and written English skills.

Assessment scores are used to determine student's placement in college, in addition to assisting students with course selection. Students also use assessment to meet course prerequisites.

3. Who should take the placement test?

  • Students who designate their educational goals to include transfer, obtain an associate degree, or earn a certificate of achievement
  • Students who register for any English course or for a mathematics course at or above the level of elementary algebra, or for any course which has English or math as a prerequisite
  • Students who have taken the San Diego Community College District English and Mathematics Placement Tests more than three years ago and have not used those scores for placement purposes

4. Why do students have to take the placement test when they have already completed English and Math courses in high school?

Assessment assists students in course selection at Mesa College. The scores received are also used as an advisement tool for determining appropriate placement in college courses. We must first accurately assess students' skills before they can enroll in classes.

5. What is covered in orientation?

You will receive a thorough orientation to San Diego Mesa College's programs, services and facilities through the Online Orientation located at http://mesa.studentpathway.com/mesa/.  This orientation covers:

  • Information About Mesa College
  • Class Schedule and Catalog Rights
  • Student Services
  • Educational Objectives
  • Registration Process
  • Interpretation of Assessment Scores

The orientation will take approximately ninety minutes to complete after which you will be able to take your placement tests. Please note, in order to get credit for completing the orientation, you will need to log in with your student ID number and complete all sections of the four required modules.

When you have finished the orientation, print the completion screen that includes your name, student ID number, and the date of completion. Submit this form to the Testing Office staff in order to begin the assessment of your English and/or Math skills.

Upon completion of the assessment(s), students will be referred to an online first semester planning workshop at http://goo.gl/mzbc

6. Who may be exempted from taking the placement tests?

  • Students who have taken the San Diego Community College District English and Mathematics Placement Tests within the past three years
  • Students who are taking only apprenticeship courses
  • Students taking only activity courses or courses with no math or English prerequisites.
  • Students who have earned an associate degree or higher from an accredited institution are not required to take the English Placement Test.

*Substandard grades in previous English or math classes cannot be used for placement.

7. How can students clear prerequisites if they have taken courses at other institutions?

Students may FAX copies of unofficial transcripts, or grade reports from prior institutions strictly for the purpose of clearing prerequisites prior to registration to the San Diego Community College District, Student Services Office at (619) 388-6946.

For more details about prerequisites, go to Student Web Services at http://studentweb.sdccd.edu and click on the key Resources link and select General Information.

8. How can students use placement test scores from another institution in lieu of taking our assessment test?

Students who have taken the placement tests at another California Community College can visit the Counseling Office or fax their scores at (619) 388-2525. Allow up to 5 business days for processing.

Those who choose to fax their placement scores need to provide a cover sheet indicating the following information:

  • Name
  • COLLEGE STUDENT ID #
  • Name of California Community College where test was taken
  • Test Scores with Interpretive Data (indicating specific courses that student is eligible to take)
  • Phone number with area code or e-mail address

We are unable to process your request without the aforementioned information.

9. Can students request to re-take the placement test?

Students can request to re-take the placement tests if it has been three years or more since the last assessment test was completed and if the student has not attempted coursework within the subject they want to retest. Students who have compelling reasons and do not meet these criteria can speak with a counselor about their specific situation. If approved, documentation will be needed that shows approval from the chair of the department. Please contact the Testing Office for specific information.

10. What kinds of questions are on the English and Math placement tests?

Students can view sample English and Math test questions by clicking on this link: Sample Tests

11. Does your office proctor test for other schools?

Unfortunately Mesa College does not currently offer this service to students.

12. Are the tests timed?

The computerized placement tests are not timed. However, the paper/pencil assessment tests are timed. Both math tests are 45 minutes each (of actual testing time) and the English test is 1 hour and 20 minutes (45 minutes for the reading section and 35 minutes for the writing section). Allow for another 15 minutes to fill out the scantron form and go over testing instructions.

13. What do I need to bring to the tests?

It is important that students show up at least 15 minutes prior to the testing time and be prepared to present a picture identification and a College Student Identification (CSID).