The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) was mandated by Texas law in 2003 and went into effect September of 2003.  The purpose of TSI is to ensure that all students enrolling in public higher education in Texas possess academic skills needed to perform effectively in college-level coursework.  TSI includes a testing component designed to identify and provide diagnostic information about the reading, writing and mathematics skills of each student.  Students who do not receive the minimum required score on an approved assessment instrument are required to enroll in developmental courses or participate in other activities designed to assist the students overcoming the academic deficiencies identified by that assessment.



Exemptions from TSI


Students who meet one of the following conditions are exempt from the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements (from Chapter 5, Subchapter C, of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Rules):


1.           For a period of five (5) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs at or above the following standards:

a)       ACT:  composite score of 23 with a minimum of 19 on both the English and the mathematics tests;

b)       Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT): a combined verbal and mathematics score of 1070 with a minimum of 500 on both the verbal and the mathematics tests; or

2.           For a period of three (3) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) with

a)       a minimum scale score of 1770 on the writing test,

b)       a Texas Learning Index (TLI) of 86 on the mathematics test, and

c)       a Texas Learning Index (TLI) of 89 on the reading test.

3.           TAKS (exit level) for a period of three years from the date of testing who scores 2200 in math and/or 2200 in English/Language Arts ELA with a writing subscore of at least 3

4.            A student who has graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education.

5.       A student who transfers to an institution from a private or independent institution of higher education or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education and who has satisfactorily completed college-level coursework as determined by SWTJC.

6.       A student who has previously attended any institution and has been determined to have met readiness standards by SWTJC.

7.           A student who is enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less (Level-One certificates, 42 or fewer semester credit hours or the equivalent) at Southwest Texas Junior College.  However, individual programs may have additional requirements.

8.            A student who is serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States and has been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment.

9.           A student who on or after August 1, 1990, was honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States.

10.        A non-degree-seeking or non-certificate-seeking student.

11.        Any student grandfathered under previous TASP Policies.






          The Developmental Education Program at SWTJC complies with the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative as outlined and explained in Chapter 5, Subchapter C, of the Texas Higher education Coordinating Board (THECB) Rules.  This section of the SWTJC Developmental Education Plan explains the basic policies and procedures of the Developmental Education Program at SWTJC.



Testing Requirements and Information


          The THECB Rules state that, “an institution shall assess … the academic skills of each entering undergraduate student prior to enrollment of the student.”  SWTJC complies with this request by requiring testing of all entering students who do not meet the TSI exemption criteria.


          Students who are TSI exempt or who have been tested with an approved assessment instrument must provide SWTJC with official transcripts or score reports prior to registering for classes.  It is recommended that testing be completed at least two weeks prior to registration.


          The SWTJC Testing Center administers the THEA Test, the Quick THEA Test, and the Accuplacer Test.  Students should request information from the SWTJC Testing Center to find out the testing requirements and scheduled testing dates.



Placement and Completion Requirements


         1.    Students will be initially placed according to their Accuplacer or THEA scores.  The level of remediation may be modified based on instructor’s assessment and recommendation.  Instructor’s assessment will take place during the first week of scheduled instruction.

2.        Students will be required to remediate in all areas according to their Accuplacer or THEA scores.

3.        Students will be required to remediate through the appropriate course sequence in the areas of their deficiencies.  Sequences are defined as:

                      Reading 0301, 0302 & 0303 or Reading 0101 0102, & 0103

                      English 0301 & 0302 or English 0101 & 0102

                      Math 0301, 0302 & 0303 or Math 0101, 0102 & 0103

All Developmental Education courses require four contact hours per week.  Those courses designated 0301, 0302 & 0303 meet for three lecture hours and one lab hour per week.  Those courses designated 0101, 0102 & 0103 meet for four lab hours per week.

4.        Part-time students will be required to maintain a reasonable ratio of developmental education classes (e.g., If the student is enrolled in 6 hours of classes, 3 of those hours should be developmental education classes.)


          Students are placed in developmental courses based on highest test scores.  Students must then complete the specified developmental course sequence or present passing test scores.  Students must enroll in at least one developmental course each enrollment period until TSI requirements are met.  Successful completion of each developmental course with a grade of A, B, or C allows the student to move to the next course.


          Students who present passing test scores in any skills area during the semester may exit the corresponding course with the grade “P” or may continue the course to completion.


          Students who have completed the highest level of developmental course and earned a grade of A, B, or C and who have completed required testing will be classified as Texas Success Initiative (TSI) complete.



Exceptions to Developmental Placement


          Students who have previously attended a Texas public institution of higher education and are not TSI complete or exempt from TSI requirements must test on an approved assessment instrument.  If the student fails any portion of the test, appropriate developmental education coursework will be required in each area of deficiency.  However, the student may be exempt from placement in developmental courses if a grade of C or better has been earned in one of the courses listed below for each area of deficiency:



(a)        HIST 1301, 1302 (U.S. History);

(b)        ENGL 2321, 2333, 2323 (British Literature);

(c)        ENGL  2331, 2332,, 2333 (World Literature);

(d)        ENGL 2326, 2327, 2328 (American Literature);

(e)        PSYC 2301 (General Psychology);

(f)         GOVT 2301, 2302 (American Government)



(a)        ENGL 1301 (Composition I) or

(b)        ENGL 1302 (Composition II)



(a)        MATH 1332 (College Mathematics);

(b)        MATH 1314 (College Algebra);

(c)        MATH 1316 (Plane Trigonometry);

(d)        Higher level math course that have the above as prerequisites


          Students who score below the “deviation standard” in one or more of the skills areas (Reading, Writing, & Mathematics) are required to retest after completing the required developmental education sequence of courses.  Deviation scores on state approved tests are as follows:


·         THEA/TASP:  Math- 206; Reading- 201; Writing- 205

·         ASSET:  Elementary Algebra- 30; Reading Skills- 64; Writing Skills (objective)- 44

·         COMPASS:  Algebra- 23; Reading Skills- 64; Writing Skills (objective)- 44

·         ACUPLACER:  Elementary Algebra- 42; Reading Comprehension- 61; Sentence Skills- 62

·         An essay with a score of 5 will meet these criteria if the student meets the objective writing test standard.


          In order to be classified as TSI complete he or she must score the equivalent or higher score than the first attempt on the approved assessment instrument.  This includes students who have earned a grade of C or better in one of the courses listed above.


          Students taking courses in less than full length semesters are not required to take a developmental class during that semester.


*Note:    Summer sessions are considered full length semesters

Students who present passing test scores in any skills area during the semester may drop the corresponding course with the grade “P” or may continue the course to completion for a letter grade.



Attendance Requirements


          Students must confirm their educational objective each semester before registering.  If students are changing objective they must make the declaration before registering.  Students changing from a THEA exempt certificate program to an associate degree program or a Level II Certificate must meet TSI requirements.  Students who have failed one or more sections of the Accuplacer or Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test or an alternative test must participate continuously in at least one developmental course until all parts of the Accuplacer or THEA test have been passed and/or the developmental program for the failed area(s) is satisfied.  Students enrolled under these restrictions will be withdrawn from all college credit courses if the instructor withdraws the student for excessive absences in the developmental course and this is the only developmental course the student is enrolled in due to failure on the test taken for TSI purposes.  Students are expected to regularly attend all classes in which they are enrolled and are responsible for the subsequent completion of all work missed during an absence.  Any instruction missed and not subsequently completed will necessarily affect the grade of the student regardless of the reason for the absence.  The manner in which make-up work is determined is left to the professional discretion of the individual faculty member.


          An instructor may request the withdrawal of a student from a class when the total number of absences exceeds the equivalent of two weeks of class meeting in a course; specifically, (a) six from a class that meets three times per week (typical MWF schedule), (b) four from a class that meets two times per week (typical TTH schedule) and, (c) two from a class that meets once per week (typical evening course).  Attendance counting begins on the first day the student is enrolled.


          When an instructor requests the withdrawal (drop) of a student from a course, a grade of W will be considered if the student has at the time of the request a course grade equivalent to the numeric average of sixty (60) or higher; otherwise, a grade of F will be given.


          SWTJC makes no distinction between excused or unexcused absences.  Therefore, the instructor may count all absences in reaching the total except when prohibited by State law of statute.  Student requests for excused absences must be made fifteen days prior to the anticipated absence.


          SWTJC offer Level I Certificates, which require 42 or less semester hours.  Students applying to these programs are required to take the Accuplacer or THEA prior to enrollment.  Students enrolled in certificate programs are not required to meet all TSI requirements; however, individual Accuplacer or THEA and/or remediation requirements do apply to individual certificate programs.  Students are encouraged to check with individual departments or an advisor regarding the Accuplacer or THEA requirements of each certificate program prior to enrollment.  Students who are declared Level I Certificate majors can only take courses listed in the certificate program.  Enrolling in any courses other than those required to complete the certificate program requires the student to meet all TSI requirements.