Classes resume Monday, March 30, fully online.
Please visit for additional information and to learn how to prepare for online classes.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment

Once you apply for admission and complete pre-advising, the next step is determining if you meet TSI requirements.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

TSI is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. Part of the program is an assessment to determine your basic skills in reading, mathematics and writing.

See exemptions to determine if you are exempt from TSI requirements.

All credit students who are not TSI exempt are required by law to take an assessment test approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

Each of the colleges of DCCCD administers state-approved TSI assessments.

Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA)

You will be required to complete a pre-assessment activity before completing the TSI assessment.

As part of the pre-assessment activity, you will watch a video and continue to a pre-assessment quiz.

Taking Your Assessment

On your assessment date, you will need:

  • A referral form
  • Your student ID or any other government- or state-issued photo ID

Once you have completed your TSI Assessment, advisors will use your TSI Assessment scores to recommend course choices during registration.

El Centro TSI Assessment Information

Retesting Information

The state of Texas has mandated that every non-exempt student entering a public college or university must complete the TSI ASSESSMENT. A Pre-Assessment Activity, prior to taking the TSI Assessment, is required. Students must complete the TSI Pre-Assessment Activity and then take the TSI ASSESSMENT test before starting college.

The Texas Success Initiative or TSI ASSESSMENT requires assessment, remediation when necessary and advising of students who attend a public college or university in Texas. The TSI ASSESSMENT measures your skills in writing, reading, and math. Your writing skills are assessed in two possible parts, on multiple choice sentence structure, and if needed, A WRITTEN ESSAY. The TSI assessment is Adaptive and untimed. Please allow a minimum of 4-5 hours to complete the assessment. The entire test is computerized. It is not a paper and pencil test - even for the writing section.  

You will be provided with a computerized calculator for the parts of the math section that will allow you to use a calculator. The only thing you need to bring with you to your college testing center is a Photo ID and a referral form. All portions of the test are multiple-choice, except for the essay.
The TSI ASSESSMENT is an adaptive test. That means that the difficulty of each question will depend on how you answered the previous question. The questions will get harder and worth more points as you answer correctly. You get fewer points when you answer incorrectly. The higher points will result in a better score. Because the test is designed this way, for all multiple choice questions, you MUST submit an answer in order to move on to the next question. You cannot go back to previous questions.
The TSI ASSESSMENT is free the first time that you test. Re-tests range from $10-$40 depending on how many sections of the test you wish to re-take. Remember that taking the test seriously, and doing your best the first time is to your greatest benefit.
Students who want to complete their CORE courses, transfer to a university, or are pursuing an associate of arts or science degree will also be assessed on their computer literacy skills. Please be sure to ask your academic advisor if you will be required to complete the computer literacy portion of the assessment.  After completing the TSI ASSESSMENT, it is important that you discuss your scores with an Academic Advisor who will be able to help you interpret your scores and select classes—not the Testing Center.

Computer Skills Placement (CSP):

70 questions, 70 minute time limit. This section will cover:

Schedule Your Test Date

  • Bring a Testing Referral form from your Advisor in Counseling.
  • Bring a valid photo I.D.
  • The first testing session is free.
  • Retakes are permitted as often as you want and cost $10 per subject.
  • Scores are immediately available.
  • See a Counselor again after testing.

Multiple Uses for TSI Assessment

  • General Admission
  • Dual Credit/High School Students
  • Certificate Programs
  • Developmental Education placement sequences
  • Adult Basic Education placement
  • Non-degree Seeking Students

El Centro College uses the same exams, standards and requirements for enrollment and placement as are used by the colleges in the state of Texas.
College Ready / Cut Scores and example:

  • Mathematics 350
  • Reading 351
  • Writing Essay Score of 5, or 4 and Multiple-Choice Sentence Skills of 363.

TSI Writing Section:

Cut score or College Ready: Essay Score of 5; or Essay Score of 4 and Multiple Choice of 363.
Tip: EVERY student will now take the multiple choice section first, and only those scoring above a certain point (363) will see the essay. Below that point will receive the diagnostic