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Student Assessment & Testing

The Office of Student Assessment (OSA)

The Office of Student Assessment (OSA) is responsible for ensuring that all students entering Hostos Community College meet the skills proficiency requirements of the City University of New York (CUNY). To meet these requirements, students must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics either by taking and passing the CUNY Assessment Tests in those areas or by being exempt (see below for details on exemptions). Based on their performance on the assessment tests (or their exemptions) students are placed into the appropriate courses when they first enroll at Hostos. These courses can include college-level and/or remedial/developmental courses in the three skills areas. OSA works with the academic departments in placement process.

OSA also maintains the student records from all CUNY Assessment Tests students take while at Hostos. In addition, OSA ensures that the test records of Hostos students are correct and up-to-date in the CUNY system (UAPC) so that test scores can be sent to other CUNY colleges when students transfer.

OSA also administers the tests necessary for students to take as part of the ability to benefit testing requirement for TAP. (This is discussed in detail, below)

Since OSA is responsible for implementing the policies and procedures of the CUNY testing program at Hostos, students are urged to visit OSA if they have any questions regarding testing policies, procedures, or results. The office is located in Room B-207 and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Students are also strongly advised to visit the CUNY website for the most up-to-date information on testing policies, requirements, and procedures. The address is:  www.cuny.edu/testing

 

General Information and Policies

Overview

As a branch of CUNY, all students entering Hostos Community College are required to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students can do this in several ways: scoring 480 or above on the SAT in reading, writing, and/or mathematics; scoring 75 or higher on the appropriate Regents examination; or taking and passing the CUNY Assessment Tests in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students are strongly advised to visit the testing section of the CUNY website for the most current information on CUNY’s testing policies. The web address is:  www.cuny.edu/testing.

In addition, students entering Hostos are required to take a brief Spanish placement test.
Students are NOT permitted to register for courses without taking the required placement tests or showing proof of exemptions from testing (see below). Students registering as non-degree students may register for courses that do not require prior assessment test placement. However, prior to becoming matriculated degree students, non-degree students must take the assessment tests or show proof of exemptions.

 

Entering Freshmen

Results of CUNY and Hostos assessment tests are used to determine placement into the appropriate level of classes in reading, writing, English as a Second Language (ESL), mathematics, Spanish, or foreign language.

Students who are placed in remedial or developmental courses will have an opportunity to retake the CUNY assessment test(s) after successfully completing those courses. Students should consult with an academic advisor or counselor to ensure that they meet the progress requirements of specific majors.

 

Testing for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations on CUNY Assessment Tests. Students must be registered with the college’s Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSWD) which will certify eligibility and coordinate accommodations with OSA. Students who think they may be eligible for accommodations and/or other services from SSWD are urged to contact that office as soon as possible.

Entering freshmen or transfer students who are taking the CUNY Assessment Tests for placement are also eligible for accommodations.  These students should contact SSWD immediately after filing their admissions application.

For further information contact the SSWD at 718-518-4454 and/or visit the office’s website for additional important information:  www.hostos.cuny.edu/sswd.

 

Transfer Students

Students who are transferring from a college outside of CUNY may need to take some or all of the placement tests.

Students transferring from another CUNY college must have their skills test results transmitted to OSA through the University’s UAPC system. CUNY regulations prohibit the acceptance of assessment test scores in the form of paper transcripts or similar records. Students whose testing records are incomplete in the UAPC system must contact the CUNY college from which they are transferring to have their test records updated in UAPC. To avoid delays, this should be done well in advance of registration. Transfer students from other CUNY colleges should also be aware that passing a remedial or developmental course in another college is not the same as passing the associated CUNY assessment tests.

Students who are re-admitting to CUNY after a period of non-enrollment may retake their CUNY assessment tests, if those tests not passed were taken at least three years prior to the term of re-admission. Placements will be updated based on the most current test scores provided.

Students transferring from colleges outside of CUNY must take the reading, writing, and mathematics skills assessment tests, unless they have an exemption. (See below.)

 

Exemptions from Testing

Entering students may be exempt from the reading and writing assessment tests if they achieve a score of 480 or above on the verbal part of the SAT, 20 or above on the ACT, or 75 or above on the English Language Arts Regents. Similarly, students may be exempt from the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics if they achieve a score of 480 or above on the mathematics part of the SAT, 20 or above on the ACT, or 75 or above on any of the following Regents examinations: Sequential II, Sequential III, Math A, or Mathematics B.

For freshmen students entering in Fall 2010 or later, there are new regulations governing the Regents exemption in Mathematics.  These new regulations are related to the phase in of the new Regents sequence in Mathematics.  Consult the CUNY Testing website for the details on these new regulations:  www.cuny.edu/testing.

However, students entering with an exemption in mathematics must still take the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics for placement purposes, only, to ensure appropriate placement into mathematics courses.

Transfer students who have already earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college may also be exempt from testing. Determination of this exemption is made by the CUNY Office of Admissions Services. Students with the bachelor’s degree exemption will still be tested in mathematics for placement purposes. Students whose degree is from an institution in which the language was other than English may also be tested in reading and writing for placement purposes.
Transfer students who have taken a college-level course in English or mathematics and earned a grade of C or better may be exempted from the relevant CUNY assessment test.  (Note:  English courses in which English was taught as a foreign language are NOT eligible for this exemption.) Students exempted in mathematics will be tested in mathematics for placement purposes, only. In addition, if the language of instruction at the previous college was not English, the student may also be tested in reading and writing for placement purposes.

All exemptions from testing MUST be requested at the time the student applies for admission to Hostos Community College, either as an entering freshman or as a transfer student. Requests for exemptions at a later date will not be honored. Students should discuss all requests for testing exemptions with an admissions counselor when they apply to the college.

As progress in certain career programs is measured by scores on the skills assessment test, it may be advisable for students who are exempt from testing to take the tests to determine the appropriate course sequences for them.

CUNY Testing Requirements for Graduation

In order to graduate from a community college in CUNY, all students must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics, either through exemptions (see above) or by passing the appropriate CUNY Assessment Tests. Students should seek detailed information from their academic advisors about other graduation requirements for their major.

CUNY Proficiency Examination

As of November 22, 2010, the CUNY Proficiency Examination (CPE) is no longer a degree requirement for all previous, current, and future CUNY students.  Additional information is available at www.cuny.edu/testing

Testing Requirements for Transfer to a CUNY Senior College

Students planning to transfer to a CUNY senior college, directly after graduation or at a later time must pass (or be exempted from) all three basic skills tests. CUNY senior colleges will not accept transfer students (either graduates or non-graduates) who have not passed (or been exempted from) all three skills tests. Students are strongly advised to take and pass the writing, reading and mathematics skills tests prior to applying for transfer to a CUNY senior college.

Students are urged to seek more detailed information about graduation and transfer requirements from their academic advisors. 

Retesting Policies

Courses

Students in appropriate developmental or remedial classes in reading, writing and/or mathematics retake those tests during a predetermined time at the end of the semester, generally the last 2 weeks of the semester.

Students taking these tests at the end of the semester register for their testing session(s) on line. Students must use their Hostos log-in ID in order to register for their testing sessions.  While complete instructions on the procedures to do this are provided in the class, student are strongly advised to make sure they know and use their Hostos log-in ID during the semester.

 

Workshops and Enrichment Programs

In addition to courses, students may participate in workshops. These workshops provide a minimum of 20 hours of instruction. At the conclusion of the workshop, students are retested. Workshops are given by various academic departments and student support services at the college, including the Academic Learning Center and Adult and Continuing Education. Most workshops are offered during Intersession (in January) or in the Summer Term (in June, July, and August). Announcements of these workshops are typically found on line at the Hostos website, as well as in posters and flyers available around the campus.

Former Hostos Students

Hostos graduates, who may require a skills test for transfer to a CUNY senior college, may return to Hostos to take the needed test. However, these students must take a workshop and receive a minimum of 20 hours of remedial instruction before they can take the test.

Ability to Benefit Testing

In Fall 2006, the New York State Legislature passed a new law that requires all students who are applying for TAP for the first time and who have a high school diploma from a foreign high school to document their ‘ability to benefit’ from college level course work. The legislation applies to all freshmen, transfer students, and continuing students who:

  1. received a foreign high school diploma, and
  2. have not earned a GED

Students who meet the above criteria and are applying for TAP for the first time must demonstrate their ability to benefit by scoring above the ATB cut points on tests in reading, mathematics, and writing.
CUNY students can satisfy this requirement by scoring a 62 or higher on the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading; a 25 or higher on the Pre-Algebra section (Part 1) of the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics; and a 35 or higher on the Writing Objective test.
Almost all students entering Hostos will already have a score on the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading and Pre-Algebra on the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics. Students who were exempt from skills tests (see above) and do not have these test scores are urged to take these two tests during the first week of classes in order to ensure TAP eligibility.
In addition, all students required to demonstrate ability to benefit must take the Writing Objective test. This test is given during the first week of classes each term. Students who do not score above the cut point may participate in workshops, presently given by the Academic Learning Center, in order to be eligible to retake the test.
Similar workshops are available to students who need to retake the reading the mathematics tests. However, students who are enrolled in remedial/developmental courses will retake the tests as part of their course, at the end of the term.
For further information on Ability-To-Benefit Testing for TAP qualification, please contact Admissions Office located at 500 Grand Concourse, 1st Floor, Bronx, NY 10451 or call 718-319-7900.

 

The CUNY COMPASS Reading Skills Test

Overview

The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading is an un-timed, multiple-choice, computer-administered test of reading comprehension. Students take the test in the college's computerized testing lab.

No special computer skills are necessary to take the test. To take the test, students only need to be able to type their name and identification number and be able to point and click using the mouse. Complete instructions are provided at the time the student takes the test.

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What does this test measure?

The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading measures reading comprehension as a combination of referring and reasoning skills. Test items require students to derive meaning from texts by referring to what is explicitly stated to determine the meaning of words through context, and reasoning to determine implicit meanings to draw conclusions and make comparisons and generalizations. The test consists of prose passages, varying in length, that are representative of the level of reading commonly found in first-year college courses. Each passage is accompanied by a set of multiple-choice questions. Because the test is computer administered, each student receives different reading passages, based on their performance on the previous passage. This enables an accurate score to be obtained quickly and efficiently. Typically, students take between one and two hours to complete the test.

 

What is the passing score?

A score of 70 is the passing score on the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading.

 

Strategies for Taking the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading
The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading is a multiple-choice test that measures your comprehension of written text. When taking the reading test, the following strategies may be helpful:

  • Directions and sample computer tests are provided at the beginning of the test. Follow along carefully. It is not necessary to have any special computer skills to take the test. If you can point and click with the mouse and type your name, you can take the test.
  • Read the entire passage at least once before answering the questions.
  • When you are unsure of an answer, don't spend a lot of time on that item. Eliminate as many of the choices as possible, and guess from the remaining choices.
  • Be careful of choices that demonstrate exaggerations or extremes: Words like “all,” “always,” “never,” “ever,” “everyone,” “must,” and “completely” are usually not the correct answer Words like “sometimes,” “maybe,” “about,” “perhaps,” “some,” and “can” do not demonstrate exaggerations or extremes and are often the correct answer.
  • When answering a “I, II, and III” question, if you decide one of the Roman numerals is wrong, cancel all answers that contain it. If you decide one of the Roman numerals is right, cancel all answers that do not contain it.
  • Focus on introductory and transitional words and phrases:
    • For example: “but,” “although,” “even though,” “on the other hand,” “however,” “on the contrary,” and “otherwise” indicate that the two parts of the sentences will contradict each other.
    • For example: “just as,” “in the same way,” “similarly,” “equally,” “as,” “in like manner,” “likewise,” and  “like” indicate that the author is pointing out a similarity between two subjects.
    • For example: “therefore,” “in effect,” “as a result,” “consequently,” and “thus” indicate that the information in the second part of the sentence is a direct result of the information in the first part of the sentence.
  • If you have to determine the meaning of a word in the context of the sentence, read the sentence substituting a blank for the word. Try to think of a word that makes sense with the rest of the sentence. Select the choice that is similar to the word you substituted.
  • Be sure to thoroughly review your answers before moving on.
  • You must answer all of the questions for the reading passage before you can go to the next passage.
  • Once you go to the next passage you cannot go back to the previous passage and change your answers.

 

The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics

Overview

The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics is an un-timed, multiple-choice, computer-based test composed of four sections: numerical skills/pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, and trigonometry.

No special computer skills are necessary to take the test. To take the test, students only need to be able to type their name and identification number and be able to point and click using the mouse. Complete instructions are provided at the time the student takes the test.

 

What does this test measure?

The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics is designed to measure students' knowledge of a number of topics in mathematics: arithmetic, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus.

Placement into required basic mathematics courses is based on the results of pre-algebra and algebra sections of the test. Placement into higher level mathematics courses (e.g., Precalculus, Calculus) is based on the results of the last two parts of the test.

 

What is the passing score?

Students must pass Pre-Algebra and Algebra, separately. The passing score on each of these parts is currently 30. Performance on the College Algebra and Trigonometry parts is used only for placement into higher-level mathematics courses and do not have a passing score.

 

Strategies for Taking the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics
The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics is designed to measure students' knowledge of a number of topics in mathematics. The following strategies may be helpful when taking the test:

  • Practice math problems without using a calculator. Calculators are not permitted to be used in the exam. Students are provided with scratch paper to do the problems.
  • Read each problem carefully.
  • Pace yourself—do not spend too much time on any single word problem or equation.
  • Answer every question. You must answer the question before you can go on to the next one.
  • Review the answer you have selected. Once you click “Go On” you may not return to the previous problem.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to visit the Hostos website for practice tests and materials to help them prepare for the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics:  www.hostos.cuny.edu/oaa/compass


The Writing Objective Test

Overview

The Writing Objective Test is an un-timed, multiple-choice test of students' understanding of basic concepts in writing and of editing skills. It is also administered on the computer. No special computer skills are required to take the test. If you can type your name and point and click with the mouse, you can take the test. Complete instructions are provided at the time the test is administered.

 

What does this test measure?

The Writing Objective Test measures students' understanding of the conventions of American English in three major writing skills areas:

  • Usage and mechanics (punctuation and grammar)
  • Sentence Structure--the items in this category deal with relationships between and among sentence clauses, the management and placement of modifiers, and unnecessary shifts in construction.
  • Rhetorical Skills--organization, strategy and style


The CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW)

Overview

The CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) requires students to read a brief reading passage and then write an essay about the passage.  Students have 90 minutes (1 ½ hours) to complete the essay. Students are permitted to have a paper-back dictionary during the test.  No electronic dictionaries or similar devices are permitted.  OSA has a limited supply of dictionaries that are lent to students during this test on a first-come first-served basis.
Because the CATW is a writing test, students should bring pens and pencils with them to take the test.  The CATW can be written in either pen (black or blue ink, only) or pencil, although pen is recommended.
The CATW requires the student to read a brief passage (typically, 150 to 250 words) and then write an essay about the passage. Instructions about what is to be included in the essay are provided in the test.

Scoring is done by certified readers, who are members of the CUNY faculty. Each paper is scored on five (5) dimensions, with the scale on each dimension going from 1 (low) to 6 (high).  .  The five dimensions are:  Critical Response to Writing Task and the Text; Development of Writer’s Ideas; Structure of the Response; Language Use:  Sentences and Word Choice; Language Use:  Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics. The dimension scores are then combined to obtain a weighted total score
Students are strongly advised to review the information and materials available on-line at the CUNY website regarding the CATW.  http://www.cuny.edu/academics/testing/cuny-assessment-tests.html

What is the passing score?

A weighted total score of 56 or higher is passing on the CATW.

 

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