Information on the University Assessment
in English Composition, Mathematics & Reading

The University Placement Assessment Program in English Composition, Mathematics and Reading are part of a program aimed at ensuring that all Chicago State University students have achieved college level competence in the basic skills. The results from these assessments are used to:

  1. measure the student's level of proficiency,
  2. identify academic deficiencies, and
  3. determine eligibility for professional & major courses.

New freshmen and transfer student alike must take the appropriate assessment either before or immediately after entering the University. They should be taken before the end of a student's first term of attendance. You can find information about schedules and general advice at or call (773) 995-2481.

Assessment in English Composition

Every new or transfer undergraduate student must take the appropriate English assessment.* The English test consists of one writing prompt that defines an issue or problem and describes two points of view on that issue. Your score depends on your ability to write a logical, well-organized essay of several paragraphs that demonstrates control over English grammar. Students are evaluated in the following categories:

  1. Focus—consistency and clarity in identifying and maintaining the main idea or point of view.
  2. Content—extent to which the topic is addressed by the development of ideas and the specificity of details and examples.
  3. Organization—unity and coherence achieved through logical sequence of ideas.
  4. Style—how effectively the chosen language enhances the writer's purpose. 5) Conventions—control of mechanics in grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation. Results will determine courses in which students are eligible to enroll.

Assessment in Mathematics

CSU uses the ACT Compass computerized math placement assessment. The Math Placement Test is a multiple-choice test that evaluates students' ability levels, starting in basic algebra. Depending upon your placement assessment, you may be recommended into your first math course, receive proficiency credit, or you may be required to enroll in Math 0990 Level 1 and/or Level 2 depending upon your placement.

The algebra portion consists of the following skills: solving linear equations & inequalities, graphing linear systems; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing polynomials, factoring algebraic expressions; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing algebraic expressions; simplifying radical expressions; solving equations involving radicals; and using the quadratic formula.

Any high school algebra I book can be used for review. A few sample problems are available at There are also study links on the Examinations website at

Assessment in Reading

The Reading Assessment is a multiple-choice test required of all entering CSU students.* The assessment is the Compass Reading Placement Assessment, which measures two areas of reading, vocabulary and comprehension (understanding). Students who do not achieve a passing score are required to enroll in Read 1500.
Additional information on the reading, math, and English (e-Write) Compass assessments may also be obtained at

* Transfer students who have completed an associate's degree may be exempt from the assessment program as a graduation requirement.