What is the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSI) Assessment?

The TSI Assessment (TSIA) is part of the Texas Success Initiative program designed to help determine if you are ready for college-level coursework in the general areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. This program also will help determine what type of course or intervention will best meet your needs to help you become better prepared for college-level coursework if you are not ready. If you are an entering college student in Texas, you are required to take the TSIA—unless you are already exempt (read below —to determine your readiness for college-level work. Based on how you perform, you may either be enrolled in a college-level course that matches your skill level and/or be placed in the appropriate developmental course or intervention to improve your skills and prepare you for success in college-level courses.

Do I Have to Take the TSI Assessment?

Not all incoming students need to take the TSIA. There are many ways you can be exempt. Qualifying for a TSI exemption means that you can enroll in any entry-level college course without restrictions. In other words, there are no prerequisites for enrollment in the entry-level college courses. In most cases, exemptions are subject specific, which means you may qualify for an exemption in one area such as reading but not in another area like mathematics or writing. You may be exempt if you:

  • Have met the minimum college readiness standard on the SAT®, ACT, or the English III/Algebra II STAAR End-of-Course high school tests;
  • Have successfully completed college-level course(s);
  • Have enrolled in a Level-One certificate program (fewer than 43 semester credit hours);
  • Are not seeking a degree; or
  • Have been, or currently are, in the military.

How Does the TSI Assessment Work?

If you are not exempt from taking the TSIA, you will be asked to take three tests: one in mathematics, one in reading, and one in writing. Where necessary, you may be given an additional diagnostic test in a particular subject. This diagnostic test is designed to provide more detailed information regarding your academic strengths and weaknesses.

These assessments include multiple-choice questions that are aligned to the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards. For the writing assessment, it’s likely that you will be asked to also write an essay.