Academic Policies and Procedures
Texas Higher Education Assessment/Texas Success Initiative (THEA/TSI)
The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state mandate that requires students to be assessed in reading, writing and math skills prior to enrolling in college, and to be advised based on the results of that assessment (see http://www.thecd.state.tx.us/TSI/FAQ.htm). Each institution determines an individualized education plan to encourage academic success for those students who score below a deviation standard (or do not pass the THEA test). Students will be required to retest if they do not pass the initial test. Students who are non-degree seeking or non-certificate seeking must meet TSI standards.
UT Dallas uses the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA), formerly the TASP test, offered by Pearson (National) Evaluation Systems to measure student proficiency in the basic areas of study for fulfillment of the TSI requirement.
UT Dallas requires incoming students who are not TSI exempt to take the THEA test. The required passing standards on the THEA are:
- Reading - 230
- Math - 230
- Writing - 220
UT Dallas students must take the THEA or Quick THEA test to satisfy the test requirement. No other types of tests can substitute for the THEA test requirement unless a student is currently enrolled at another institution when he or she takes an alternative test.
Students may register to take the Quick THEA with Learning Resources, (972)883-6707
The following students are TSI exempt, but are required to take the THEA as a placement test and meet the standards listed above prior to enrolling in any additional courses in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.*
- Students who are non-degree seeking or non-certificate-seeking.
- Students who have transferred to UT Dallas from an accredited private or independent institution of higher education having completed a traditional academic Associate's of Arts or Sciences degree.
- Students who have previously attended any Texas public institution and have been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution. (*The explanation for complete or exempt must be available on the student's transcript.)
- Students who are enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less at a Texas public junior college, public technical institute, or public state college.
- Military Service:
- Students who are serving as active duty members of the Armed Forces of the United States are TSI exempt. Official documentation of active duty status for the enrollment period is required. Students must file a Verification of Active Duty form each semester.
- Students who are on active duty in the Texas National Guard are TSI exempt. A verification letter from the Unit Administrator is required each semester,
- Students who are currently serving, and have for at least the last three years before enrollment served, as members of a reserve component of the armed forces are THEA exempt. A verification letter from the Unit Administrator is required each semester.
- Students who on or after August 1, 1990, were honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as members of the Armed Forces of the United States, Texas National Guard, or of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States are TSI exempt. A copy of the DD214 form showing this status is required.
- Students who are transferring to The University of Texas at Dallas from a private or out-of-state, regionally accredited, college or university may meet sections of the Texas Success Initiative and the THEA placement test based on a grade of C or better in courses that are equivalent to the following courses at UT Dallas:
- HIST 1301, 1302 (U.S. History);
- ENGL 2321, 2322, 2323 (British Literature);
- ENGL 2331, 2332, 2333 (World Literature);
- ENGL 2326, 2327, 2328 (American Government);
- PSY 2301 (General Psychology); or
- GOVT 2301, 2302, 2305, 2306 (American Government)
- MATH 1300;
- MATH 1306;
- NATH 1314;
- MATH 1325;
- MATH 1326;
- MATH 2312 and courses in calculus.
- ENGL 1301 (Composition I/Rhetoric I); or
- ENGL 1302 (Composition II/Rhetoric II).
Students who have achieved the following standards are TSI exempt and are not required to take the THEA as a placement test prior to registration for courses at UT Dallas.
- ACT - Students with ACT composite score of 23 or higher, with individual math and English scores of no less than 19 are both TSI and THEA exempt. ACT scores can be no more than five years old.
- SAT - Students with SAT composite score of 1070 or higher, with 500 verbal and 500 math, are TSI/THEA exempt. SAT scores can be no more than five years old. Residual SAT cannot be used for THEA exemption.
- New SAT - Students with SAT composite score of 1605 or higher, with 500 critical reading, 500 math and 500 writing sample score are TSI exempt. SAT scores can be no more than five years old.
- TAAS - Students with exit-level TAAS scores of 1770 or higher on writing, TLI of 89 in reading, and TLI of 86 in math are TSI exempt. TAAS scores can be no more than three years old. (The exit-level TAAS is a test given in Texas Public High Schools).
- TAKS - Students with EXIT TAKS scores of 2200 in English Language Arts and Math as well as a score of 3 in the writing sample (which is often not printed on your high school transcript, but can be found on the Exit level TAKS score report) are TSI exempt. TAKS scores can be no more than three years old.
- Students who have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States.
The following alternative tests may be used to satisfy UT Dallas's TSI requirements, but only if taken while registered at the school where the alternative test is taken. Furthermore, please be aware that the THEA writing requirement is fulfilled by meeting the minimum score requirements on both the writing and essay sections of the tests below:
- ASSET - Students with the following minimum scores are TSI/THEA exempt. Reading: 41, Math: 38, Writing: 40/Essay: 6
- COMPASS - Students with the following minimum scores are TSI/THEA exempt. Reading: 81, Math: 39, Writing: 59/Essay: 6
- ACCUPLACER - Students with the following minimum scores are TSI/THEA exempt. Reading: 78, Math:63, Writing: 80/Essay: 6
- MAPS - Students with the following minimum scores are TSI/THEA exempt. Reading: 29, Math: 22, Writing: 21/Essay: 6. MAPS scores are acceptable only if taken prior to 9/1/2003.
Note: Transcripts should be submitted to UT Dallas as soon as possible. Official evaluation must be completed to determine course equivalencies before a TSI waiver will be granted.
The Learning Resources Unit of Undergraduate Education provides Developmental Education for the UT Dallas campus. When undergraduate students are first admitted at UT Dallas, they are immediately TSI liable. If they are not previously either TSI exempt or TSI waived, undergraduate students must take the Quick THEA or the THEA examination prior to the beginning of their first semester at UT Dallas. UT Dallas does not accept alternative tests for TSI purposes unless a student accumulates collegiate-level course work during the same semester at the same public institution where the student took an alternative test.
Enrollment into Developmental Education
Students who are required to take the TSI/THEA and do not successfully pass all three sections at the level of the previously stated standards will be required to register for Developmental Education courses for all areas in which they did not achieve the stated standard. Their enrollment in Developmental Education on The University of Texas at Dallas campus is required during the first semester that they attend UT Dallas. If at any time during the semester an audit reports a student in violation of this policy, that student will be immediately transferred into the appropriate Developmental Education course and dropped from a collegiate level course that is in the same content area. UT Dallas students must take their Developmental Education on the UT Dallas campus.
Placement into Developmental Education Courses
Developmental Education coursework is designed to build upon existing skills in order to facilitate student success in the core curriculum at UT Dallas. The Developmental Education courses that are offered are as follows:
- DMTH OV93 Fundamentals of Math and Elementary Algebra
- DRDG OV92 Reading for Success
- DWTG OV91 Writing for Success
Students are required to remain in Developmental Education until they pass the THEA examination in the particular content area in which they had previously failed. If students do not pass the THEA examination after one semester of developmental coursework, they re-enroll in the same course, but their assignments are individualized to avoid redundancy. Students are not permitted to enter college-level courses without evidence that they possess the basic skills necessary to have a reasonable chance of success; thus, students are not permitted to be enrolled in "college-level and developmental work in the same content area simultaneously."
Participation and Attendance in Developmental Education
Students who are required to enroll in Developmental Education because they have failed one or more parts of the THEA examination are subject to the following policies.
Students sign a contract that states that they understand class attendance is mandatory and if they are absent and do not follow the procedure in the contract, they will be withdrawn from The University of Texas at Dallas for the semester with no refund.
Students are advised when they are in jeopardy of being withdrawn; an attempt is also made to contact their advisor. The Director of Learning Resources reports those students who are not in compliance to the Registrar, and the Registrar sends a letter to any student who is withdrawn. A copy of the letter is sent to the Dean of Undergraduate Education. Students who are required to be in Developmental Education for TSI/THEA purposes may not drop a developmental course unless they pass the THEA examination or they are withdrawing from all University courses for the semester. All drop forms are to be signed by the TSI Liaison Officer.
Completing Required Developmental Education
In order to complete successfully any required Developmental Education course, students must comply with the mandatory attendance policy, complete assignments, quizzes, and tests with an overall minimum average of 70% in the course or courses in which they are enrolled. Students are then required to re-take the THEA examination. If they fail any part of the THEA examination, students are required to re-enroll in Developmental Education coursework in all content areas of the THEA they have not passed.
Provisions for Transferring Students
Students transferring to The University of Texas at Dallas from private or out-of-state institutions must meet TSI requirements (be tested or exempted) prior to being allowed to enroll in any collegiate-level work. Students who transfer with 60 or more accumulated semester credit hours or the equivalent to UT Dallas from an American private or out-of-state U.S. institution may use transferred courses which are given common course numbers corresponding to courses approved by UT Dallas to satisfy TSI requirements. Students must have earned a course grade of "C" (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or higher in each of the three skill areas. If not, the student must be tested for the remaining skill areas and must comply with all other TSI requirements.
Students transferring from other public institutions of higher education in the State of Texas must be TSI exempted/complete* or comply with the UT Dallas policies for Developmental Education set forth in this document.
NOTE: Once any student accumulates 60 hours of collegiate-level coursework, he or she may not enroll in any upper division courses until all three areas of the TSI and UT Dallas' THEA standards have either been exempted or achieved.
The specific application for the Texas Success Initiative as outlined in this statement applies to UT Dallas students only.
TSI: The Texas Success Initiative (formerly TASP) is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. There are two components of the program:
- an assessment to diagnose students' basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing; and
- developmental instruction, to strengthen academic skills that need improvement.
THEA: Texas Higher Education Assessment.