Explanation of Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

Texas Success Initiative

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Law was substantially amended by the Texas Legislature effective August 26, 2013.  The new laws may be different for new students that are beginning college coursework during the Spring 2014 semester or later.  If you have any questions please contact Vernon College Student Services.  The Texas Success Initiative information is covered in depth during New Student Orientations.

The Texas Success Initiative intends to assess a student's College Readiness for college level academic coursework by testing reading, writing, and math ability. 

College Readiness  is a term designated by the State of Texas to indicate a student's ability to successfully enroll and progress in first year college level academic coursework. 

College Readiness Clear or Not Clear-At Vernon College we use the term Clear to designate if a student has passed all 3 areas of the placement test or is exempt.  We also use the term Not Clear if the student has not passed all 3 sections of the TSI Assessment and is required to take developmental coursework.

Vernon College will note on the students' official and unofficial records, if a student is College Readiness Clear or College Readiness Not Clear. 


If you do not meet one of the TSI exemptions listed below and want to take academic coursework you must take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment before you enroll in coursework.  The Texas Success Initiative Assessment is the only approved placement test after August 26, 2013. 

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment is:

  • mandatory for all public colleges and universities in Texas
  • required by the State of Texas to measure your ability to read, write, and do math at a college level  
  • a computerized test consisting of a multiple choice exam as well as a writing sample you will receive your results as soon as you finish the exam
  • will provide you a multipage print out so that you can see in what areas you did well as well as in what areas you did poorly and will be requiring developmental class work 

If a student took another previously state approved placement test and attended a college or university those previously state approved placement test scores can be used.  The scores can only be used because of the previous college enrollment.

All students are now required to take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment unless they meet one of the exemptions listed below.  We encourage you to read the exemptions below carefully to see if you are eligible to claim one of these state approved exemptions.  If you are eligible for one of the exemptions you must bring proof of your exemption to the Vernon College Counseling Office.

Students may be College Readiness Clear if they qualify for one of the following exemptions:

Exemptions using other tests: 

ACT/SAT/TAKS/STAARS EOC Tests-Students who meet the following standards may be exempt from taking the TSI Assessment test if they have valid ACT, SAT, TAKS, or STAAR EOC scores.  It is the student's responsibility to provide official scores to VC to qualify for an exemption prior to enrollment in any college-level courses and prior to expiration of those specific scores.

The minimum exemption standards for these tests are:

Name of Test

Composite Score

English/Verbal Scores

Math Scores

Expiration Date from the date the test is taken


 Combined 1070

500 (Critical Reading score)


5 years


 Composite    23



5 years

TAKS Exit Exam 11th Grade


2200 with Writing Sub-score of 3


5 years



Level II (2000 on reading AND 2000 on writing) on English III EOC exam

Level II (4000) on Algebra II EOC exam

5 years

Other Exemptions: 

Student who transfers to Vernon College from a private institution of higher education or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education and who has       satisfactorily completed college-level coursework may be exempt for portions of the TSI law at Vernon College.   The coursework from the private or out of state institution of higher education must have a prerequisite of reading, writing and/or math for the same class at Vernon College.  A student may be partially TSI clear in reading and writing but not clear in math or vice versa. 

  • Previously graduated with an Associate or Baccalaureate  degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • Enrolling in a certificate program of 1 year or less (less than 42 semester credit hours)
  • Student serving as active duty or active reserves in the US Armed Forces
  • Student honorably discharged from Active Duty in the US Armed Forces after August 1, 1990 (student should provide a copy of a DD214)

Students who are College Readiness Not Clear are mandated to be enrolled in developmental coursework until they have completed their developmental plan. Students will receive their Individual Developmental Plan from the Counseling Office. Students who are College Readiness Not Clear must have their schedules approved by the Vernon College Counseling Office each semester to verify they are following their Individual Developmental Plans and making progress toward completion of the plan.  

The Individual Developmental Plan will be designed on an individual basis to provide the student an appropriate measure to obtain College Readiness Clear status and include:

  • career advising
  • course based and/or non course based developmental education options
  • campus and/or community resources and support services
  • degree plan or plan of study
  • designated point of contact
  • registration information for the next semester
  • differentiated placement
  • a description of the appropriate coursework to ensure college readiness

The Texas Success Initiative Law is administered through the Dean of Student Services Office.  Vernon College makes every effort to make sure the spirit of the law is upheld and the actions of Vernon College benefit the student.  Any questions concerning the Texas Success Initiative Law can be directed to a Vernon College Counselor or the Associate Dean of Student Services.  Any complaints concerning the law should be directed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, your local state legislators, or the Governor of Texas. The annual printing and publication of this catalog may prohibit recent changes to the law being reflected in this document.  Please refer to the Vernon College website or the Vernon College Office of Student Services for more information.


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