Placement Tests

While placement tests aren't required for every student, they can still be a useful tool to help determine which class is best for you.

There is no “pass” or “fail” on a placement test. The tests are designed to measure your current knowledge and understanding of an academic subject, so you can get the right level of instruction and succeed in the classes you take.

In some instances, you may be required to take a placement test

  • If you did not attend high school in the United States
  • If you have not yet completed 11th grade in the United States
  • If you've been given a placement based on your high school transcript, but you would like to see if you can qualify for a higher-level course

To make an appointment for testing, visit our Appointments webpage.

Math Placement Test

Math Test Overview

De Anza offers the Accuplacer Classic multi-level (Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra and College Level) math placement tests and De Anza Calculus Readiness Test from which students choose their starting level.

  • You should be prepared to choose your starting math level at the beginning of the testing session.

  • Upon completion of the starting level, if you don't earn a placement you will be asked to take the next appropriate test level.

Review the Math Test Level Descriptions and STUDY Guides.

After taking the math placement test, students will receive a placement into the math course sequence.

Testing Necessities

  • Make an appointment!

    • Upon appointment confirmation, you will receive an email with directions to the Testing Lab, RSS 146.
  • You must present a valid photo id (driver's license, high school or college id card, etc.) at check in.

  • Also, bring a few pencils.

  • Scratch paper will be provided.

Math Retest Policy

After taking the initial, or first, test students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking placement.

    • After taking the placement test at either Foothill or De Anza College, students may retake the Math placement test one time at either Foothill or De Anza College – not both – within a six-month period of the initial date of placement.

    • Students may enroll in the classes noted from their first placement test or from the retest.
    • Placement test results do not expire. However, a student may choose to retest two years from the last recorded placement test date if the student has not earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.

Math Testing for International Students

F-1 Visa Students should visit the International Student Office before making an appointment to take a placement test.

Placement Testing Overview for International Students

Language Arts Tests (English & ESL)

Language Arts Survey

Before beginning a Language Arts test, students are given a 10-question computerized survey which provides students with a recommendation to take the Native English placement test or English as a Second Language (ESL) Learner placement test.

Which Language Arts test is right for me?

If you are unsure about which test to take, answer the below questions:

  1. Have you completed at least six years of education, including high school, in schools where all your subjects were taught in English?

  2. Do you usually speak English with your friends and/or co-workers?

If you answered 'No' to the above questions, then you are an English learner and the ESL test is right for you!

Why Should You Take the ESL Assessment?

  • If you choose to take the English test and you earn an 'ESL test advised' result, you will be required to come back to the Assessment Center and take the ESL test. This can delay your registration by 2 to 3 weeks.

  • If you take the ESL test and earn an ESL 272 & 273 result or higher, you will automatically become eligible to attempt the English test.

Why Should You Take ESL Classes?

ESL classes give you the skills you need as an English learner to be successful in all college classes.

ESL instructors have special training to better help you be successful in college.

ESL Course Sequence vs. English Course Sequence

If your test result place you... ESL classes English and Reading Classes

Two Levels Below College Writing  

ESL 261 (3 units) ESL 262 (3 units) ESL 263 (4 units)

EWRT 200 (5 units) READ 200 (5 units)

One Level Below College Writing

ESL 272 (5 units) ESL 273 (5 units)

EWRT 211 (5 units) READ 211 (5 units)

College Writing Level

ESL 5 (5 units)

EWRT 1A (5 units)

Language Arts Testing for International Students

F-1 Visa Students should visit the International Student Office before making an appointment to take a placement test.

Placement Testing Overview for International Students

English Test

English Test Overview

De Anza offers the Accuplacer Classic Reading Composition and Sentence Skills test and the De Anza English writing sample. This test is appropriate for native English speakers and multilingual students who have completed at least six years of education, including high school, in schools where all subjects were taught in English.

Review the English Test Description and STUDY Guides.

After taking the English test, student receive a placement into the English Writing (EWRT) & English Reading (READ) course sequences.

Testing Necessities

  • Make an appointment!

    • Upon appointment confirmation, you will receive an email with directions to the Testing Lab, RSS 146.
  • You must present a valid photo id (driver's license, high school or college id card, etc.) at check in.

  • Also, bring a few pencils.

  • Scratch paper will be provided.

English Retest Policy

After taking the initial, or first, test students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking placement.

  • After taking the placement test at either Foothill or De Anza College, students may retake the English Writing and English Reading placement test one time at either Foothill or De Anza College - not both - within a six-month period of the initial date of placement.

  • Students may enroll in the classes noted from their first placement test or from the retest.

  • Placement test results do not expire. However, a student may choose to retest two years from the last recorded placement test date if the student has not earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.

ESL English as a Second Language (ESL) Test

ESL Test Overview

De Anza offers the CELSA ESL placement test and the De Anza ESL writing sample. This test is appropriate for students interested in learning English and who have NOT completed at least six years of education, including high school, in schools where all subjects were taught in English.

Review the ESL Test Description and STUDY Guides.

After taking the ESL test, students receive a placement in the ESL course sequence.

Testing Necessities

  • Make an appointment!

    • Upon appointment confirmation, you will receive an email with directions to the Testing Lab, RSS 146.
  • You must present a valid photo id (driver's license, high school or college id card, etc.) at check in.

  • Also, bring a few pencils.

  • Scratch paper will be provided.

ESL Retest Policy

After taking the initial, or first, test students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking placement.

  • Because Foothill and De Anza offer different ESL placement tests, students are allowed one initial ESL test, and one ESL retest at Foothill and De Anza College.

  • The ESL retest must occur within a six-month period of the initial date of placement.

  • Students may enroll in the classes noted from their first placement test or from the retest.

  • Placement test results do not expire. However, a student may choose to retest two (2) years from the last recorded placement test date if the student has not earned a D, F, NP or I grade in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.

Adult Education for English Learners

De Anza's ESL Course Sequence starts at the High Beginning level. If you are need beginning English learner courses, review the ESL Adult Education Resources for free ESL course information.

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