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Massachusetts State Policy: Mandatory Assessment and Planned Course Placement

Academic Assessment Policies

Academic Assessment at NECC is defined as a test of a student’s abilities in reading, writing, math, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education mandates that all students entering state colleges must complete an assessment in order to determine basic skills levels for course placement. Based on assessment results, a student may be required to initially enroll in one or more developmental or ESL courses in order to prepare for college level course work.
Assessment and planned course placement are required for students who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Students enrolling in a degree or certificate program (matriculated students).
  • Students enrolling in the following courses: English Composition I; college level math; developmental reading, writing, and math; ESL; all courses with numbers beginning with zero; and all other courses with entrance level skills requirements. Please refer to the course description to determine if an assessment is required for a particular course.
  • Non matriculated students will be allowed to register for up to two courses(*), prior to assessment (with the exception of those courses listed above.)

Expiration of Accuplacer Assessment Results

All developmental reading, writing, math and ESL course placements are valid for one year from the date of assessment.

College level placements in reading, writing and math are valid for three years from the date of assessment.

Assessment Waivers

Students with prior college credits or SAT scores may be eligible for a partial or full waiver of the Assessment. Waivers are granted based on review of SAT transcripts, CLEP and Advanced Placement (AP) Transcripts. Contact Enrollment Services at 978-556-3700, stop in one of the Academic Advising Centers or stop in to the Academic Placement & Testing Center to inquire about the waiver process.

Assessment Methods

Reading, math and writing assessments are administered with the state-mandated Accuplacer test, a web-based assessment system. Students who apply for enrollment in English Language courses will be assessed with the Accuplacer LOEP reading test and specialized grammar, writing and communication assessments.

Math Placement GPA

In accordance with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Task Force on Transforming Developmental Math Education recommendations, all 2014 high school graduates and beyond will be eligible for a math placement based on their high school GPA or Accuplacer.

  • All students planning to enroll in Spring, 2015 classes or beyond should submit their final high school transcript as part of the application process.
  • Accuplacer testing will still be required for entry into most courses. Students required to test should complete the Reading, Writing and Sentence Skills portion of the Accuplacer test. Please Note: We strongly encourage all students to also take the math test at this time so that we may properly evaluate academic skills levels and help them register for the most appropriate math course.
  • Students whose overall GPA is 2.7 or higher and meet the necessary reading prerequisite may register for an entry level college level math course, regardless of a developmental math placement with the Accuplacer test. For example, the GPA places the student into College Algebra & Trigonometry/Applied Technical Math but Accuplacer places the student into Basic Algebra II. The student will be eligible to register for College Algebra & Trigonometry/Applied Technical Math but also has the option to register for Basic Algebra II.
  • High School GPAs will be accepted for 3 years from the date of graduation.
  • The Accuplacer test can place students at a higher level than the GPA placement. Therefore, it is in their best interest to take the test.
  • Only transcripts that are calculated on a scale of 4.0 will be used for this pilot. All others will be required to take Accuplacer.
  • Anyone who falls outside of the 2014 graduation criteria, does not have a GPA noted on the transcript or does not provide a transcript will be required to take the Accuplacer math test for placement.

Writing Placement GPA

In the Spring of 2019, Northern Essex Community College will participate in a pilot project that has been informed by the work of the Massachusetts Department of High Education English Subcommittee of the Corequisite at Scale Initiative.

In accordance with the state’s anticipated recommendations, all high school graduates will be eligible for placement into English Composition 1 based on their high school GPA as one of the assessment measures in English. The pilot study will begin with all new, first time students who are enrolling in Spring 2019 courses.

  • All students planning to enroll in Spring 2019 classes or beyond should submit their final high school transcript as part of the application process.
  • Students will still be required to take the Accuplacer Reading test to determine whether they meet the necessary reading prerequisites for required courses.
  • Students whose overall GPA is 2.7 or higher and meet the necessary reading prerequisite may register for English Composition I (*excludes Honors Comp.)
  • High School GPA’s will be accepted for 10 years after the student high school graduation date.  For this pilot, eligibility begins with a high school graduation date of 2008.
  • The pilot begins with new students enrolling for Spring 2019. GPA placement will not be retroactive for any students who are currently enrolled.
  • Calculations for the pilot will be based on the standard 4.0 scale only, regardless if the High School is on a 5.0 scale. All others will be required to take Accuplacer.
  • Anyone who falls outside the above stated criteria, does not have a GPA noted on the transcript or does not provide a transcript will be required to take Accuplacer.

Special Accommodations for Assessments

Students with documented disabilities should contact the Learning Accommodations Center to arrange for special accommodations well in advance of their assessment date.

Accuplacer Fax/Email Information for Scores

There is a $25.00 ACCUPLACER Fax/Email Fee for anyone who has taken the ACCUPLACER at NECC and is requesting that scores be faxed, emailed or mailed to another institution.

Registration Steps (1-2)

  1. Complete the required Request to have ACCUPLACER Scores Released form.
  2. Submit a non-refundable NECC Fee of $25.00. There are 3 options: Online, Walk-in or Mail-in.

Use One of These Three Methods to Make Your Payment



Click Register through our FlexReg scheduling system to pay your fee by credit card. You must sign in or create an account for FlexReg. If you are a current student, your username is your NECC ID and your password is your Self-Service password. If you do not remember your password, contact the Service Desk and they will reset your password to your date of birth and you will then be able to reset it. The registration cycle is January-December of each year. During each registration cycle, first time requests select Accuplacer Fax/Email Request Fee-Test One. If you have made a previous request at NECC, select Accuplacer Fax/Email Request Fee – Test Two, Test Three.

When using FlexReg Pop-Up Blockers must be disabled to enable registration and payment using FlexReg. Users must have the Adobe Flash Player installed on their computer. When using FlexReg for your online payment, do NOT X out of the windows until you have completed the entire process. Once you register and the payment process is complete, you can then Sign Out.

Do not close any windows throughout the FlexReg process. Leave your FlexReg window open and your TouchNet Payment window open until you have completed the payment process.

You will receive two (2) emails upon completion of your FlexReg process; one for your Course Registration and the second one for your TouchNet Payment confirmation. Do NOT close any windows until you receive these two (2) emails. Once you receive the two (2) emails, you can Sign Out. Do NOT X out.



Come to the Academic Placement & Testing Center. You can make your payment for your registration fees by credit card, money order or check at the time you walk-in.



Mail in a money order only, made payable to NECC, for $25.00 to Northern Essex Community College, Academic Placement & Testing Center, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill, MA  01830.

Your request will be processed when your registration form and payment is received and authorized.

Accepting Accuplacer Faxed Scores

NECC will accept an Accuplacer Individual Score Report (ISR) raw scores only. We do not accept placements. You can walk-in to the Academic Placement & Testing Center with your official ISR or have your institution fax the ISR to NECC, please have the institution fax your ACCUPLACER scores to: Northern Essex Community College, Academic Placement & Testing Center, Fax number 978-556-3169 or

Accuplacer Prohibited Item Guidelines

Must be stored away where the item is not accessible or visible while taking the test

  • Any device capable of recording audio, photographic, or video content, or capable of viewing or playing back such content
  • Unauthorized testing aids
  • Calculators (unless for a prescribed accommodation)
  • Test taker provided keyboard, computer, or laptop, unless there is a documented disabling condition that requires the use of a very specific device
  • Cellular phones, tablets, pagers, smartphones, walkie-talkies, PDAs, or wireless communication devices
  • Dictionaries (standard and/or bilingual), books, pamphlets, or other reference materials
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital watches, smartwatches, or wristwatch cameras
  • Flash/thumb drives or any other portable electronic device
  • Food, beverages, or tobacco products
  • Listening devices such as radios, media players (with or without headphones), or recorders
  • Nonmedical electronic devices
  • Paper of any kind (scratch paper must be provided and destroyed by the test center proctor; test takers cannot use or discard their own scratch paper)
  • Slide rules, protractors, compasses, or rulers
  • Weapons, firearms, or other items prohibited by law or test center/campus safety and security policies

If the tester does not adhere to the prohibited item guidelines, the proctor will inform the test taker to collect their personal belongings, including the prohibited item and to leave the testing lab. The testers test results will not be valid.

More Information

For more information on policies and regulations, email

Courses are limited and must be selected from an approved list. The list is updated on a regular basis and is available in the Career Planning and Advising Center.

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