Planning to enroll in a Texas college for the first time this fall? You may have heard that you need to demonstrate your college readiness through the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). What is the TSI, and how has COVID-19 impacted it? Read on to learn more!

What is the Texas Success Initiative?

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state law that works to ensure that all entering college students have the skills necessary to succeed in college-level reading, writing, and math courses.

You can satisfy TSI requirements by meeting one of these exemptions:

  • ACT: Composite score of 23 or higher with at least a 19 on the English test and at least 19 on the math test
  • SAT: Score of at least 530 on the math section and at least 480 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (this scoring applies to tests taken after March 2016; if you took the test before then, check the required scores here)
  • Successful completion of a College Preparatory course in high school (applies only at the institution of higher education that partners with the school district in which the student is enrolled to provide the course)
  • STAAR: Score of at least 4000 on the English III or Algebra II tests
  • Military: Active duty , service for at least 3 years preceding enrollment, or past service as member of reserve component of the U.S. armed services
  • Certificate: Enrollment in certificate program of one year or less at a public community or technical college (Level One Certificates, 42 or fewer credit hours or equivalent)
  • Transfer: Transfer from another institution having satisfactorily completed college-level coursework, including through dual credit programs, based on receiving institution’s approval

If you do not meet one of these exemptions, under normal circumstances, you would have to take the TSI Assessment (TSIA), but keep reading — the current pandemic has changed things! 

Changes Due to COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, STAAR tests were cancelled this spring, as were SAT and ACT test administrations. As a result, the Commissioner of Higher Education granted a waiver that allows institutions flexibility in placing students in college-level coursework.

If you are unable to meet one of the exemptions above, you have a few options that take into account the special circumstances of COVID-19:

  • Take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). Check with your college adviser and/or high school counselor to see what testing options are available. You may be able to take the test online!
  • Talk to your college adviser about your course enrollment options. There are some options available that your counselor or adviser can discuss with you.

If you decide to take the TSIA, you will need to meet these score requirements:

  • Reading: 351
  • Math: 350
  • Writing:
    • Placement score of at least 340 and essay score of at least 4


    • Placement score of less than 340 and ABE diagnostic level of at least 4 and essay score of at least 5

How can you prepare for the TSIA? Fortunately, you have many learning resources you can use to help you reach these scores:

Still have questions? Text ADVi at 512-829-3687. We’re happy to help!