Placement and Testing

Degree seeking students applying for admission to Northeast State undergo placement testing in English, reading, and algebra to ensure that each student is academically prepared to enter his or her chosen field of study. Based on placement test scores, a student may be placed in one or more developmental course(s).

Students with transfer credit from another approved, regionally accredited postsecondary institution may waive the English and reading placement tests with a satisfactory grade in English composition and/or waive the algebra placement test with a satisfactory grade in an appropriate college-level mathematics course. Students with transfer credit will receive notification from the Office of Admissions and Records when placement testing is required.

STUDENTS - 20 years old and younger
ACT and/or SAT scores are used for placement screening for students who are 20 years of age and younger. ACT and/or SAT scores must be earned within three years prior to the first day of a student's entering term in college in order to be valid.

High school graduates or GED recipients with an ACT subscore less than 19 in English, math, and/or reading are required to take the COMPASS.

High school graduates or GED recipients without valid ACT or SAT scores are encouraged to take a national ACT or SAT test before enrolling at Northeast State. Students may contact a local high school for registration information or Northeast State's Student Success Center for testing information. The Student Success Center is located in Room C2407 in the General Studies Building on the Blountville campus, at 423.323.0214 or testing@NortheastState.edu.

STUDENTS - 21 years and older
First time college students or transfer students without satisfactory grades in English and/or math are required to take COMPASS Writing Skills and COMPASS Reading tests and/or COMPASS Pre-Algebra/Algebra test.

All placement testing must be completed before students may schedule a date for New Student Orientation.


The COMPASS test is composed of three areas: Writing Skills, Reading, and Pre-Algebra/Algebra. It is computerized and untimed. Students should plan up to 2.5 hours to take all three areas of COMPASS, and less time for only one or two of the areas. COMPASS is a placement test, not a pass/fail test.

Prospective students are encouraged to review sample questions, particularly pre-algebra and algebra before testing. COMPASS sample questions may be accessed by going online to www.NortheastState.edu/assessments and clicking on COMPASS.

The Northeast State application for admission must be processed, and the $10.00 application fee and $5.00 Scheduling Fee must be paid before students may sign up for COMPASS. These fees may be paid through the Northeast State Business Office, or at any Northeast State location. For additional information regarding payment, please call 423.354.2511.

COMPASS testing is administered on the Blountville campus. Day and evening testing times are available. Students are allowed one retest for a fee of $20.00. A minimum two-week waiting period is required between the original test and the retest. Once a student has enrolled in the required course, retesting will not be allowed.

Contact the Student Success Center located in Room C2407 in the General Studies Building on the Blountville campus, at 423.323.0214 or testing@NortheastState.edu For more information or to schedule a placement test. Picture identification is required for entrance to testing.