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Testing, Placement, and Assessment Procedure - 50.03.05

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College’s (HCC) test center provides examinees with available, secure, accessible, and professional testing services and resources to enable participation in educational, career, and professional pursuits.  The test center allows HCC students and other test takers to demonstrate knowledge, achieve certification, engage in professional development, enhance competencies, and partake in lifelong learning in an optimal testing environment.

Academic Testing

Howard Community College Exams

The test center at HCC is available for makeup exams, exams for online courses, departmental and college-wide outcomes assessments, and for students requiring modified testing conditions due to learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or other appropriate circumstances.

The test center does not administer whole class exams except in the case of online courses or under extraordinary circumstances.  Exceptions must be requested by faculty and approved in advance by the director of testing or designee. 

Faculty and staff must follow procedures for submitting exams and related instructions to the test center. A test information form detailing administration instructions and deadlines must accompany all exams.  With the exception of extended testing time, all accommodations for students with disabilities must be arranged with disability support services or student support services, which will ensure that the appropriate accommodations are addressed in conjunction with the instructor and the test center.

Students taking academic makeup exams do not need an appointment; testing is handled on a walk-in basis during general office hours. It is each student’s responsibility to arrive at the test center with enough time remaining to complete the exam before the center closes.  All exams must be returned at the posted closing time regardless of the time allocated for the exam. All students must present a valid picture identification card with a current photo.  Students must know their professor’s name, course number, and title of the assessment they will be taking. The test center staff will enforce the instructions, time limit, and deadlines given by the instructor on the test information form.

Registered HCC students who are taking HCC e-Learning courses and would like to test at other institutions must obtain approval from the course instructor, complete the off-site testing application, identify a National College Testing Association (NCTA) partner institution, and obtain permission from the HCC director of testing or designee for testing arrangements.  Students are responsible for any fees charged by other institutions for proctoring services.

Proctoring Services

Proctored testing is available during the test center’s general office hours for individuals who need to have exams proctored on behalf of other institutions.  Students attending other institutions who are interested in utilizing the HCC test center for exam proctoring must email the test center for approval prior to having the exams administered.  The test center will work with the student’s institution to ensure receipt of exams, proctoring instructions, and any institution-specific requirements.  No subsequent approval is needed once a student establishes the HCC test center as a proctoring site.  A proctoring fee is charged to the student for each non-HCC exam administered.  Information about the fee is available on the college’s test center web page and in appropriate publications. 

College-Level Achievement Tests

The test center administers the College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP), and the DSST (formerly known as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests), both of which give students the opportunity to earn college credit for what they have learned outside of the traditional classroom.  A fee is charged by the College Board for each CLEP exam; Prometric charges a fee per DSST exam.  DSST fees must be paid by credit card at the time of test administration, whereas CLEP fees must be paid online in advance on the College Board website.  An additional institutional proctoring fee must be paid to the college cashier prior to administration of the test.  Students must bring proof of payment with them at the time of testing. Information about these fees is available on the test center web page and in appropriate publications. All fees are subject to change.

In order to ensure credit for CLEP and DSST exams, students, including HCC students, are advised to contact their institution’s admissions or advising offices prior to taking an exam to determine the appropriate exam and required score.  The exams are generally offered year-round, except during final exam weeks and peak placement testing periods.

Placement Exams

Students may demonstrate their readiness for college-level coursework through multiple measures including placement exams.  Howard Community College offers testing to determine students’ placement in English and mathematics as one of the means to determine college readiness.  Other measures that Howard Community College may use to determine college readiness include an unweighted cumulative high school GPA, certain grades in high school mathematics courses, SAT and ACT test scores, and the PARCC test score.  At the time the HCC application is submitted, all students should submit official copies of the high school transcript, SAT scores, ACT scores, and PARCC scores (that apply) for college readiness evaluation. For more information about multiple measures, visit the college website at

Multiple measures for college readiness are generally reviewed upon admission to the college. If these measures do not qualify the student for college-level courses then placement exams are generally taken.  All students are required to demonstrate college readiness through multiple measures or through placement testing by the time they have completed 12 credits, regardless of academic goal.  Anyone seeking admission to clinical nursing courses must take the English placement test, unless a bachelor’s degree was previously earned from an accredited United States institution.

Howard Community College uses the untimed ACCUPLACER and timed ALEKS PPL test to provide students with information about their academic skills in math, reading, and writing.  The results of the assessment are used to determine placement for students in English and math courses and courses with English or math prerequisites.  Some placement retests may involve testing methods other than ACCUPLACER and ALEKS PPL based on student scores and as determined by English and mathematics division policies.  Advisors meet with students to discuss their test results and course placements as well as other considerations based on placement results.  No fees are charged for students who have been admitted to HCC or those being tested as a result of institutional initiatives or outcomes assessments.

Professional Certification Exams

The test center is an authorized site for many industry and corporate certifications.  Registration and exam-specific fees are handled by contacting the appropriate vendor.

Clinical Nursing Admission Assessment

Howard Community College uses the HESI exam to assess clinical nursing applicants prior to admission to the program. Advisors are available to meet with students and review assessment results immediately after testing.  Minimum required passing scores are set by the nurse education program and are subject to change.  Students who do not meet the minimum required scores are permitted to take the test up to three times in an academic year and must wait 90 days between attempts. A fee is charged to the student for testing administration.  Prior to the registration deadline, students must register for testing through the office of admissions and advising and pay the testing fee to the college cashier or register and pay online.  Students must bring proof of payment with them at the time of testing.  Information about these fees is available on the test center web page and in appropriate publications. 

LPN - RN Mobility Exam

Howard Community College administers the LPN - RN mobility exam as part of the process of determining advanced standing in the licensed practical nurse (LPN) pathways program.  Further information may be obtained through the office of admissions and advising.

Academic Honesty and Testing Irregularities

The student code of conduct policies are strictly enforced in the test center.  The staff monitors testing carefully in order to encourage academic honesty.  Cameras, monitors, and computer surveillance software are also in use. Incidents involving student misconduct or other suspected irregularities will be reported to the instructor or appropriate testing authority who will act in accordance with the college’s policies, which include academic honesty and the student code of conduct, as well as test center policies.  The test center staff does not adjudicate such events; rather, it observes and reports behavior as appropriate.


Permission to be in the Test Center

Under no circumstances may the examinee bring children or other persons into the testing area.  Individuals involved in accommodations for students with disabilities will be permitted in the test center after making previous arrangements with disability student services and the test center director or designee.

Testing Supplies

All calculators, pens, pencils, erasers, scrap paper, and any other supplies required for testing will be provided by the test center.  The test center has a large array of calculators and testing supplies used in all HCC academic courses, including those for students with disabilities.

Prohibited/Restricted Items

All personal items must be placed in lockers including books, notes, pens, pencils, calculators, cellular telephones, electronic devices, listening and recording devices, purses, wallets, watches and keys.  Unless worn for religious or medical reasons, all hats and head coverings must be removed and stored in a locker.  The tester’s ears must be shown to a testing administrator in a private setting to ensure that no recording or listening devices are present.


All examinees must present a current HCC student identification card or photo identification card from another academic institution, or unexpired government-issued photo identification document (e.g., driver’s license or passport) with a current photo.  No exceptions to this requirement will be made.

Effective Date:  02/14/20

President's Office Use:  VPSS/VPAA - CAT

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