Screening Tests to Determine Prerequisite Skills






Academic and Student Affairs


(541) 463-5344

Primary Contact

Grant Matthews

Contact Email

Responsible Executive Authority

Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs


This procedure describes the criteria required of an acceptable screening test, and the process departments should follow when requesting that a screening test be established.



  • Screening Test: A test designed to measure the degree to which a student possesses skills assumed to be prerequisite to success in a certain course or group of courses.
  • Criterion Course: The course for which entry skills are being tested.
  • Preparatory Course: Prepares students for a criterion course.


  1. A screening test must validly measure the prerequisite skills for a criterion course. It should be valid for all teachers and all sections of the course.
  2. Cutoff scores must be set so that test scores distinguish effectively between students who possess the prerequisite skills and those who do not.
  3. There must be a preparatory course that teaches the skills required for any criterion course and its screening test.
    1. If students complete a preparatory course with a grade of C or better, they must be permitted to enroll in the criterion course up to a year later. They do not need to pass the screening test. However, they may be required to take the screening test for research purposes.
    2. The preparatory course must be designed so that students with test scores below the cutoff point and with no other proven skill deficiency can successfullly complete it in a reasonable period of time.
    3. The preparatory course must be designed so that students with test scores below the cutoff point, with no other proven skill deficiency, and who complete it have a high probability of success in the criterion course.
    4. A screening test system and the accompanying calibration of preparatory and criterion courses must be continuously evaluated.
  4. When a department desires to establish a screening test, it must write a proposal in consultation with the coordinator of Testing. The vice president Academic and Student Affairs must approve a screening test before it is implemented. The proposal must describe the testing system and explain how it will meet the above requirements. It should address the following topics:
    1. The content and calibration of the preparatory and criterion courses;
    2. The exit skills for the preparatory course and the entry skills for the criterion course;
    3. The content of the testing instrument; its reliability and validity;
    4. Planned procedures (Note rules regarding appeals, retesting, study information, waivers, and exceptions);
    5. Evaluation plan; and
    6. Estimated costs in time and money.

Date Adopted

Saturday, May 1, 1999

Date Last Reviewed

Sunday, September 1, 2002