Many Texas college-bound students must take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSI exam) prior to being able to enroll in college programs.
The TSI Assessment contains three subtests in the subject fields on math, reading, and writing.
Test-takers that have military backgrounds or who scored sufficiently on other college-entrance exams like, for example, the ACT, SAT, TAKS, or STAAR, do not have to sit for the TSI Assessment.
Additionally, college-bound students who took the GED test and scored in the ‘college-ready’ and ‘college-ready plus credits’ range, can be exempted.
All Texas public colleges and universities administer the TSI Assessment. The schools want to be sure that all new students meet at least the requirements to attend college courses successfully.
Students who receive low scores on the TSI Assessment must take remedial English and/or Math courses before they’re allowed to enroll in the schools’ academic courses.
Each of the three TSI subject tests has 20 to 24 questions. All questions in the Math and Reading subtests are in the multiple-choice format.
The TSI Writing part begins with questions on punctuation and grammar (multiple-choice) after which the students must write their 300-600 word essays.
The TSI Assessment is a computer-adaptive test that raises or lowers the question level based on a test-taker’s previous answers. The TSI Assessment is not a timed exam.
What is in the Writing section?
The TSI Writing part begins with 20 multiple-choice questions. When that’s done, students need to produce a 5-paragraph essay of between 300 and 600 words in length. The multiple-choice section covers:
Correct grammar and punctuation – These questions cover subject-verb agreement, correct comma and period usage, nouns and pronouns, and so on.
Agreement – This addresses issues that come when pronouns replace nouns. If a noun is singular (e.g. the desk clerk, a new car) pronoun replacements must be singular too (he, she, it). Students must demonstrate proficiency in the identification of subjects and verbs in sentences and in recognizing singular and plural nouns and pronouns.
Agreement relates to consistency – When the subject in a sentence is singular, the verb form needs to match that. For example, in the sentence Randy and Barry is/are nephews, Randy and Barry are two persons, so plural. So the plural form of the verb (“are”) should be used. In short sentences, agreement questions are usually pretty easy. However, when a sentence includes dependent clauses or modifying phrases, it may get a bit complicated.
Punctuation questions – These questions deal with, in general, endings and beginnings sentences. Exclamation marks, periods, semi-colons, and question marks are placed at the end of a sentence. Commas are indication interruptions.
Revision questions – These require students to apply the things they have learned about sentence structure and how to best rewrite a sentence. Let’s look at the sentence After spending the entire day in her bedroom in her pajamas, Charlene awakened suddenly. Do you think that the word sequence in this sentence is logical? If you do, your answer would be “no change.” If you think not, you should select a better or the best version.
Essay – At the beginning of the TSI writing essay part, students will receive a prompt that relates to some contemporary topic. Personal opinions are irrelevant here and are not asked.
Students need to write about arguments that are provided in the text. They must produce a 5-paragraph essay that has an introduction that includes the thesis statement indicating their position on the topic. Then there should be three paragraphs with supporting details and arguments provided in the text. The fifth paragraph contains the conclusion. See also this post: TSI Study Guide
Last Updated on September 12, 2020