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TBR Guidelines



A-100 – Outline

I. Assessment and Placement Procedures

A. Screening by ACT/SAT 2

B. Requirements for Program Assessment and Placement 2

1. Students Under 21 Years of Age 2

2. Students 21 Years of Age or Older 2

3. Transfer Students 2

4. Non-Degree Seeking Students 3

5. GED Credential 3

6. High School (1989) Deficiencies 3

7. International Students 3

8. Screening Adjustments 3

II. Program Design

A. Program Elements

1. Instructional Components 4

Table with Rubrics and Numbers 4

2. Administrative Coordination and Oversight 4

3. Positive Learning Environment 5

B. Policies and Procedures

1. DSP as Prerequisite 5

2. Concurrent Enrollment in College-level and DSP 5

3. Grades 5

4. Options 5

5. Withdrawal from DSP 5

6. Transfer of Assessment Test Scores, Placement and Reports 5

III. Faculty and Staff Selection and Development

A. Credentials 6

B. Faculty and Staff Assignment 6

C. Professional Development 6

IV. Program Evaluation

A. Process 6

B. Standards 6




The A-100 Guidelines are reviewed by the Developmental Studies Program (DSP) Directors/Coordinators and the appropriate Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) sub-councils and they are approved by TBR Presidents. They are intended to provide general information about the DSP and to serve as uniform standards for administration of the DSP within the TBR system.


· Appropriate assessment is required for enrollment in DSP.

· "Learning Strategies" as a course, or through a focus on study skills development, is required for students who place in two subject areas.

A. Screening by ACT/SAT

· Assessment decisions are based on valid ACT/SAT scores. Standard ACT scores used for placement decisions in the TBR system must be made available by the DSP coordinator upon request.

· Valid ACT/SAT scores are those earned within three years prior to the first day of a student's entering term.

· No program assessment is required of any student with a valid ACT composite score of 26 or higher.

· ACT/SAT scores, when available, will be used as the first-line tool for placement. Other assessment and/or diagnostic instruments may be used as secondary or challenge tests to provide for optimal placement decisions.

B. Requirements for Assessment and Placement

Assessment Criteria:

1. Degree-seeking Students less than 21 years of age will be assessed for DSP placement according to ACT scores.
An ACT score that is less than 19 in the subject areas of reading, writing, or math will require placement in DSP or further assessment.

2. Degree-seeking Students 21 Years of Age or Older (who are not required to submit ACT scores)

· may submit valid ACT/SAT scores and will be placed accordingly, or

· will be required to complete assessment tests in reading, writing, and math.

3. Transfer Students

· Students without college level English composition credit will be assessed in writing based on a valid ACT score or other appropriate assessment test.

· Students without college level algebra-based mathematics credit will be assessed in mathematics based on a valid ACT score or other appropriate assessment test.

4. Non-Degree seeking Students

· Students without college level English composition credit will be assessed in writing prior to enrollment in college level English or any course with English as a prerequisite.

· Students without college level algebra-based mathematics credit will be assessed in mathematics prior to enrollment in college level math or any course with math as a prerequisite.

· Students who change to degree-seeking status will be screened under guidelines for degree seeking students.

5. Students entering with the GED credential must complete assessment tests in reading, writing, and math or they may present a valid ACT score.

6. Students with High School Deficiencies (A list of specified high school unit requirements must be available upon request.)

· Deficiencies in English or mathematics units may be removed by

o scoring at college level on assessment tests used for placement,

o completing DSP requirements, or

o other approved methods. (see Guideline A-015).

7. International Students

· May submit valid ACT/SAT scores then follow appropriate guidelines, or

· Must complete assessment tests in reading, writing, and math.

8. Screening Adjustments

· Students who are not required to undergo assessment may request testing.

· Instructors may recommend testing for students who did not undergo assessment but later showed deficiencies.

· Students who have been assessed may be moved within the program based on further holistic assessment such as

o evaluation of high school transcripts;

o additional diagnostic testing

o provisions for open entry/early exit. (See DSP coordinator for options.)

· Re-testing for assessment may be available for an additional fee. (See DSP coordinator for options and approval to retest.)

A. Program Elements – The DSP is an integral part of the institution's mission and academic program. The DSP must include the provision of appropriate assistance for academic success.

1. Instructional Components

Credit Hours. As of Fall 2004 the total number of course credit hours listed in the catalog as comprising the DSP must not exceed 24 semester credit hours, and no single DSP course can exceed 3 semester credit hours. However, DSP courses may be combined to provide a fast track option resulting in fewer credit hours.

Completion of DSP requirements at any TBR institution will be honored at all TBR institutions regardless of credit hours assigned to individual courses or interventions used to complete the DSP requirements. Credit courses may not be available at all TBR institutions.

Common rubrics and numbers are listed below:

Basic Courses



Third DSP Math



DSPW 0700

Basic Writing

DSPW 0800

Developmental Writing


DSPM 0700

Basic Mathematics

DSPM 0800

Elementary Algebra

DSPM 0850

Intermediate Algebra


DSPR 0700

Basic Reading

DSPR 0800

Developmental Reading

Learning Strategies

DSPS 0800

Learning Strategies

2. Administrative Coordination and Oversight – The DSP will have a director or a designated person who coordinates the program.

3. Positive Learning Environments – Enhancement of learning through the use of alternative instructional techniques and/or technologies must be incorporated into the DSP. It is recommended that class size be limited to 20 students in the basic courses and 25 students in developmental courses and that individual assistance is made available to students. DSP options must be available to move students through the program as quickly as possible. Therefore, each TBR institution is encouraged to develop alternatives to the prescribed courses.
B. Policies and Procedures

1. Students placing in the DSP will satisfactorily complete
DSP requirements during their initial terms of enrollment.

2. Institutions must identify DSP prerequisites or co- requisites for college-level courses. Students who
have been assessed and found to be deficient in prerequisite skills
must remove those deficiencies by either of the following
interventions: 1) removing those deficiencies prior to enrolling in the
specific course(s) requiring those skills, or 2) participating fully in
other options required by the institution that will provide the support
needed to achieve academic success while concurrently enrolled in
course(s) requiring those skills.

3. Successful completion of DSP competencies is required for progression to the next higher level. In DSP courses a grade of C or higher is required for progression to the course at the next higher level. Students are not allowed to audit DSP courses.

4. DSP options other than courses may be available. Each institution should identify for students, and advise students of such options when they are appropriate. Successful completion of DSP competencies, through options other than DSP courses, may be established by the institution and recorded on the student's transcript without the assignment of standard grades.

5. Withdrawal from DSP may delay completion; therefore, persistence in the program is essential. Students placed and enrolled in DSP should not withdraw except for serious circumstances and with the concurrence of the DSP coordinator.

6. Transfer of Assessment Test Scores, Placement, and Enrollment Reports. The sending institution must provide assessment test scores for students when requested. Additionally, when a transcript is requested, the institution must also send placement and enrollment status reports for transferring students.


A. Credentials. Specialized instructional demands of DSP courses and other interventions require that DSP faculty should have appropriate background, training, and experience. Minimal criteria should meet the SACS guidelines for faculty.

SACS guidelines state that the institution must employ "competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty…the institution considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes."

B. Faculty and Staff Assignment to the Program. The institutional faculty handbook and policies should apply to DSP faculty in the same manner as they apply to other faculty on campus.

C. Professional Development. Continual professional development and training of faculty and staff is essential to program success, and funds must be allocated to those activities in the same manner as is provided for all faculty on campus.


A. Program evaluation must be a continuous process. The institution is responsible for supplying all information required by the TBR First-Time Freshman Reports and Retention Reports used for program evaluation. Evaluation will be based on a set of objective and qualitative standards. The DSP will be evaluated at least once every five years. The evaluation will compare the following DSP components with national standards:

1. overall program quality and effectiveness;

2. quality and effectiveness of each program component;

3. administrator, faculty, and staff effectiveness; and

4. student retention, performance, and persistence.

B. Specific standards comparable to national standards (e.g. NADE's Self-Evaluation Guides, NCTM, NCTE, AMATYC) for each program component must be established, published, and maintained.

Sources: August 14, 1990 Presidents' Meeting; February 9, 1993 Presidents' Meeting; August 8, 1995 Presidents' Meeting; November 12, 1996 Presidents' Meeting; August 8, 2000 Presidents' Meeting; February 13, 2001 Presidents' Meeting; May 21, 2002 Presidents' Meeting; November 6, 2002 Presidents' Meeting