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Office of Academic Testing
CUNY Proficiency Requirements
The City University of New York (CUNY) requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in English (reading and writing) and math in order to enroll in credit-bearing courses in the associated subject. Students may establish proficiency in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, meeting benchmark scores on the SAT, ACT, and New York State Regents exams.
Starting with the spring 2020 entering class, students who do not meet benchmark scores will no longer be administered a placement test; rather, CUNY will use a proficiency index to determine developmental education assignment. The proficiency index combines overall high school grade point average with SAT and/or Regents exam scores. There are separate proficiency indexes for English and math. See the CUNY testing website for the benchmark scores that demonstrate proficiency.
Proficiency index scores that fall below the benchmark scores indicate students are in need of some type of developmental support. Students who do not meet the index score for English will be enrolled in a co-requisite English course; for math, students will be enrolled in our two-semester credit-bearing Statistics course.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement
Freshman applicants who have spent at least six months or more in an institution where English is not the primary language of instruction are flagged as potential ESL via the CUNY admissions process. ESL students who meet the CUNY benchmark scores on the SAT, ACT, or New York State Regents will be deemed proficient in English and/or math, regardless of where they attended high school. ESL students who do not meet the benchmark scores in math will be assessed via the proficiency index in math; for English proficiency, ESL students will be evaluated in the following way:
- ESL students who do not have a New York State English Regents score will not be assessed via the English proficiency index. Students will be required to take the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) to determine reading and writing proficiency and appropriate course placement.
- ESL students who have a New York State English Regents score will be assessed via the English proficiency index. Students who do not meet the English proficiency index benchmark score will be required to take the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) to determine appropriate course placement.