English (Writing) Placement Testing

ACT or SAT scores must be within 2 years from the time a student is accepted and confirmed to Shippensburg University in order to determine whether placement testing is required.

 The English (Writing) Placement Test is required for first-year students whose English SAT sub-score is ≤25 or whose ACT - English Sections is ≤18.

The English Placement Test involves writing a general knowledge essay and assesses your ability to write. You do not need to make any special preparation for this essay, but we've listed below some information to help you review. You will have the opportunity to create outlines, maps, or rough drafts. The test is untimed but should NOT take any longer than 60-90 minutes. Only your final submission will be evaluated.

Review Options

See the English department’s website for recommendations and a video (also displayed below) on how to review for the English Placement Test.

After Placement Testing

Faculty members from the English Department will review your essay. They will evaluate your ability to understand and respond to the assignment, to write a coherent and reasonably well-organized essay, and to control errors. Your score will be posted in your MyShip portal

Based on writing placement test scores, students will enroll in one of three classes: ENG 050, ENG 106, or ENG 110. Students who will benefit from smaller classes and remedial instruction will place in ENG 050: Basic Writing. Students must earn a grade of “C” or higher to satisfy the developmental writing placement. 

If you place into developmental writing (ENG 050), you should know that developmental courses do not count toward graduation. However, these credits are included in determining a student’s class standing, and the grades are computed in the student's GPA.

Whenever possible, students are encouraged to remediate any developmental placement before beginning classes at Ship. In order to successfully move on to the college level, students must earn a grade of “C” or higher or its equivalent. Those who earn below a “C” must repeat the course the next immediate semester.

Frequently, students who test into a developmental level do not sufficiently review prior to testing. Please access and review all available resources.  

It is important to take placement test(s) as early as possible so that you have time to remediate before beginning classes at Ship if necessary. 

Remediation Options

For many students, a developmental placement may be satisfied via coursework at their local community college. If you take a course at your local community college: 

  • You must complete the course and earn a “C” or better.
  • You must have an official transcript sent to the Shippensburg University Admissions Office at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester.
  • We recommend you contact your Admissions counselor to verify the course will satisfy the developmental writing requirement before you register for it.

Upon successful completion of ENG 050, students must then complete ENG 106: Writing Intensive First Year Seminar, the required composition course for graduation. It is recommended that students schedule ENG 106 the next immediate semester after passing ENG 050. More advanced writers and those students whose writing SAT writing is 650 or above will be advised to enroll in ENG 110: Advanced Placement Writing.