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 less or whose ACT - English Sections is 18 or less.

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 113, ENG 114, or ENG 115. Students who will benefit from smaller classes and remedial instruction will place in ENG 113: Introduction to Academic Writing. Students must earn a grade of “C” or higher to satisfy the developmental writing placement. 

Developmental writing (ENG 113), is a 3-credit bearing course that counts toward the 120 credits required for graduation; however, it does not count as the required writing proficiency class. This proficiency requirement can only be fulfilled by taking ENG 114: Academic Writing.

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.

Students are encouraged to enroll in the following courses at local community colleges to earn ENG 113 credit.

Harrisburg Community College: ENG 051: “Fundamentals of College Writing II”
Hagerstown Community College: ENG 100: “Beginning Composition”
Bucks Community College: COMP 107: “Introduction to Academic Writing”
Montgomery Community College: ENG 101: “English Composition I”
Northhampton Community College: ENGL 101: “English I”

Upon successful completion of ENG 113, students must then complete ENG 114: Academic Writing, the required composition course for graduation. It is recommended that students schedule ENG 114 the next immediate semester after passing ENG 113. More advanced writers and those students whose SAT writing is 650 or above will be advised to enroll in ENG 115: Advanced Placement Writing.