Reading 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.

Students with a SAT reading sub-score of 23 or less (SAT taken AFTER March 2016) or ACT - Verbal Section of 19 or less are automatically placed into RDG050: Developmental Reading & Study Skills. This course does not count as credit toward graduation. However, the grade earned in developmental courses are used in determining the student's class standing and grade point average (GPA). It is highly recommended that students placed into the RDG050 course challenge their Reading placement by taking the Townsend Press Reading Challenge Test at the Shippensburg University Testing Center. If the student takes and passes the Townsend Press Reading Challenge Test, they will no longer be required to take the RDG050 course.

However, if the student takes and does not pass the Townsend Press Reading Challenge Test, the student will still be required to take the RDG050 course. Therefore, before taking the Townsend Press Reading Challenge Test, it is highly recommended that students work on improving their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. Lastly, it is highly recommended that if required to take the RD050 course, students take the course at Shippensburg University or take an equivalent course at an alternate location (see below) before their first semester. 

Here is a PDF document showing a list of alternative at which locations to take RDG050 or RDG050-equivalent courses. 

The Townsend Press Reading Assessment is timed (50 min). If you require special accommodations, please complete the Extended Time Form and return it at least 1 week prior to your scheduled testing date.

You can explore the Townsend Press materials and Learning Center on their website

Review Options

Practice exercises are available on the Townsend Press website. On their website, you will see three hexagons (as shown below). You can find practice exercises by clicking on TRY SAMPLE ITEMS in the ‘WANT TO EXPLORE?’ hexagon to the left.

 Townsend Press page view


You will be taken to a webpage that provides practice exercises pertaining to English/Grammar/Writing, Reading, and Vocabulary. We highly recommend working through the Reading exercises (shown below), although English/Grammar/Writing and Vocabulary exercises may be helpful in preparing for the Townsend Press College Preparatory Reading Test.

townsend page preview

After Placement Testing

Score of 80 or above

You have passed the Townsend College Preparatory Reading Test and will not be required to take RDG050:Developmental Reading and Study Skills. In addition, you will not be restricted to 12 credit hours your first semester. 

Score of 79 or below  

You scored at the developmental level on The Townsend College Preparatory Reading Test. Please note that developmental courses do not count toward graduation. Because reading is so important to college success, all students are encouraged to resolve this developmental placement before arriving on campus.

If you choose not to take a necessary Developmental Reading course before starting at Ship, you will be scheduled for RDG050: Developmental Reading and Study Skills your first semester. 

For many students, a developmental placement may be satisfied via coursework at their local community college. A list of equivalent courses available at other colleges is available here

If you take a course at your local community college

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