Course Placement

Northeast Iowa Community College is committed to ensuring students are prepared to enroll in their required coursework. Course placement scores provide skill-based information that, combined with a student’s academic background, goals and interests, are used by the College to determine appropriate course placement, course selection and academic planning. Enrolling in the right courses will help you achieve your educational goals faster. ACCUPLACER® is used to assess skills in reading and writing, and ALEKS® is used to assess skills in math.

It is important for you to prepare for the placement tests to get an accurate measure of academic skills. This ensures you are registered for classes that best match your skill level. The scores from placement assessments can also be used to fulfill prerequisite requirements for certain courses or in cases where an academic program may have a minimum placement score required for acceptance into that specific program.

Prepare for ACCUPLACER® or ALEKS®

Students are encouraged to prepare for the course placement tests, so scores accurately reflect academic skills. Placement tests cannot be "passed" or "failed," but preparation may provide a more accurate assessment of skill level.

  • Get plenty of rest and eat well before coming to take the course placement tests.
  • Come prepared and relaxed. Keep in mind that placement is designed to help students succeed in courses.
  • Allow plenty of time to complete testing without having to rush.

Please note: A valid form of photo identification is required for course placement testing.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

NICC is committed to serving individuals with documented disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations appropriate to the individual's diagnosis and needs. For test accommodations:

  • Apply for accommodations
  • Provide current documentation to the Accessibility Services Coordinator
  • Meet with Coordinator to set up individualized accommodations plan at least 2 weeks prior to test date


ACCUPLACER® assesses reading comprehension and writing skills. Review can help increase placement scores. Student may utilize the following resources:


ALEKS® assesses math readiness. Students registering for a math course or enrolling in a program of study with a math requirement will need to complete an ALEKS® placement assessment by:


Course placement tests can take an average of two to three hours to complete. There is no fee* for initial test, and tests do not have to be taken all in one day. Course placement can be done at several College locations; hours may vary. For students who are unable to travel to a College placement testing location, arrangements can be made to take the test at an approved, alternate site. Please contact the nearest location for more information and to schedule an appointment.

*A one-time fee of $20 is required for third and subsequent retests in reading and writing. Retests for math may be done up to five times within twelve months at no cost; a fee of $15 is required thereafter.

**If ALEKS® (math) is taken remotely there is a $5.00 fee paid to ALEKS® - for more information, please go to: ALEKS Remote Proctor FAQ's

Understanding Course Placement Scores

Placement scores determine placement in reading, writing and math courses in addition to satisfying specific program admission requirements. Academic advisors assist students with interpreting placement scores and appropriate course placement during advising appointments.

Students have the option to retake the assessment if they feel their initial score could be improved. Students are encouraged to utilize study resources as well as academic advisors. Additional assistance is also available at the campus Learning and Writing Centers. Applicable retest fees may apply.

Placement Chart