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Prerequisites, Placement and Matriculation


  • Judicious placement is essential to student success in any course. Prerequisites are provided to help students select the right level of course.
  • To eliminate unnecessary testing and reviews, most TPS courses include Prerequisites that provide for automatic placement for students coming directly from prior TPS courses. Students who don’t meet the “automatic approval” criteria require placement testing or some other individualized review as listed in the Prerequisites.
  • TPS placement is an internal process based on TPS course levels and standards of evaluation, so TPS does not use grades or transcripts from courses taken outside TPS in the placement process.

Placement and Matriculation Criteria

  • All Students: TPS seeks to provide each student a strong academic foundation suited to individual ability and considerate of individual interests. For every student, this requires consideration of age and development, academic background and performance, goals and interests, and transcript credit requirements (by states or colleges). For students working above grade in a subject area, we seek to ensure that a strong foundation is built in all subject areas without shortcuts or gaps. For students working below grade in a subject area, we seek ways to bring that area up so it does not limit or detract from the student’s overall academic foundation and plan. We consider these factors in Placement and Matriculation decisions.
  • New Student: If the student did not take the prior course from TPS, a placement test will be required if specified in the Prerequisites.
  • Automatic Matriculation or Placement Approval: If the student has taken or is taking the prior course from TPS, and the student achieved or is maintaining the grade listed in the Prerequisites (usually 75% or higher), the student is eligible to be automatically approved for the next course with no additional testing or reviews.
  • Evaluated Matriculation or Placement Approval: If the student has taken or is taking the prior course from TPS, and the student did not achieve or is not maintaining the grade listed in the Prerequisites (usually 75% or higher), but the prior grade is 70% or higher, the student may still enroll for the next TPS course. In this case, teacher approval will be determined based on a combination of prior TPS coursework, a placement test or essay, enrollment in a summer review course, or remedial work followed by another placement test.
  • Course Recovery: If the student took the prerequisite course from TPS with a Final Score below 70%, the student will not be allowed to matriculate to the next-level course(s) in the sequence. In this case, the student must re-take the unsuccessful course from TPS to be considered for further advancement in that subject within TPS.

Placement Testing

  • Placement testing is waived if the student has completed or is successfully completing a prior TPS course listed in the Prerequisites. Placement testing may not be waived based on grades from courses and programs outside TPS.
  • The student must be enrolled in the TPS course to submit a placement test for that course. Placement documents for a course should be submitted promptly (on the same day) after enrolling in that course, or the course may be dropped with extra fees incurred. Placement documents are submitted from the Family Account in the Enrolled Courses view. Extensions will not be granted for placement testing, and students should not enroll until they are ready to submit placement documents upon enrolling.
  • Placement tests are posted in the Course Catalog to help students plan their own placement, not for study purposes. Placement tests are intended to be taken in one sitting with no prior study, books, notes or outside help, or the results will be invalid and the student may be inappropriately placed in a course where he will struggle or fail.
  • Placement tests taken before the end of the prior school year are evaluated by considering expected progress to date, so a student does not need to wait to finish the prior course before taking a placement test in the spring.
  • After the teacher reviews the placement materials, families are notified of placement approval or disapproval by email. When a placement is disapproved, the teacher should include a note explaining the disapproval and recommending an alternative course. TPS teachers will not return placement tests or provide scores from placement tests.
  • If a placement test is not passed, the student may be offered one chance for a re-take at the end of the summer.
    • A re-take option not the norm and is determined solely by TPS.
    • A re-take will usually be a different (often more comprehensive) test.
    • Re-takes should be requested and completed around August 1.
    • TPS cannot hold a seat pending a re-take, but the student may enroll in a prior seat if he intends to (re-)take the prior course if he does not pass an end-of-summer re-take of the placement test. There is no fee for switching upward to an open seat if the re-take is successful. There are substantial fees and penalties for dropping a seat if the re-take is unsuccessful.