Predicting College Success: Mastering the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Test

Published: Sept. 10, 2018, 1:31 p.m.

In 2013, the state of Texas recognized that too many of its college students were not academically ready for college-level classes. In an effort to address this problem, the State Education Department introduced the Texas Success Initiative (TSI).  Evaluating the areas of reading, writing, and math, the TSI gives prospective colleges an idea of how academically successful you might be. Based on performance, a student might be placed in either a traditional college course or a course with assistance to improve certain skills. To help students complete  college and earn a degree, the state of Texas has invested many of its resources into assisting college advisors to place students in the courses where they will be most successful.  Since the competition for jobs upon graduation is intense, the TSI enables students to be better prepared with the skills needed to pursue a career. So, how do you prepare for the TSI? TSI Pre-Assessment Completing the mandatory TSI Pre-Assessment registers you for the test.  The college you have chosen will conduct this pre-assessment and document your participation. Preparing for the TSI Test There are many ways to prepare for the test:
  • Access the online practice questions and note the areas that you don’t do well.  This will give you an opportunity to gain further practice in your weaker areas.
  • Review a free online study guide.  Using technology in a targeted way often pays big dividends.
  • Purchase a book that gives hints and helps for the test.
  • Practice the test as many times as possible since learning the test format, in addition to the knowledge required, improves confidence.
Test Prep Services Investing in a test preparation service can yield much higher results than individual practice.  Often, the service can tailor the practice to each of the sections (math, reading, and writing) directly to your student.  This saves time and effort since the focus is on the areas that need the most repetition and skill reinforcement. General Test-Taking Strategies There are general strategies that can help on the day of the test:
  • Get plenty of rest the night before.
Scientists at the University of Luebeck in Germany found that volunteers taking a simple math test were three times more likely than sleep-deprived participants to figure out a hidden rule for converting the numbers into the right answer if they had eight hours of sleep. "It's going to have potentially important results for children for school performance and for adults for work performance," said Dr. Carl E. Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast to keep hunger from being a distraction.
  • Prepare all of your supplies the night before: pencils, admission ticket, water, and snack.
With more specific student support and focus on skill improvement, the TSI has improved student college graduation rates from 30% to 60%.  This is a significant gain for Texas schools and has a direct correlation to students’ success in their careers.