Placement Exams

Combined Writing and Reading

By assessing students with respect to both writing mechanics and reading comprehension, the Combined Writing and Reading test measures the fundamental building blocks of communication in a single exam. Our research has found that independent ratings of students’ writing on class assignments correlate very highly with scores on the Tailwind exam, much higher, in fact, than they do with scores on standardized writing assessments.  The data suggest that the Tailwind Combined Writing and Reading test is a significantly better predictor of writing quality, while being much less expensive than is a standardized writing exam.

The Combined Writing and Reading Placement Exam has approximately 100 multiple choice items measuring writing mechanics and reading comprehension. The exam is 90 minutes and results in separate scores for Writing Mechanics and Reading Comprehension, as well as a composite score. The test has a reliability coefficient above 0.90. Subscale reliabilities are at or above 0.85. 


Our comprehensive college math placement test reliably and accurately assesses and places students based on their understanding of Essential Math Skills, College Math Fundamentals, Advanced Algebra, and Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry. College Math Fundamentals assesses students with respect to the content deemed necessary to be successful in the lowest-level credit-bearing math class, based on national college readiness standards.  Essential Math Skills can be used to place students into multiple-levels of developmental math, into a bridge course or pre-college intervention, as well as credit-bearing coursework with additional supports.  Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry are used in combination to place students into higher-level courses, such as trigonometry, precalculus and calculus.

The math test is a 90-minute, stage-adaptive test.  The exam begins with an assessment of College Math Fundamentals.  Depending on how well a student performs on the College Math Fundamentals section, s/he will receive either the Essential Math Skills content or the Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry content. Consequently, students will receive scores in either  College Math Fundamentals and Essential Math Skills or College Math Fundamentals, Advanced Algebra, and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry.  Students are permitted to use a built-in scientific calculator for items on the College Math Fundamentals, Advanced Algebra, and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry portions of the exam, but a calculator is neither permitted nor available for the Essential Math Skills section.  All reported scores for the math test have reliabilities of 0.85 or higher.

Exam Snapshot

90 minutes

World Language

We offer placement exams in French, German, and Spanish that are validated for use with second language learners.  Our world language exams measure language mechanics and reading comprehension, and are useful for placing students into all courses in the introductory language sequence.

Students have 60 minutes to complete the 50-60 items on the test. Placement decisions with Tailwind are usually made using the overall composite score; however, separate scores in Language Mechanics and Reading Comprehension are also reported. Composite score reliability coefficients for all three world languages exams are above 0.90. 

French Exam Snapshot

60 minutes

German Exam Snapshot

60 minutes

Spanish Exam Snapshot

60 minutes