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Combined English Language Skills Assessment

CELSA is the Combined English Language Skills Assessment. It is a placement test used to enroll students in the appropriate ESL course.


You may need to take the CELSA test if English is not your first language and one or more of the following conditions are true:

  • You came to the United States and entered American high school during or after the 9th grade
  • You had high school classes where the teacher taught you in your native language and English
  • You took the TOFEL exam (or other test for English proficiency) and did not pass
  • When reading for fun (i.e. books, magazines, Internet), you prefer to read in your native language, not English (This may indicate that you are not as comfortable with English)
  • The primary language spoken in your home, at work, or with friends is your native language not English
  • You have taken Adult Basic Education ESL or GED classes
  • You were advised to enroll or enrolled in Academic ESL or Intensive English courses at another college

Hours and Locations

  • Placement Testing is available at eight testing centers conveniently located throughout Maricopa County. Click here for hours and locations.
  • Students living outside of Maricopa County may request to have their exams proctored at an approved proctor site. Click for more information about exam proctoring.
  • Testing is available on a walk-in basis. Please make sure that you arrive at least 60 minutes before we close.

Fees and Methods of Payment

  • Placement tests are provided at no charge to students.


  • You must have a current, valid, recognizable, state or federal issued photo ID.
  • We also require that you have a Student ID number. For information about Student ID numbers, please contact Admissions via e-mail at or via phone at 480-517-8540.

CELSA General Information

  • The CELSA test or a score of 5-8 on the Accuplacer Writeplacer is required to enroll in ESL classes.
  • It is a computerized exam that consists of 75 multiple choice questions.
  • Students have 45 minutes to complete the exam.
  • There is not an audio or speaking portion of the test.
  • The CELSA is a placement test so you cannot fail it! It is only used to enroll you in the appropriate course. We offer courses at every level so there are options available for all students.

Study Materials


  • You will receive the score report as soon as you complete testing. We will enter your scores into our Student Information System immediately so that you can register for courses.
  • To view or print your test scores from the Student Information System, go to and log-in with your MEID and password. A link for Test Scores appears under Academic History with a Course Placement Chart.
  • Course placement scores, with the exception of the reading exemption scores, will be valid for two years from the date of the original or re-test assessment.
  • District Wide Placement Scores are available online.
  • We will accept CELSA scores from other colleges as long as the test was taken within the last 2 years. Please have the school where you took the test fax the score report to Academic Advising: 480-377-4899.

Repeating Test

  • Students will be permitted one re-test in English, reading or by math level after at least a 24-hour waiting period. One additional re-test is permitted no sooner than three months from the oldest valid score date at any course placement testing site.

For more information about Rio Salado’s ESL program, visit the ESL online page.

Placement Testing