Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA)


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Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA)

The Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA) is a placement test that helps ensure you get the most from an English as a Second Language (ESL) class you are planning to take.

CELSA tests your current English language skills. After your level is determined by testing, you'll be placed in an ESL class that best helps you to move your English skills to the next level.

Who Should Take the CELSA Test?

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

  • You came to the United States and entered American high school during or after the ninth grade
  • In your high school classes, the teacher taught you in your native language and English
  • You took the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) (or other test used to determine your English skills) and you did not pass the test/exam
  • When you read for fun (for example, books, magazines, the Internet), you usually read in your native language, not English
  • The main 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 you enrolled in Academic ESL or Intensive English courses at another college

Hours and Locations

CELSA testing is offered at eight testing centers in Maricopa County.

Testing locations

If You Live Outside Maricopa County

If you live outside of Maricopa County, Arizona, you can ask to have your CELSA test proctored at an approved proctor site located closer to you. A proctored test is a test that is supervised by an approved person – a proctor. 

Exam proctoring information for Rio Salado Students

Placement Tests are Free to Students

Placement tests are provided at no charge to students.

Test Policies

When you go to take the test:

  • You must have a current, valid and recognizable state or federal-issued photo ID
  • You must also have a Student ID number. For information about Student ID numbers, please email Rio Salado Admissions or call 480-517-8540 

CELSA General Information

  • CELSA is a computerized test consisting of 75 multiple choice questions.
  • You have 45 minutes to complete the test.
  • There is no audio or speaking portion of the test.

Test Sample Questions

CELSA test sample questions


  • You will receive your score report immediately after completing the test. We 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 displays under Academic History with a Course Placement Chart.
  • Course placement scores, except for reading exemption scores, are valid for two years from the date of the original or re-test assessment.
  • District Wide Placement Scores are available online.
  • Rio Salado accepts CELSA scores from other colleges if you took the test within the past two years. Have the school where you took the test, fax the score report to Academic Advising at 480-377-4899.

Repeating the Test

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