ACT Compass is a computer- or Internet-delivered adaptive test that allows educators to evaluate students’ skill levels for appropriate course placement in postsecondary institutions. Five subject areas are measured: reading, writing skills, writing essay, mathematics, and English as a second language.
College and university students and course placement/advising personnel
Volume/Number of Users
Annually, more than 1.9 million students use ACT Compass.
ACT Compass tests are untimed, designed for individual or group administration, and offer immediate scoring.
ACT Compass offers:
- Fast and accurate results to guide optimal course placement decisions
- Customization of test packages, cutoff scores, and placement messages as defined by each institution
- Comprehensive reporting at the student and program level to ensure optimal student advising decisions and program evaluation decisions based on empirical data
- High school outreach for early intervention and dual-enrollment programs in feeder high schools
- Remote testing to meet the assessment needs of students anywhere in the country
- Reading Placement: a multiple-choice test that helps determine if students have the reading skills they need to succeed in standard entry-level college courses.
- Writing Skills Placement: a multiple-choice test that requires students to find and correct errors in essays, including basic grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills.
- Writing Essay (e-Write): e-Write can be used alone or in conjunction with the Writing Skills Test to place students in appropriate English courses.
- Mathematics Placement: a multiple-choice test that evaluates students’ ability levels in terms of basic mathematical performance and application skills such as demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationships for mathematical operations.
- English as a Second Language (ESL): Tests assessing non-native English speakers’ abilities in Listening, Reading, Grammar/Usage for placement in appropriate ESL courses.
The College Readiness Benchmarks for ACT Compass are designed to be comparable to the College Readiness Benchmarks for the ACT® test. As with the benchmarks for the ACT, ACT Compass benchmarks might not serve as the appropriate course placement score at all colleges. Rather, the ACT Compass benchmarks represent a criterion for success for a typical student at a typical college. ACT will work with each postsecondary institution to conduct its own validation studies to establish local benchmarks that can be used as college course placement scores.