College and university students and course placement/advising personnel
COMPASS is a computer- or Internet-delivered adaptive test that evaluates students' skill levels for placement in postsecondary institutions. Five subject areas are measured: reading, writing skills, writing essay, mathematics, and English as a second language.
Volume/Number of Users
Annually, more than 1,300 postsecondary institutions and more than 2.5 million students currently use COMPASS or COMPASS/ESL.
- The score range for COMPASS tests is 0 to 100, with 0 being the lowest score and 100 the highest.
- COMPASS tests are untimed and designed for individual or group administration.
- COMPASS software provides immediate scoring on the exams.
- COMPASS offers customization of test packages, cutoff scores, and placement messages specific to each institution.
- High school outreach for early intervention and dual-enrollment programs in feeder high schools is included in the program.
- The program provides for remote testing to meet the assessment needs of students anywhere in the country.
COMPASS tests include:
- Reading Placement - a multiple-choice test that helps determine if your 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 four areas—Listening, Reading, Grammar/Usage for placement in appropriate ESL courses.
The College Readiness Benchmarks for COMPASS are designed to be comparable to the College Readiness Benchmarks for the ACT® test. As with the benchmarks for the ACT, COMPASS benchmarks might not serve as the appropriate course placement score at all colleges. Rather, the COMPASS benchmarks represent a criterion for success for a typical student at a typical college. ACT will work with any particular postsecondary institution to conduct its own validation studies to establish local benchmarks that can be used as college course placement scores.