COMPASS® Test Introduction

COMPASS is a set of untimed computer adaptive tests created by the American College Test (ACT) Program. Because COMPASS tests are “computer adaptive,” the questions test-takers have to answer are based on whether they answered previous questions correctly or incorrectly. If a question is answered correctly and the student is not already at the highest difficulty level, the next question will increase in difficulty. On the other hand, if a question is answered incorrectly and the student is not already at the lowest difficulty level, the next question will be easier than the previous one.

This group of exams that make up the COMPASS test measures a potential college student’s skill level in reading, writing, and math. Unlike other tests, the COMPASS test does not have a “passing” score. Instead, the test is used to determine a student’s strengths and weaknesses, which may indicate the need for additional assistance.

Despite the fact that students are not given a failing or passing grade, it is important that test takers do their best on the COMPASS test so that their results will accurately reflect their ability level in each of the different subject areas.

Colleges give the COMPASS test to incoming students in order to decide which classes they should take. The COMPASS test is also used to identify problem areas students might have so the university can offer extra help, support, or resources in order to ensure students are successful academically in their post-secondary education.

Test takers receive their COMPASS testing scores and a report as soon as they complete the test. The report includes information about what courses they should take and how they should proceed with registering for these courses.

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