COMPASS is an abbreviation for College Placement Tests. It is a standardized test administered by ACT international for the assessment of students. The test scores are utilized by colleges for selection of students in different courses. It also helps students identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the students are able to decide which courses suits them best through this test. The test is an accurate and quick evaluation of a student’s academic skills. It is an aptitude test examining areas – reading, writing and mathematics.
COMPASS is an undergraduate test which is conducted for placement in educational courses of an institution. The test is conducted by the institutions before admitting freshman or enrolling them to a course. COMPASS is one of the Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) tests approved by the United States Department of Education.
COMPASS test has following sections- reading, writing skills, writing essay, mathematics and English as a Second Language (ESL). The reading section tests the skills in reading comprehension and vocabulary. The writing section is based on grammar, punctuation, spell checks, sentence structure, organization etc. The mathematical test is derived from high school mathematics. It encompasses topics from geometry, algebra and trigonometry. The essay writing test is intended to examine presentation and effectiveness of views in context of a given issue. The ESL test is required by non-native English speakers. It is divided into subsections- reading, grammar, listening and essay writing.
The reading section consists of multiple choice questions related to given passages. The passages are taken from subjects like social science, humanities, literature and natural sciences. The writing section has multiple choice questions based on language usage and rhetorical skills. There are multiple choice questions in mathematical test, which belongs to topics from pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, geometry and trigonometry. In essay writing test, an issue is presented with two points of views in context. The examinee has to compose an essay in favor of one of the point of view.
COMPASS is a computer adaptive test. The difficulty level of questions adapts according to ability of the examinee. If the previous question is answered correctly, the difficulty level of next increases and if the previous question is answered incorrectly, the level of difficulty of next question is decreased. The score of a section depends upon number of questions attempted correctly, number of questions answered wrong and difficulty level of correctly answered questions.
The test is not timed. There is no limit of time. Hence, the examinee should focus to answer questions correctly instead of trying to attempt more number of questions.
The scores are evaluated by a machine. The result of this test is a comprehensive report. It includes the test scores, demographic data of the student and recommendations for improvement in individual skills.
There are more than 500 testing centers for conducting COMPASS test. The candidate should contact a testing center to check available test dates and time. The test can be taken on all official days at any time except while system-wide computer routine maintenance is carried out.
The exam fee depends upon the testing center. Any nearby testing center should be contacted by candidate for getting all relevant information pertaining to fees, test dates, time and guidelines.