The Assessment Test - COMPASS

A Brief Overview of COMPASS Assessment Test

The COMPASS test provides an opportunity to the students for continuing their college education by measuring their aptitude in the subjects that are tested in this exam. However, the system of testing is different from the traditional mode of testing as the scores do not depict the pass or fail status of the candidates; rather the scores obtained by the candidates show whether they have the competence required for pursuing an entry-level course in the college or require support through a developmental course. For this test, the students must also note the score range devised by different colleges pertaining to English and Mathematics for placement and admission in those institutions. However, not reaching the level of those scores indicates that the candidates would require stronger preparation for better performance in theassessment test.

The COMPASS test at a Glance

This assessment test consists of the following subjects:

  • Reading Skills: In Reading Placement Test, the students have to answer multiple-choice questions based on five types of comprehension passages that include Practical Reading, Prose Fiction, Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. The Diagnostic test comprises of questions Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Reader Profile Components.
  • Writing Skills: In this section, the test takers have to identify the errors in an essay. There are two major categories on which the questions are based: Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills. In the first category, the errors are related to Punctuation, Basic Grammar and Usage and Sentence Structure whereas in the second category, the errors are related to Strategy, Organization and Style. However, in the Diagnostic Test, the students have to prove their skills in eight writing fields.
  • Mathematics: The Math test is an encompassing section consisting of multiple-choice questions in Basic Skills, Application Skills and Analysis Skills and the test items include Numerical Skills/Pre Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. In Basic Skills, the test takers have to perform a series of problems involving basic mathematical operations. For Application Skills, the students need to apply the basic skills for performing complex mathematical operations and in Analysis Skills, the participants must prove the knowledge of the concepts related to principles and relationships in mathematical tasks. The Diagnostic test of Mathematics includes seven and eight tests in Pre Algebra and Algebra respectively.
  • Essay Writing: This is an independent writing task, which is provided to the test takers and based on a familiar setting. The students are supposed to construct their opinions on the issue that is present in the passage and follow it up with supportive arguments. Furthermore, they have to present their opinion in a clear or lucid expression that must be comprehensible to the examiner.
  • English as a Second Language: The ESL test is meant to test the knowledge of Standard American English of non-native speakers and the test items are based on Listening, Reading and Grammar and Usage.

The Importance of COMPASS Test

This assessment test is one of the major tools that are used by colleges and admission authorities for evaluating the skills and abilities of the students for continuing with the basic courses in college. It is preferred by the students primarily because they do not have to follow the restrictions of time for answering the questions. In other words, taking this test is easier for them as it allows them to focus on each section of the test while choosing the correct responses. Moreover, there is an option of retest if they are not satisfied with the scores that they have attained in this test.

Thus, this test is of great importance for the college authorities to determine the abilities of the students and the students to monitor their progress and analyze their strengths and weaknesses in the subjects that are tested in this exam.

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