COMPASS Test of the ACT

5 Utilities of COMPASS Results

The COMPASS test is an untimed test used for testing whether you are college-ready. If not, certain preliminary courses are suggested which will make you college-ready. It is also a computer adaptive test, which means the testing engine will adjust to the skill level that you are most comfortable in.

The test is taken for the following main subject areas:

  • Reading

    This section covers subject areas such as reading comprehension and vocabulary. It is useful in identifying if a student’s reading skills are at par to make him competitive in college courses.

  • Writing Skills

    The writing section tries to diagnose a student in areas such as punctuation, spelling and sentence organization.

  • Writing Essay

    The writing essay is administered in the form of "e-Write", which uses an internet scoring engine to evaluate results instantaneously. This section is used to identify the skill level of students in areas such as focus and content.

  • Mathematics

    This section is used to understand the ability of students in Pre-algebra and algebra.

  • English as a Second Language (ESL)

    This test is usually administered to non-native speakers of English, and tests the ability of the speaker in listening, reading, grammar and essay.

The results for the COMPASS are available immediately, and it provides specific information about the student and determines in which areas he needs help. The report card is also called the "Student Advising Report" and can be used for the following:

Utility 1:
It can be used to provide background information and educational plans of the student taking the test
Utility 2:
It is useful in understanding more about the student's program choices. This is available in the "Choice of Programs" section of the Student Advising Report. It can be customized by the college according to their needs.
Utility 3:
The assessment results section of the test indicates which test package was administered for the student. The cut-offs can be decided by the college. It can therefore be used to provide customized recommendations to the student.
Utility 4:
Most colleges can have a validity period for the test scores, which can be around 2 years. This means that the COMPASS score is valid for two years in some colleges. The score card can be used to identify the name and address of the student, along with the date and time of testing. Thus it is a helpful indicator of how recently the student has taken the test.
Utility 5:
The scorecard can be used to understand the local demographic information about the student. This can include details such as the last taken math course, the distance travelled by the student to attend school, and even the time gap between the student's last formal education and the date of test.

While the score card can be used for all of these purposes, the scorecard can also be useful for colleges to determine the profile of incoming students using customized reports. The profile reports provided by ACT can include information such as the developmental needs of students and their skills. Another example of such customized reports meant for colleges is the retention report that tries to determine retention patterns for colleges.

There is also an option for the college to request additional reports that are customized for the college. Thus, the scorecard is useful in identifying how a college can slowly improve upon its previous performance, and at the same time, it provides the student with valuable insight on the courses he needs to become more receptive to college-level courses.