Importance of Scoring for the COMPASS

How important are COMPASS test scores for admission/placement

If you have just taken the COMPASS and are confused by the report that you have obtained, look no further. This article will give you all the information that you need to know about this exam and about its results. This report is also referred to as the ‘Standard Individual Report’ or ‘Student Advising Report’ because it is usually administered after the admission process to determine the course a student should opt for to make his studies at college level more fruitful. When applicants fail to meet the minimum entry scores on ACT/SAT, some colleges will ask prospective students to appear for the COMPASS as they will consider this test score as a criteria for being considered for admission.

When your score report arrives, you will notice four distinct sections. Each of them is described below:

  1. Basic Information:

    This section will contain the student information like name and address. The format printed on your score sheet might differ based on the college you take the test from. There is no valuable information about your score in this section, and it is only meant for colleges to map each student to their scores. It might contain your career goal and transfer plan, which you specify before taking the exam. It can be left undeclared/undecided, in case you have not made up your mind on the career goal you wish to pursue.

  2. COMPASS Math Placement Test:

    This is where you will find your scores in the math section. The score is broken down into different levels. A ‘level’ means a subject area. For example, pre algebra and algebra are two levels. Once a student is determined to be proficient in one level, the exam, being computer adaptive, will progress to the next advanced level. The questions that you will find here will adapt to the student’s ability. Every correct answer tells the test engine to administer a more difficult question next. This also carries forth to the subject area. If a student is good at Pre-algebra, the test will progress to a more difficult level of Algebra. If he is not as proficient with pre-algebra, the test will not progress to the next level. The student may therefore not see any scores for the next level in the scorecard. While this is so, the levels are marked as 'initial domain' and 'placement domain' incrementally. The marks in the placement domain will determine the courses a student must take to be college-ready. The recommended courses are specified in the recommendation section.

  3. COMPASS Reading Placement Test:

    While the scores of each section may not be in any chronological order, there will be a reading placement test score in the result sheet. The scoring pattern is similar to that specified in the math section. However, an important thing to note is that in case you have an excellent score, the recommendation section will simply state that no reading courses are required, with just one placement domain. This means that you do not need to take any reading courses, and that you are college-ready.

  4. COMPASS Writing Placement Test:

    This section is similar to the reading placement test. The score specified in the placement domain is the one that is used to determine the courses recommended at your score level. Most recommendations in this section consist of introductory writing courses. However, it is important to note that the recommendations in any section can be different in different colleges.

If you are eager to find how the actual scoring sheet looks like even before taking the test, you might want to download the sample test report available at the official website.

After you have completed your COMPASS assessment, the next step you must take is to schedule an appointment with the advising committee. The appointment can be scheduled after about 2 or 3 days after taking the exam, depending on the college.

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