COMPASS Overview

Placement testing is mandatory for all students who enroll in an Oklahoma college and have not taken the ACT exam, or who score less than 19 on any ACT subtest. The results will determine the placement in college-level course work or developmental (skill-building) courses. Students may elect to test upon admission since COMPASS is available daily, or students may elect to review prior to testing and return the following day. The test descriptions are provided to assist students in making this decision.

Purpose of the Tests

The COMPASS is composed of tests in three subject areas: writing, reading and mathematics. By assessing ability levels in these areas, the COMPASS System will help to determine appropriate writing, mathematics and reading courses.

Reading Placement Test

The Reading Test focuses on reading comprehension. This section contains two basic types of questions: multiple choice and text highlighting. For these items, the test-taker determines the correct alternative. Two to four passages may be presented from the following areas: humanities, prose fiction, natural sciences and/or social sciences.

The reading skills assessed are referring and reasoning. Referring items ask about information that is explicitly stated in the passage. Reasoning items measure skills in critical understanding, determining specific meanings, and inferences. In some instances, students are given a set of items that are used to measure prior knowledge of a passage topic.

The purpose of the prior knowledge section is to determine the level of "common" knowledge a student initially had about the general topic of the passage. The Reading Test determines whether the student has the reading skills necessary to succeed in college-level courses or whether skill-building courses are required.

Writing Skills Placement Test

The Writing Skills Test determines whether a student has the skills and knowledge to succeed in the college-level composition course. This test evaluates editing skills that are used for checking passages for errors. Students are required to identify an error and then to correctly select an appropriate revision. The passage errors assess sentence structure, grammar and usage, and punctuation. A final set of questions measures a student's organizational and rhetorical skills. The test determines placement into a developmental English course or an English Composition I course.

Mathematics Placement Test

The Mathematics Test assesses students' knowledge in three levels of math skills: pre-algebra/numerical skills, algebra and college algebra. Pre-algebra/numerical skills items range from basic math concepts and skills (integers, fractions, and decimals) to the knowledge and skills that are required in an entry-level algebra course (absolute values, percentages, and exponents).

The algebra items are essentially questions from elementary and intermediate algebra (equations, polynomials, formula manipulations, and algebraic expressions). The college algebra test items measure algebra knowledge and skill in operations with matrices, functions, and factorials. The tests all measure three general levels of performance: basic skills, applications, and analysis.

Basic skills require the performance of a sequence of basic operations. Application items use these same basic operations on complex settings. Analysis items require demonstrating a conceptual understanding of the essential principles and relationships that are relevant to each of the math skills. This test results in placement into the appropriate skill building mathematical course or approval for enrollment into a college-level mathematical course.

For help with math questions or to refresh your math skills, visit the Rose State Math Lab.

Test Administration

The COMPASS tests are administered daily in Student Services Building, room 210. No appointment is necessary. Students will read the instructions and questions on the computer monitor and will select answers using the computer keyboard. The test instructions are easy to understand, and entering information is very easy. A test administrator will always be present to answer questions that may arise.

Requests for Accommodations

Requests from individuals with disabilities for accommodation necessary for testing services should be made in advance with documentation by contacting the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at (405) 733-7407.

COMPASS Test-Taking Tips

  • Be well rested before you test. If you are hungry, eat something before you test.
  • If you have children with you, return when you have a sitter.
  • If you wear glasses or contacts, be sure to have them with you.
  • Try to relax (take a deep breath).
  • Read the instruction carefully. This is very important.
  • Make use of the practice items provided by COMPASS.
  • Although the test is not timed, give yourself at least an hour and a half (preferably two hours) to complete the entire battery of tests before the Testing Center closes.
  • Do your best. The test scores will be used by the counselor to place you in the appropriate classes.

Testing Hours

Monday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
Tuesday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reading Test Tips

After you answer all the questions about a passage, you will be able to go back and change your answers. You must answer all the questions about a passage before you can go back and make changes. Each test has a built-in practice session to familiarize you with the kinds of questions you will encounter.

Writing Test-Essay Tips

Remember that while you are correcting an essay, you can change any part of the essay as many times as you like. Be sure all necessary corrections have been made before clicking 'go on' .

Math Test Tips

Use of calculators is allowed. You will also be able to use scratch paper and pencil. You will obtain the scratch paper and pencil from the testing personnel.

You will not be allowed to return to previous questions in order to change your answers. You must answer each question presented to you. You will not be penalized for guessing.

If you have questions please call (405) 733-7320.