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Assessment and Placement


Study Guides


These study guides are in PDF format.


Reading Skills
The reading comprehension items are of two general categories: referring and reasoning. Within each of these two general categories are several content categories that further specify the skills and knowledge assessed by each item. Referring items pose questions about material explicitly stated in a passage. Reasoning items assess proficiency at making appropriate inferences, developing a critical understanding of the text, and determining the specific meanings of difficult, unfamiliar, or ambiguous words based on the surrounding context.


Writing Skills
The Writing Skills Placement Test presents one or more passages, each containing several errors. When an error is detected in a passage, clicking on that section of the passage brings up several alternative segments of text from which a more appropriate segment can be selected and inserted automatically into the text. Items in the Writing Skills Placement Test assess basic knowledge and skills in usage and mechanics (e.g., punctuation, basic grammar and usage, and sentence structure) as well as more rhetorical skills such as writing strategy, organization, and style. Samples of items from these knowledge and skill areas are provided in the following pages.


Numerical Skills/Prealgebra and Algebra Tests
Numerical Skills/Prealgebra Placement Test Questions in the Numerical Skills/Prealgebra Placement Test range in content from basic arithmetic concepts and skills to the knowledge and skills considered prerequisites for a first algebra course.


College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Placement Tests
The COMPASS Mathematics Tests are organized around five principal content domains:numerical skills/prealgebra, algebra, college algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. To ensure variety in the content and complexity of items within each domain, COMPASS includes mathematics items of three general levels of cognitive complexity: basic skills, application, and analysis. A basic skills item can be solved by performing a sequence of basic operations. An application item involves applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways. An analysis item requires students to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the principles and relationships relevant to particular mathematical operations. Items in each of the content domains sample extensively from these three cognitive levels.