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Certification: COMPASS
Certification Full Name: Computer-Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System
Certification Provider: Test Prep

COMPASS Certification Info

Preparing For The COMPASS: What You Need To Know

The COMPASS testing system is configured in a way that allows comprehensive testing and adaptable computerized programming to determined detailed placement information for school-aged children. While many comprehensive testing systems waste time with progressively harder questions, many of which are too simple or too hard for a student, the programming of the computerized COMPASS test allows the test to adapt to the needs of the student, narrowing down the number of questions that must be answered while still offering accuracy in placement determination.

The COMPASS is computer-adaptive and delivered via the Internet, meaning that it is available anytime a student, teacher, or class is ready to access a particular part of the diagnostic. The point of the test is to determine what skills a student has already mastered and in what areas improvement is needed so that, when entering post-secondary school levels (college education), the student is properly placed to receive the correct instruction. The COMPASS exam can assess several aspects of the student's knowledge base in reading, writing, math, and even English as a Second Language. Results are fast and accurate so that there is no time wasted in moving the child to the appropriate point for continuing education.

With over 2,400 test items from which the COMPASS can pull, the format adjusts to the difficulty level that is most comfortable for the student, allowing results to be printed diagnosing progress quickly. Through various reports, the COMPASS can produce up to 26 different diagnostic tests. The tests are also not timed, so students do not feel pressured to complete an exam in an allotted time period and are also not concerned about the start and finish times of other students - all tests are individualized for correct placement assessment.

One of the major advantages of using COMPASS learning tests is that content can be specialized for any institution, with target content specified and the tests to be administered determined by the faculty according to the types of diagnostics for placement that are required. Demographic data may also be collected with up to 40 locally developed questions of choice, allowing test administrators to obtain survey information that could potentially impact placement policy, institutional reports, retention measures, and even accreditation processes.

There is no particular COMPASS practice test, as this is a comprehensive type of examination to determine where a pupil stands prior to assistance from study materials and teaching methods. COMPASS test prep consists merely of former education and memory retention of the knowledge imparted in previous courses. However, once the assessment is made, COMPASS test practice questions may be used to help a student identify a concept and to teach a subject matter that seemed to be an area of weakness for several students placed in a particular class.

The COMPASS is broken down into the three basic areas of measure: mathematics, reading, and writing skills. Each of the reading and writing can produce a single possible placement score, with the math portion being able to produce up to five scores based on diagnostics in prealgebra, algebra, college algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Each of these can further be broken down into 26 different diagnostic measurements for more specific placement scoring. For example, the algebra diagnostic can be broken down into individual scores for:

  • Substituting Values;
  • Setting Up Equations;
  • Factoring Polynomials;
  • Basic Operations with Polynomials;
  • Linear Equations with One Variable;
  • Linear Equations with Two Variables;
  • Exponents and Radicals; and
  • Rational Expressions.

Cluing into each of these individual topics will better assess the weak points in a particular student's knowledge and allow the administrator to better cater a particular teaching program to the general needs of the class. Especially for online degree education, COMPASS is a handy method of assessment, since much of the online program is set up for students to go at their own pace. COMPASS diagnostics would allow for students to test out of courses that are too simple and move forward to something more applicable from which a real education can be gained through the time spent.

The sections of the COMPASS breakdown as follows:

  • The Reading portion of the test consists of passages that are read and questions that must be answered regarding details, vocabulary, use of context clues, and main idea of the passage.
  • The Writing portion of the COMPASS consists of an essay in which examinees must identify errors in punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, and style.
  • The Mathematics portion of the exam includes problem solving skills for numerical, pre-algebraic, and algebraic questions. Integers, fractions, decimals, exponents, geometry, proportions, ratios, percentages, and other topics are considered for placement purposes.

The COMPASS comprehensive diagnostic program is a great tool for colleges and universities to use, saving time and effort in creating, administering, and grading their own diagnostic tests. This testing system is self-administered, self-adaptive for determination of exact skill sets quickly, and self-evaluating, returning detailed reports immediately upon completion. These reports are easy to read and understand, making placement of students hassle-free.

Sample questions of what can be expected on a COMPASS test are available on the website, and any curious party can find information on the configuration of the test for preparation. Again, students need not "study" for the exam, as it is comprehensive in nature and will diagnose where the student will benefit most from the education received. It allows advanced students to "test out" of lower level classes and those not quite as advanced to start at a more comfortable level and review basic knowledge upon which to build a foundation for more difficult courses in the future. With the COMPASS exam, results are fast and accurate, and no one wastes time with unnecessary testing methods.

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