The Academic Assessment tool used at Parkland College is called COMPASS. This placement and diagnostic test is created by the ACT organization. The primary purpose of the assessment is to identify which students are ready for college-level courses and which students can benefit from preparatory coursework. The secondary purpose of the assessment is to place students into the appropriate academic course. The COMPASS test is taken on a computer and the test is untimed--there is not time limit and you can work at your own pace.
For the Reading Placement Test, students are presented with a short, content-specific, reading passage. Then, students are asked questions relating to the passage. The format of the questions is multiple-choice. The questions fall into two categories: referring and reasoning. Referring questions ask about material explicitly stated in the passage. Reasoning questions require students to make reasonable inferences about the text and unfamiliar words in the text.
For example, a content-specific passage might focus on agricultural habits in the Northeast. A referring question might ask about the main idea or the author's purpose. A reasoning question might ask about the meaning of words or a reasonable conclusion to be draw from the information in the passage.
For the Writing Placement Test students are presented with one or more passages containing several errors. When students find an error in a passage, they must click on that section of the passage. Clicking on the passage will bring up multiple versions of the same passage. Students must select the passage that is correct in terms of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, organization, and style.
For example, a passage might be missing a comma and have a verb tense problem. When the section of the passage is clicked on, the option that has the comma properly placed and the correct verb tense should be selected.
Parkland College is committed to helping students achieve success in their course work. In this effort, the college has designed a mathematics assessment program to aid students in selecting the most appropriate mathematics course while taking into account wide and varied backgrounds. Assessment or credit in the listed prerequisite course is required prior to registering in any mathematics course. Assessment scores are valid for only two years; thereafter, the student must be reassessed.Students with transfer credit in mathematics are not required to take the assessment, but can be placed on the basis of mathematics credits earned within the last five years (after a review of transcripts).
For additional information on placement testing, please visit the Assessment Center website.