COMPASS--Computer-Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System--is a comprehensive software package developed by ACT to help postsecondary institutions place students into appropriate course levels. COMPASS has been chosen by the Tennessee Board of Regents as an assessment tool used in determining a student's level of preparation for college-level courses.
The COMPASS Placement Test has two purposes. First, it checks whether students have the skills to succeed in college-level courses. Second, it helps to place students in whatever courses they are ready for, either college-level courses or courses to prepare them for college-level courses.
There is a $10 charge for taking the COMPASS test. [The retest fee is $20.]
COMPASS assesses the kinds of skills needed for success in college. COMPASS tests your academic preparation in three areas: Writing, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics. You do not PASS or FAIL the COMPASS test; it only determines your current skill level in the area(s) tested so that you can be placed appropriately.
The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) requires all universities, community colleges, and technical institutes in its system to follow certain requirements for admitting students. If you apply for regular freshman admission, you must meet these requirements. THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS ARE TBR MINIMUMS FOR REGULAR FRESHMAN ADMISSION.
These are minimum requirements. THE SCHOOL TO WHICH YOU APPLY MAY REQUIRE MORE. Check the catalog of the school to which you apply or contact the Admissions Office to learn what the institution requires.
Students with disabilities or students with special needs can take the tests under conditions that allow for their needs. If you have special needs, you should arrange for testing with the Admissions Office when you apply. The Office of Disability Services requires documentation of disability no later than three days prior to the testing date for which you are requesting accommodations. There is no extra charge for special testing.
You should allow approximately two hours for the entire COMPASS Test. COMPASS is a self-paced, computerized test, which allows you to proceed at your own rate, so you might require more or less time than this estimate would indicate.
You should bring the following information and supplies on the day of the test:
You may NOT bring books, dictionaries, calculators, notes, papers, or other aids into the testing center. Students who give or receive help during the COMPASS Placement Test, use notes or aid of any kind, or remove test materials from the testing center will not be admitted to the institution, and their test scores will be disallowed. Such students must wait at least ninety days before taking the test again, and may not enroll at any TBR school during that time.
Under normal circumstances, you would not take the COMPASS Placement Test more than once. When you have taken the test, your scores will be kept on file for use when you enroll for classes. If you transfer to another TBR school, your COMPASS scores will be forwarded. If circumstances make retaking the COMPASS necessary, there is a $20 fee for the retest.
Courses required as the result of COMPASS assessment must be completed during the first term(s) of residency at the university.
After your COMPASS Test has been scored, you will need to pick up the results at the front of the Testing Center [The essay portion of the test will be scored by committee and will not be available until later. The computerized COMPASS Writing Test measures your editing skills. The essay measures your composition skills. The two will be used together to determine your Writing Placement, and your advisor will be notified of the placement.]. Your scores will be explained to you, and you will need to take a copy of these scores to you academic advisor to be used when choosing your courses for the term. Your advisor will help you to choose and register for the courses you take. Your scores will be used to place you in either college-level courses or the Basic (Remedial)* or Developmental courses that you need.
NOTE: Requirements for DSP courses must be given priority over any other course requirements for your major.
* NOTE: Basic (Remedial) courses are NOT offered at TTU. Basic (Remedial, 0700-level) classes should be completed at one of the Community Colleges available throughout Tennessee. Developmental-level courses in Writing (DSPW0800), Reading (DSPR0800), and Mathematics (DSPM0800, DSPM0850) ARE AVAILABLE at TTU. For more information on TTU's Developmental course offerings, contact the Learning Support Program office and/or check out other areas of this website.
The purpose of the basic (remedial) and developmental courses is to help you succeed in college-level courses. Because these courses must cover a great deal of material in a short period of time, students must work in order to acquire the college-level skills necessary for progression to regular college classes.
For more information about an individual portion of the test:
For further information, see Placement Test Requirements in the TTU Undergraduate Catalog.