Testing Center

COMPASS ESL

COMPASS – English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement Test

All students enrolling at Northeast whose native language is not English are required to take the COMPASS ESL placement test.

The COMPASS ESL measures the students’ abilities in the following areas: Listening, Reading, Grammar/Usage, and Essay, and places them in the appropriate ESL courses.

ESL Listening

This test assesses a student’s ability to understand Standard American English. The intent of the test is to measure listening skills rather than short-term memory.

Items range from recognizing pictures that go with spoken words or phrases at the lowest level to answering inferential questions about overall academic materials at the highest levels.

ESL Reading

This English placement test assesses a student’s ability to recognize and manipulate Standard American English in two major categories:
  1. Referring (reading explicitly stated materials)
  2. Reasoning (inferential reading)
The content of these areas will vary on the test according to levels of English proficiency.

Most materials are reading passages, ranging in length from several sentences to many paragraphs. Students may also be asked to interpret photographs, tables, charts, or graphs, or to follow directions using a map.

Items range from recognizing pictures that go with words at the lowest level to answering inferential questions about academic materials at the highest levels.

ESL Grammar/Usage

This English placement test assesses a student’s ability to recognize and manipulate Standard American English in two main areas:
  1. Sentence Elements
  2. Sentence Structure and Syntax
Sentence Elements include verbs, subjects and objects, modifiers, function words, conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling), and word formation.

Sentence Structure and Syntax include word order, relationships between and among clauses, and agreement, as well as how grammar relates to communication beyond the sentence level.

ESL Essay (ESL e-Write)

This English placement test provides analytic scores in the areas of Developmental, Language Use, Organization, Focus, and Mechanics with an overall score based on a weighted composite of the analytic scores.

Reminders

  • Arrive before your scheduled time.
  • Bring your current photo ID and social security number
  • Leave your cell phone in your vehicle.
  • No visitors are allowed during testing.
  • Test taking tips for the COMPASS test are available at www.act.org/compass
  • Brush up on your skills by visiting the following Internet websites:
  • Current photo ID is required for all testing.
  • Scores are good for 5 years.
  • You may take the COMPASS test twice during a semester. Retest fee is $10.00