New college students for whom English is a second language and the advising/placement personnel assisting these students
ACT designed the COMPASS/ESL (English as a Second Language) placement tests to help postsecondary institutions quickly and accurately assess incoming ESL students’ English language ability levels and place them into appropriate ESL courses.
Tests are available for four subject areas:
- Writing Essay (e-Write)
These tests may be used separately or in combination to give a profile of a student’s language abilities.
Volume/Number of Users
Annually, more than 1,300 postsecondary institutions and more than 2.5 million students in the United States currently use COMPASS. Of the 2.5 million, 2% take COMPASS/ESL.
The score range for COMPASS/ESL tests is 0 to 100, with 0 being the lowest score and 100 the highest.
COMPASS/ESL is designed to:
- Place ESL students accurately and quickly
- Provide ESL students better advising and support services
- Analyze results and evaluate ESL program performance
In some cases, COMPASS/ESL scores indicate skill deficiencies that require further investigation right away. As has always been the case, such students can take the COMPASS/ESL diagnostic assessments, which help educators and students zero in on specific skills that need more work. A student with a low general reading score, for example, might then take the reading diagnostic test to recognize a weakness in inferring the meanings of words. Then the report can direct the student to specific resources on campus to build that skill.