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COMPASS Testing

This assessment allows you and the college staff to work together to help you succeed in your courses. COMPASS scores indicate areas where you may need help and which courses should be a starting point for your educational career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact for more information about the COMPASS Assessment?

Contacts:

Julie Caudill at (800) 246-7521, ext. 73597.
Hallie Bowling at (800) 246-7521, ext. 73486.
Tammy Duff    at (800) 246-7521, ext. 73194 

Compass Testing Dates:

Hazard\Lees Campus
Leslie County Campus
Knott County Campus

What is the COMPASS Assessment?

COMPASS provides important information about individual skills and preparation for college-level courses.  It is a self-paced, adaptive computer-based assessment that measures skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Who is required to take COMPASS?

New Student:

To be exempt from taking COMPASS, you must have taken the ACT and have scored 19 or higher on the Math, an 18 or higher on the English, and 20 or higher on the Reading sections. You will be required to take COMPASS if your scores did not meet or exceed the ACT scores listed above.

If you have completed an application for HCTC, you will receive a letter from the Admissions Office, indicating dates, times, and locations of the next testing sessions.

Re-admit Student:

To be exempt from taking COMPASS, you must have taken the ACT and have scored 19 or higher on the Math, 18 or higher on the English, and 20 or higher on the Reading sections. You will be required to take COMPASS if your scores did not meet or exceed the ACT scores listed above.

OR

If you have passed a college-level class (100 or higher) in the subject area, you do not need to take COMPASS.

You must take COMPASS if your scores are three years old and you have not begun the progression of developmental classes indicated or you have not passed a college-level class (100 or higher) in the subject area. 

If you have completed an application for HCTC, you will receive a letter from the Admissions Office, indicating dates, times, and locations of the next testing sessions.

Transfer Student:

To be exempt from taking COMPASS, you must have taken the ACT and have scored 19 or higher on the Math, an 18 or higher on the English, and 20 or higher on the Reading sections. You will be required to take COMPASS if your scores did not meet or exceed the ACT scores listed above.

OR

If you have passed a college-level class (100 or higher) in the subject area, you do not need to take COMPASS, provided that you have sent official transcripts and they have been evaluated.

If you have completed an application for HCTC, you will receive a letter from the Admissions Office, indicating dates, times, and locations of the next testing sessions.

High School Student--Compass is Conditional:

If you wish to take English 101, you must have scored 18 or higher on this section of the ACT exam.

If you wish to take College Algebra, you must have scored 19 or higher on this section of the ACT exam.

If you have not taken the ACT or if you scored less than 18 on the English section and /or less than 19 on the Math sections, you must take COMPASS exam in those subject areas and meet all class prerequisites.

COMPASS is not required for other classes; however, it can be taken for scholarship purposes.

Non-degree Student--Compass is Conditional:

If you wish to take English 101, you must have scored 18 or higher on this section of the ACT exam.

If you wish to take College Algebra, you must have scored 19 or higher on this section of the ACT exam.

If you have not taken the ACT or if you scored less than 18 on the English section and /or less than 22 on the Math sections, you must take COMPASS and meet all class prerequisites.

COMPASS can also be taken for scholarship purposes.

International Student:

International students must complete the entire COMPASS test unless available ACT or SAT scores exempt the student.

For more information contact:
Elbert E. Hagans, Student Affairs Specialist
(800) 246-7521 ext. 73178 

*Students who would like to submit SAT scores should contact Scott Gross at (800) 246-7521 ext. 73528.

Students with Disabilities:

Students who request test accommodations because of a documented disability should contact Melissa Johnson, the HCTC Disability Coordinator at (606) 487-3405. Upon referral from the Disability Coordinator, the Testing Center will arrange a test date.

What does the COMPASS measure?

  • Reading 
    The student is given one or more passages to read, and then answers questions about the passage.   
      
  • Writing
    The student is presented with an essay and asked to look for errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and style.
       
  • Mathematics
    The student solves problems which measure numerical, pre-algebra, and algebra skills.  Some of the areas included are:  basic operations with integers, fractions, decimals; exponents; ratios and proportions; percentages; and topics in elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, and coordinate geometry. 

How much does it cost to take the COMPASS?

Students taking COMPASS for the first time do not pay for the assessment.  Students who retest will be charged $7.00 for each section they retake.  To pay for the exams visit the Business Office in the Jolly Classroom Center.

How can I prepare for COMPASS?

Many students find it helpful to review basic mathematics skills if they have not used them recently.  For example, if it has been some time since the student has added, multiplied and divided fractions, he or she may want to practice these skills before taking COMPASS.  It is very important for the student to give a best effort on the assessment test to ensure accurate placement and advisement.  Sample questions are available at the following website: http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html

NOTE:  An on-screen calculator is available for use during the  math test; if a student wishes to bring a calculator, one up to a TI-85 or TI-86 may be used.  You can find out more information at http://www.act.org/compass/student/calculator.html.  

When should COMPASS be taken?

COMPASS is given at scheduled times throughout the year.  Students are encouraged to take the test as early as possible.  Your application should be submitted to the Office of Admissions before taking COMPASS.

Is it possible to schedule a COMPASS retest?

Students working toward a particular goal with their COMPASS scores may request a retest. To schedule a retest, call the HCTC Testing Center on the Hazard Campus for prior approval (606) 487-3597.  Students are required to remediate before scheduling a retest.  Documentation of remediation is required for each section that will be repeated.

As mentioned above, there is a $7 retest fee for each section of the COMPASS repeated or a $20 fee if all three parts are repeated.  Testing fees are payable at the HCTC Business Office located in Room 205 of the Jolly Classroom Center.