In accordance with North Dakota University System Policy 402.1.2 and North Dakota University System Procedure 402.1.2, students are placed into Mathematics and English courses based on qualifying exam scores. The intent is to appropriately place students into courses that are both challenging and for which they are adequately prepared.
Students will be required to take the COMPASS test if they do not have ACT official scores dated within the last five years or COMPASS official scores dated within the last three years.
Students may be required to complete the COMPASS test in one, two or three areas depending on their ACT scores. This will ensure students are placed in courses appropriate to their abilities (see below overview).
For further questions, please see the NDSCS Course Placement Policy or call the Student Success Center at 701-671-3000.
|COMPASS Testing Required If:|
|ACT English Score||17 or below|
|ACT Reading Score||17 or below|
|ACT Math Score||20 or below*|
*Minimum math scores vary significantly depending on program. For all transfer programs (Liberal Arts), a score of 23 or below will be required to test. For more information see the NDSCS Course Placement Policy.
Students are encouraged to review sample COMPASS test questions before completing their COMPASS test at New Student Registration and Orientation.
Sample questions are available at:
What is the ACT COMPASS Test?
ACT COMPASS is an untimed, computerized test that helps colleges evaluate students' skills and place them into appropriate courses. Students will receive ACT COMPASS test results immediately upon completion of testing along with a score report that will include placement messages informing students of what courses they should take and how to register. Academic staff and faculty will review all results with students and discuss their academic plan based on these scores. For more information please call the Student Success Center at 701-671-3000 or visit the ACT COMPASS website.
How are ACT COMPASS Scores Used?
ACT COMPASS is not used like a traditional test. There is generally no "passing score." Rather, ACT COMPASS scores indicate areas in which students are strong and areas in which they may need more help in. The College will use the results from ACT COMPASS test(s) to prepare a course of study that will be appropriate, relevant and meaningful for students.
How Much Does the Test Cost?
There is no charge for students to COMPASS test the first time at NDSCS.
What if my COMPASS Scores are Better than my ACT scores?
Often we see students place more appropriately, in more advanced courses, based on their COMPASS test results. NDSCS will place students into courses based on their highest placement test scores (either COMPASS or ACT).