Assessment and Placement

What is assessment and placement?

The ACT® test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The COMPASS test is a computerized exam used to determine skill level in reading, English, and math and also determines at what academic level a student should begin post-high school work .

Why do I have to be assessed?

KCTCS requires students to have assessment and placement information before beginning college classes. This may be done by ACT scores, transfer credit, or COMPASS scores. These assessments are used to place students in appropriate classes in order to increase success in college.

Do I need to take the COMPASS?

To be exempt from COMPASS, ACT scores (effective Summer 2010) must at a minimum be: Reading 20, English 18, and Math 22 (19-21 qualify for certain math classes); OR transfer credits/dual credits from an accredited college or university in the areas of reading, English and/or Math. CLEP credits are also accepted. If a student does not meet these requirements, they will be required to take COMPASS before signing up for classes. SAT scores may be submitted in lieu of ACT scores.

Why is the COMPASS important?

Your COMPASS test results are used to place you into classes which can be either developmental education courses or college level courses. Here are some facts about developmental courses:

Developmental courses are classes that you must take in order to bring yourself up to college-level. 

  • If you place into a developmental course, you must successfully complete it in order to qualify for other classes.
  • You do not receive any credit hours for developmental courses. These courses do not count towards any degree.
  • You will have to stay in school longer to finish your degree – in some cases, as long as two years.
  • Developmental courses may not transfer to other schools.
  • Some financial aid packages will not cover developmental courses.
  • Developmental placements limit when you can register and what other classes you can take.
  • Developmental courses will cost you extra time and plenty of extra money.

Helpful websites for review:

All COMPASS Subject Areas:




Students may also wish to brush-up through the Adult Learning Center by taking brush-up classes, working with their printed resources and a couple of computer programs that they offer.

Free ACT Practice:

Paid ACT Services/Resources:

ACT offers a paid service on the web.

There are also many other paid services through the internet such as or

Several books are available for purchase that also include practice CDs that can be used on home computers. Many titles can be checked out at the local libraries or purchased at any local bookstore or online. These books normally include real practice tests, lessons, strategies, and test taking tips. These might include:

  • The Real ACT Prep Guide (This book is the official practice book published by ACT)
  • Kaplan ACT Premier Program (w/CD-ROM)
  • The ACT for Dummies

Contact information

COMPASS is by appointment only. Call 270-831-9783 to schedule COMPASS testing. You may also fax student copies of test scores to Cary Conley at 270-831-9612 or call 270-831-9610, though official ACT scores must be on file in the Admissions office.

Additional Tests

Find out information about GED and Workforce Testing.