Female student looking into a microscope.


What is the COMPASS?

ACT developed the COMPASS to help applicants succeed in their educational goals. COMPASS is a computerized placement assessment that measures skills in Reading, English, and Mathematics. The main purpose of the skills assessment is to help identify your current strengths and needs so you may build a solid plan for success in the educational options you choose to pursue at Gateway Community and Technical College (GCTC).

All new Gateway students must provide ACT scores of English 18, Math 19, Reading 20 or take the COMPASS test before meeting with an advising center staff member and being enrolled in classes.

COMPASS testing may be waived, if approved by the Registrar, for certain specific certificate programs and for transient students. Students may take up to six credit hours in Business and Industry Training courses without having to take the COMPASS. However, if a non-transient student decides to pursue a credential and/or take general education courses, the student will be required to take the COMPASS or provide appropriate ACT scores.

Each credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) maintains an entry score for coursework in specific academic plans. Based on COMPASS scores, you may be placed in developmental courses. In case of a Reading score of 48 or lower and/or a writing score of 25 or lower, you may be guided to other resources to elevate your academic readiness.

In addition to ACT, the SAT scores will be accepted to exempt a student from the COMPASS Test. An SAT of 500 verbal will exempt the student from the Reading and Writing sections of the COMPASS, and an SAT of 500 Math will exempt students from the Mathematics section of the COMPASS. Students with qualifying SAT scores may enroll in any entry level English or mathematics courses with no developmental coursework required.

If you have earned a degree or attended college prior to admission to Gateway, you may use the transfer credit procedure to fulfill the assessment/placement requirement. Credit may be awarded to students who have a cumulative GPA of 2.0-4.0 and have earned a passing grade in a 100- level or higher course from a regionally accredited institution. The Registrar may award semester credit(s) and exemption from one or all parts of the COMPASS if transcripts reflect courses equivalent to English 101, a transferable Mathematics course, and a Reading-based course such as Psychology, Sociology or Literature.

COMPASS Workshop
COMPASS Retake Workshop