Assessment


Assessment

Welcome to the Contra Costa College Assessment Center

Our Center offers assessments, which are used to determine a student’s placement in English, Math and English as a Second Language (ESL).  The purpose of the assessment is to help you enroll in the courses most appropriate for you.

Location:  Contra Costa College – Student Services Lab, SSC-104

Campus Map & Directions can be found here

Phone: (510) 215-3896

Fax: (510) 235-5819

Email: assessment@contracosta.edu

In order to complete the assessment you must have each of the following:

  1. Contra Costa College application on file with the Admissions and Records Office.
  2. Your CCC student ID number.
  3. You must show a valid photo ID (e.g. Driver’s License, High School ID, Passport, etc.) to take the test.

Assessments will not be processed without the above information.

Alternate formats are available for DSPS Students.

To make sure that you are prepared for your assessment click on the tab(s) to the left for the assessments you plan to take or contact us for more information.

Assessment Information

Assessment Overview

Contra Costa College uses ACT/COMPASS®, a computerized assessment, for placement into English, reading, math, and ESL (English as a Second Language) courses. This is an un-timed placement. Our assessment is only open to students who have submitted their application and intend to enroll at Contra Costa College. Students taking the ESL assessment must also complete a timed writing assessment.

COMPASS offers test modules in the subject areas listed below to evaluate the skill levels of incoming students.

The COMPASS system includes placement tests that counselors can use to place students in courses appropriate to their skill levels, diagnostics tests that faculty can use to identify specific subject areas where students may need help, and extensive demographics that advisors can use for a thorough understanding of students’ support needs.

In addition to our college-level courses, the College has a series of developmental courses for students who need some additional foundational work in English and/or Math. The COMPASS will place students either into college-level courses or developmental courses or a combination of the two.

Upon the completion of the assessment, students will receive a report that includes the placement results for each section. Students completing the ESL assessment will not receive results right away as their scores and wiring sample must be sent to the ESL faculty for placement.  Students can also access their placement results through Insite Portal/WebAdvisor by checking the Test Summary section after two business day of completion.

Practice test available at www.act.org/compass/tests

Who Should be Assessed?

All new students working toward a degree, certificate, transfer, or are undecided about their educational or career goals are expected to complete assessment, orientation, and counseling/educational planning unless exempt for one of the following reasons:

  • You have competed at least 15 units of coursework at another college and have taken English and math courses (must provide transcript).
  • You hold an Associate Degree or higher.
  • You are taking 6 units or less of coursework with no prerequisites, and for personal enrichment only.
  • You have completed assessment, orientation and counseling/educational planning process at another college and you wish to waive your right to participate.
  • Students taking the ESL Assessment are not required to take the math assessment, though we recommend it.

Matriculation Exemption Waiver,forms are available through the Offices of Admissions and Records, Matriculation or Counseling, and must be signed by appropriate college personnel.

Assessment of new students is required in the areas of reading, writing, and math (see exemptions above).

Students must bring photo ID and their student ID number to the lab.

Children are not allowed in the lab.

Book an Assessment Appointment

To book an assessment appointment you will need to have the following items:

(1) A completed CCC application on file with the Admissions & Records office

(2) Your CCC student ID number

(3) Your date of birth

(4) Select the appropriate assessment you need to take.

Once you have all this information handy you can book an appointment online.

On site, you MUST present a valid photo ID (e.g. Driver’s License, High School ID, Passport, etc.) before you are allowed to take the assessment.

Documented Disabilities/Testing

Any student with a documented disability who would like accommodations made for testing should contact the Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) office  located in SSC-109 prior assessment.

Compass English with Sample Questions

COMPASS ENGLISH ASSESSMENT

COMPASS® Reading Placement Assessment
A multiple-choice test including five types of reading comprehension passages-Practical Reading, Prose Fiction, Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences.

SAMPLE READING ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

COMPASS® Writing Placement Assessment

The Writing Skills Placement Test is also a multiple-choice test that requires students to find and correct errors in essays in the areas of usage and mechanics, including basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, and rhetorical skills, including strategy, organization and style.

SAMPLE WRITING ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS 

Compass Math with Sample Questions

COMPASS® Math Placement Assessment

The Math Placement Test is a multiple-choice test that evaluates students’ ability levels in performing a sequence of basic operations, applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways, and demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationships for mathematical operations. The Math Placement Test offers up to five subject areas: Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry.

SAMPLE MATH ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS: NUMERICAL SKILLS, PRE ALGEBRA, ALGEBRA

SAMPLE MATH ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS: COLLEGE ALGEBRA, GEOMETRY, TRIGONOMETRY

Students may choose to start the math assessment at the Pre-Algebra, Algebra or College Algebra level and may use calculators that comply with ACT specifications when taking the COMPASS math tests.

Compass ESL (English as a Second Language) with Sample Questions

English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement Tests

Contra Costa College uses the COMPASS ESL tests for non-native English speakers’ abilities in three areas—Listening, Reading and Grammar Usage. In addition to the COMPASS ESL tests, the ESL Department requires a timed writing assessment as well. All these tests are used to place students in the appropriate ESL courses.

 

ESL Listening ESL Listening Sample Questions

This test assesses a student’s ability to understand Standard American English. Listening tasks increase in difficulty across multiple proficiency levels with the rate of speech, vocabulary, diction, and use of idiomatic and metaphorical language all increasing at higher levels. Students are allowed to take notes as they would in a lecture setting. The intent of the test is to measure listening skills rather than short-term memory.

 

ESL Reading ESL Reading Sample Questions 

This ESL Reading placement test assesses a student’s ability to recognize and manipulate Standard American English in two major categories:

  • Referring (reading explicitly stated material)
  • Reasoning (inferential reading)

Most materials are reading passages, ranging in length from several sentences to many paragraphs. Students also may be asked to interpret photographs, tables, charts, or graphs, or to follow directions using a map or other diagram.

 

ESL Grammar/Usage ESL Grammar/Usage Sample Questions

This ESL Grammar Usage placement test assesses a student’s ability to recognize and manipulate Standard American English in two main areas:

  • Sentence Elements
  • Sentence Structure and Syntax

Sentence Elements include verbs, subjects and objects, modifiers, function words, conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling), and word formation.

Sentence Structure and Syntax include word order, relationships between and among clauses, and agreement, as well as how grammar relates to communication beyond the sentence level.

Some items in the ESL Grammar/Usage test use a modified cloze format, with blanks in sentences and choices to fill in the blanks, other items in this test offer a question with four options, based on a reading passage. These items test students’ understanding of how words function within a text.

For all three ESL COMPASS tests items range from recognizing pictures that go with spoken words or phrases at the lowest level to answering inferential questions about overall academic materials at the highest levels.

 

Understanding Your Scoes

How to Locate and Understand Your Assessment Scores

You have just completed the assessment portion of the matriculation process.  You should use your assessment results, along with the assistance of a counselor, to help you enroll in the most appropriate math and English courses.

Your assessment is only one measure of your skill level, and you will be asked to consider other measures to aid you in your course selection.  Some of the other measures that may be used include regency of high school graduation and English and math courses completed in high school or at another educational institution.
Understand Your English Scores

To understand your English results locate your scores on the Reading and Writing Assessment Chart. Your scores will fall into a range.  To the right of your scores, you will see the recommended course placement based on your results. NOTE: Often students place at different levels for reading and writing. If this is the case, please meet with a counselor to determine the best English course for you.

* If you are a non-native speaker of English and have placed below English 1A, you should consider taking the ESL Assessment.

 

Understanding Your Math Scores

You may have several math scores, as the computerized Compass math assessment is adaptive. For example, you may have Algebra and a Pre-Algebra test score. To understand your math scores, first locate the appropriate Math Assessment Chart and then locate your score within that chart.  Your score will fall into a range.  To the right of your score, you will see the recommended course placement based on your results. A counselor can assist you in selecting the math course most appropriate for your educational goal.

Understanding Your ESL Scores

The ESL faculty will use your scores to provide a holistic placement into ESL courses based on four components  (1) Reading (2) Grammar (3) Listening and Speaking (4) Writing.  You can view the flow chart to help understand the ESL placement.

After you have established your math, reading and writing placement levels, a counselor will assist you with selecting courses to meet your educational goal.  This process is called developing an educational plan.  This plan becomes a contract between the college and yourself. If you follow the plan established by you and your counselor, you are more likely to successfully complete your goal.

 

Please note: If you have been in any kind of support classes in high school, you may want to talk to someone in DSPS to make sure you are choosing classes that are appropriate.

Assessment FAQ's

Is there a practice test I can take?

Yes. The practice test is available online at www.act.org/compass/tests

What do I need to bring with me for the test?

 You will need to bring a government issued photo ID and your CCC student ID number. We provide scratch paper and pencils and a calculator is embedded in the site as well.

How long is the test?

The assessment test is untimed. However, the average time it takes for a student to complete the tests are as followed:

English: 1- 1 ½ hours

Math: 45- 1 hour  

ESL:  1 – 2 hours

ATB:  1 – 2 hours

When do I get my results?

 Upon the completion of the assessment, students will receive a report that includes the placement results for each section. Students completing the ESL assessment will not receive results right away as their scores and wiring sample must be sent to the ESL faculty for placement.  Students can also access their placement results through Insite Portal/WebAdvisor by checking the Test Summary section after two business day of completion.

Can I re-take the test?

The Assessment scores are valid for two years. Retesting before these two years expire requires counselor emailed or written permission.