Placement Testing

 

Checklist

  1. Apply for Admission (no application fee)
  2. Get a Student ID Number
    - which will either be sent to you in your acceptance letter or you can get it from the Admissions and Records Office in the Matrix (first floor of the Taylor building).
  3. Check Testing Center Hours & Policies
  4. Look at Sample Questions
  5. Take COMPASS @ one of the CSI testing centers
    (Bring a Picture ID)

Placement Testing

What is the CSI Placement Test?

Placement TestingAll degree-seeking students must take the CSI placement test prior to enrolling in courses at the College of Southern Idaho. Non degree-seeking must take the placement test if enrolling in courses that require Math or English placement. CSI uses the COMPASS (Computerized Adaptive Placement Assessment & Support System) test from the American College Testing for placement. The placement test covers reading, writing, mathematics, spelling, and vocabulary. This test is NOT used to determine admission to CSI and students cannot "fail" the test. However, it is very important that students do their very best on the test because their scores will be used for course placement. The higher they score, the higher level Math and/or English courses they will be able to enroll in. Students who do not place into college-level courses, are placed into developmental courses (below college-level courses that are designed to help prepare students for college-level work). Students should learn about the COMPASS test before they go in to take the test. They should also consider preparing for the test to ensure that they score as high as possible on the test. At the bottom of this page there are resources that students can use to brush up on their skills before taking the COMPASS test. There is no charge for taking the placement test.

The COMPASS assessments are a series of un-timed adaptive tests in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.  Spelling Development and Building College Vocabulary testing may be required as well as part of the CSI placement requirements.  These tests are used as a means to gather information regarding the background, educational needs, and course placement of students.  The COMPASS placement assessment can be taken at no charge for students who are enrolling at CSI.  If a student has taken COMPASS in the past, they may not have to retake the assessment. All placement scores must be less than three years old from the date of course registration.

Do I Need to Take the Placement Test if I Already have ACT or SAT Scores?

Although CSI does not require the ACT test or the SAT test for admission, the scores may be used in lieu of the COMPASS placement test.  Depending on the scores received, students who have taken the ACT test and/or the SAT test within the last three years may not need to take the COMPASS (or certain sections of the COMPASS).  The score ranges for the ACT test and the SAT test are located at the following links:

Please contact the Advising Office for more information about using ACT scores and/or SAT scores for placement.  All test scores must be less than three years old. 

What is My First Step?

  • Apply for Admission (no application fee)

  • Get a Student ID Number
    - which will either be sent to you in your acceptance letter or you can get it from the Admissions and Records Office in the Matrix (first floor of the Taylor building).

Where and When do I Take the Placement Test?

The placement test is administered on the main campus in the Testing Center, on the second floor of the Meyerhoeffer building (room 230). The test is given on a walk-in basis; no appointment is necessary. Students who wish to complete the whole test (all sections) in one day should allow at least 2 hours.  No tests are started within 2 hours of closing.  Please check Testing Center hours and policies and remember that a valid photo ID is required to take the COMPASS test.

We recommend that high school students take the placement test during the last semester of their senior year, or right after graduation, to maximize their Math and English preparation. Students who have already graduated from high school can take the test anytime prior to registration.

Can I Take the CSI COMPASS at Another Location?

Students can take the COMPASS placement by appointment at CSI’s three off-campus centers:

Off-Campus Center Address City Phone Number
Blaine County Center 1050 Fox Acres Rd.
Hailey, ID 83333
Hailey, ID (208) 788-2033
Mini-Cassia Center 1600 Parke Avenue
Burley ID 83318
Burley, ID (208) 678-1400
Northside Center Round Building 
202 14th Ave. E. 
Gooding, ID 83330
Gooding, ID (208) 934-8678

CSI also accepts official COMPASS placement assessment results taken at another university/college.  The test scores must be less than three years old and it is the student’s responsibility to have his/her scores sent to the CSI Admissions and Records Office.

Remote Testing

CSI COMPASS Placement can be taken remotely through the ACT network of centers. To access this network, follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.act.org/compass/sites/index.html and find a site nearest you.
  2. Contact Valerie Ward, CSI Testing Center Coordinator (208-732-6569) to register to test at your chosen testing site.
  3. After registering you will receive an email with your registration number and the information to contact the testing site.
  4. Make an appointment with remote site.

What Do I Do With My Test Results?

When you complete the COMPASS testing session, you will receive a copy of your test results. You are strongly encouraged to set up an appointment with your major advisor to review your scores.  Liberal Arts majors, new students, non-degree seeking, and undecided students should bring their COMPASS scores to the Advising Center to discuss appropriate course planning and selection prior to registering for courses.  Bring your copy of the test results with you to the appointment with your advisor or when you are ready to register for classes. We also recommend that you take your test results with you on the first day of classes.

Can I Re-take the CSI COMPASS?

Yes, you can re-take each COMPASS placement section if you believe your first score is not indicative of your actual placement skills and abilities. Each re-take section can be administered at no cost. However, taking a COMPASS placement section a third time is not highly recommended. If you decide to take a COMPASS placement section a third time, there is a $10.00 seating fee.

Are There Any COMPASS Preparation Options?

Yes, students are highly encouraged to review COMPASS preparation materials prior to administering the COMPASS placement assessment. The suggested materials include:

  • The official COMPASS sample questions webpage:  http://www.act.org/compass/sample/
  • Review reading, writing, math, spelling, and vocabulary workbooks on reserve at the CSI Library.
  • View videotapes and DVD’s to refresh subject areas available at the CSI Library.
  • Request a sample of the COMPASS questions by sending a self-addressed, stamped ($1.90 ) 9x12 envelope to:
  • Academic Development Center/Testing Center
    College of Southern Idaho
    PO Box 1238
    Twin Falls, ID 83303-1238

  • COMPASS Prep Workshop - This workshop will inform the student about what the COMPASS scores mean, what they are used for, and how to prepare for the exam. Click here to see the schedule.

For more information about the CSI placement test, please contact the Testing Center at (208) 732-6532 vward@csi.edu, or the Advising Center (208) 732-6250 ktaylor@csi.edu.