Earlham College has recognized that many students are arriving on campus with weakness in their mathematical competency. Since the College wants all students to successfully complete the general education requirements set forth by the College, a numeracy initiative has been developed to assist students with their mathematical literacy.
The placement test Earlham adopted for its numeracy initiative is the ACT Computer-Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System (COMPASS). COMPASS assists many postsecondary institutions measure students’ skills in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and English as a Second Language.
All admitted Earlham students, regardless of intended major or SAT score, are required to take the COMPASS mathematics test during New Student Orientation; each student will begin the test in algebra. COMPASS will adapt the test questions to each student’s responses.
Students will be assigned to a testing session in an on-campus public computer lab during the weekend of New Student Orientation. Students should arrive promptly to their testing session even though the test is untimed. COMPASS launches an online calculator, and paper and pencil are provided. No external calculators are permitted.
Students will receive an individualized COMPASS report at the conclusion of their testing session. The report includes a COMPASS score, placement area (pre-algebra, algebra, and college algebra), and recommendation regarding a student's readiness for specific “math-sensitive” courses.
Academic advisers will receive a copy of their advisee’s individualized COMPASS report before students register for fall classes. Advisers will use the COMPASS report and a student’s personal information to assist with course selection.