Placement Process for Incoming Students

Incoming degree-seeking students will be placed into their initial English, math and reading courses based on their ACT scores or SAT I sub-scores. If you have not completed the ACT or SAT within the past 5 years or if you wish to challenge your course placement, you will be tested using a computer-adaptive placement test (COMPASS or ACCUPLACER). If you wish to enroll directly into MATH 123 Calculus, you will be required to complete the COMPASS exam.


The ACT Test is a common college entrance exam that is offered at various times throughout the year nationwide. The ACT is composed of tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Students are placed into their initial English, Math, and Reading courses based on their ACT scores (see below).


COMPASS is a computer-based placement test developed by ACT. The COMPASS exam is an adaptive program that is self-paced and allows students to work at their own speed. There is no time limit, the scores do not affect admission to DSU, and there is no pass or fail score. Students do not receive course credit for the COMPASS test; it is used to place students into their initial math, English, and reading courses.

Placement Testing at a Distance

For students who are taking classes over the Internet or who are coming from a distance and wish to take their placement exam before they get to campus, an online COMPASS or ACCUPLACER exam is available. In order to arrange an online exam, please contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

pdf  Required Scores

Sample Questions

Placement Guidelines

Last Updated: 5/30/14