Day 90 New Exit Exam


Next week our English 0481 and English 0482 students will take a required Reading Exit Exam.  However, the exit exam has changed.  Instead of offering the COMPASS computer adaptive test and ASSET paper-pencil test (ASSET is offered to students registered with the Office of Access and Accommodations), we are now incorporating the ACCUPLACER test, as COMPASS and ASSET are being phased out. This semester two separate tests, COMPASS and ACCUPLACER, will be taken during two separate weeks with a student permit distributed for each test.  The Reading Exit Exam is distributed and proctored in our Testing Centers on campus and at our satellite centers. The tests are not timed.

The higher score will prevail in terms of meeting the Reading Competency Requirement (Reading Category 1) or advancing to the next Reading level. The COMPASS scores have not changed. The College of DuPage ACCUPLACER cut scores are:

  • Category 1: 75 and above (Reading Category 1 met)
  • Category 2: 58-74 English 0482
  • Category 3: 30-57 English 0481
  • Category 4: 20-29 English 0480

We are not the only course effected by the exam change.  Our College DuPage Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jean Kartje, distributed this e-mail:

As most of you are aware, ACT announced last June that it would discontinue offering the Compass placement test by the end of 2016, citing overall decline in use of the test, as well as new research questioning the predictive reliability of the instrument.  Given that COD administers approximately 27,000 Compass placement tests to incoming and returning students each year in the areas of reading, writing, math and ESL, this news raised serious questions about how best to proceed.

To address these concerns, a task force made up of faculty and administrative representatives from across the College was formed last fall, and I am pleased to report that this group has made substantial progress in identifying alternative placement options. Indeed, the teams have identified two different placement solutions that the College will begin implementing this spring—well in advance of the deadline.

In the areas of developmental reading, developmental writing, and ESL, faculty have selected ACCUPLACER as a short-term placement solution as they continue to explore how multiple measures might effectively be used for placement at COD. In math, faculty have selected ALEKS. Both ACCUPLACER and ALEKS are nationally normed, adaptive testing instruments that have been widely adopted by a number of two-year and four-year colleges across Illinois and beyond.

For more information about ACCUPLACER, please visit

For a brief introduction and overview of ALEKS, please visit:

There is still much work to do, and the task force will continue to meet regularly in the coming weeks to finalize policies and cut-scores as COD transition to these new systems. In any undertaking of this size, there are inevitably some challenges that come up along the way. But the teams have already done an outstanding job in ensuring that the College continues to meet the diverse needs of our students. Please join me in thanking them for their dedication and hard work to this project, and look for additional updates from the task force soon.




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