Placement Assessments (ALEKS and Compass

Before enrolling in courses at Iowa Central, all first-time, full-time students; all part-time students taking math, English, reading, or anyone whose program requires it must present assessment scores (from the last 3 years). Iowa Central requires ALEKS, COMPASS, ACT, ACCUPLACER, SAT, or Iowa Assessments (junior year) scores so they can guide students to appropriate coursework and to eventual academic success.

ALEKS Assessment

The ALEKS Assessment is Iowa Central’s math placement assessment. If students have not taken any prior math placement assessments, they can take the ALEKS Assessment at any of the Iowa Central centers, free-of-charge. The computerized ALEKS Assessment is not timed and provides a built-in calculator that can be used for some of the problems. The average time for the ALEKS Assessment is 90 minutes. Once you have completed the first assessment, you will have access to an online Prep and Learning Module where you can work through a series of problems specific to your proficient/deficient math subject areas.

Compass Assessment

The Compass Assessment is Iowa Central’s reading and writing (English) placement assessment. The computerized Compass assessment is not timed but takes approximately ½ hour per section to complete. Sample COMPASS test questions can be found at

Things You Should Know About Taking Assessments

  • The Compass and ALEKS Assessments are given on a drop-in basis at the Fort Dodge Center and by appointment at the Storm Lake and Webster City Centers. 
  • A valid photo ID must be provided (student ID, driver’s license, or passport)
  • All placement scores are valid for 3 years from the start the course you are placed in.
  • The placement assessments can only be given once per day; you must wait 24 hours before reassessing.
  • No student will be allowed to begin an assessment if the full allotted time is not available.
  • A $25 fee is charged to students who wish to have their placement scores sent to another institution. Click here to fill out your Placement Test Score Request Form
  • After you complete the COMPASS and ALEKS Assessments, we will interpret your scores for placement into specific Iowa Central courses. See the Mandatory Placement Chart

ALEKS Assessment

  • The ALEKS Assessment is untimed; however, students should plan approximately 90 minutes to complete 30 placement problems.
  • Only the on-screen calculator can be used for the ALEKS Assessment. Some problems will not allow access to the calculator. Students can use scratch paper, provided by the Testing Center.
  • Students may take the ALEKS Assessment up to 5 times, total.
    • Between the first and second assessment, students must wait a full 24 hours before retesting.
    • Between assessments 2-5, students must put in a mandatory 5 hours into the Prep and Learning Module before they will be able to take their next assessment. 
  • The ALEKS Assessment must be taken in one sitting.
  • Retests are free for the ALEKS Assessment.

Compass Assessment

  • Should the need arise, the Compass Assessment may be paused and completed on an arranged date.
  • A calculator may be used (not graphing) during the math portion if a student needs a COMPASS score for math.
  • Students make take the Compass Assessment as many times as they would like, but only once per day.
    • Students who are trying to reassess for the COMPASS exam are charged $10 per section retake.

At The Other Campuses, Call Ahead For Times/Appointments

  • Storm Lake (712) 749-5179
  • Webster City (515) 832-1632

For More Information

Amy Moffitt
Testing Services Coordinator

Academic Resource Center