Assessment Center and Course Placement

About Course Placement

Course Placement at HFC is an assessment designed to identify your skills in math, reading, and writing. The computerized Course Placement is called Compass and is a product of ACT. After completing Course Placement, you and your advisor will review your results to select an appropriate course load and proper starting point for your math and English classes.

You cannot fail Course Placement. Whatever your results are, there is a starting point for you. If your results show a need for assistance in meeting academic requirements, we offer developmental classes in math, reading, and English as well as free tutoring through our Learning Lab and Assisted Learning Services office.

Frequently Asked Questions

When and where can I take Course Placement?

You can take the Course Placement at the Assessment Center which is located on the first floor of the Welcome Center (WC). Testing hours are Monday–Thursday at 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Friday at 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

What can I expect the day of my Course Placement?

  • A valid photo ID is mandatory for all students testing.
  • Allow approximately two hours to complete the process but the Compass Course Placement is not timed.
  • No appointment is necessary.
  • All mobile devices must be turned off before entering testing area.
  • Get a good night's sleep before you test!
  • The Compass Course Placement is a computerized multiple choice test and will require you to know how to use a computer and mouse to enter your answers.
  • The Assessment Center can lend you a graphing calculator (TI-83 Plus). For an approved list of calculators, please review the Calculator Guidelines for ACT Compass Testing.
  • You may not use study aids on any section.
  • Students who wish to enroll in MATH 115 (College Algebra), MATH 121 (Mathematics for Elementary Teachers), MATH 153 (Essentials of Calculus for Business and Economics), or MATH 180 (Calculus I) must select the Compass Course Placement.
  • All questions are multiple choice.

Do I have to take the Course Placement?

As a new student, you are required to take Course Placement before you can register for classes. Research has shown that taking the proper sequence of math and English courses has a positive carry-over effect on all classes you take from that time forward. Math is a discipline that exercises your thinking and reasoning skills, while English addresses comprehension and writing skills.

Students who are improperly placed in courses may find themselves confused, frustrated, bored, or unable to succeed. Some mistakenly decide college is not for them. This is why Course Placement is so important: if you start out learning at the appropriate level for your skills and abilities, you are likely to complete your educational goals.

If you took the ACT, you may be eligible to waive the Course Placement. See below for more information.

Can I waive the Course Placement if I took the ACT?

Students may use ACT scores in lieu of Course Placement. HFC will only review official ACT scores in order to consider waiving course placements through ACT scores.

Official ACT Scores

Official Act scores are sent directly from ACT to HFC, or sent directly from your high school to HFC via fax or USPS mail. Scores that are hand-delivered are not official. Learn more about how to request official documents of your scores.

You may send your official scores to:

ACT Scores
Assessment Center
Henry Ford College
Dearborn, MI 48128

Placing into ENG 131 using the ACT

  • Students that took the ACT in 2009 or later: Minimum English score of 18 with a minimum ACT Writing Test score of 6.
  • Students that took the ACT prior to 2009 (without the writing portion): Minimum English score of 21.

Placing into MATH 112, MATH 115, MATH 121, or MATH 150 using the ACT

Students must have a minimum score of 22 or higher on the mathematics portion of the ACT exam for placement.

How can I prepare for the Course Placement?

To prepare, or if you feel your scores can be improved, you may take advantage of the following resources.

On-Campus Resources

HFC Learning Lab

General Resources

Act Sample Test Questions




Learning Support English at University of North Georgia

Can I retake the Course Placement?

You can retake the Course Placement for a second time after 24 hours. If you wish to retake the Course Placement for the third and final time, you must get written permission from Advising or Counseling to do so. All retakes are done using the compass Course Placement only.

I took my Course Placement at HFC. How do I send my scores to another school?

Scores from Course Placement taken at HFC will only be forwarded to other institutions for past or currently enrolled students. You may request your Course Placement scores by submitting an Authorization to Release Compass Score Form to the Assessment Center. Incomplete forms will not be processed.

What is the ESL Compass?

Students that attended middle school in a non-English speaking country will be administered the ESL Compass Course Placement.

What is the Chemistry Placement Test?

The Chemistry Placement Test is for students wishing to register for CHEM 141. To take the Chemistry Placement Test you should have completed one of the following:

  1. Completed Math 080 with a passing grade;
  2. Test score of 46 or more on the algebra portion on the Compass testing;
  3. Be presently enrolled in Math 080; or
  4. Score a 22 or higher on the math section of the ACT and send us the official ACT score.

What is the ASSET Test?

Henry Ford College offers two different kinds of Course Placement; one is administered on the computer (Compass) and the other is administered by paper and pencil (ASSET). Both versions cover mathematics, reading and writing skills and take approximately 2 hours to complete. You are not required to take all three sections of the exam in one sitting.

The ASSET test is a tool only used by students who have a documented learning disability. Arrangements to take this test must be made through Assisted Learning Services at 313-317-4112.

  • The ASSET test is timed; each section takes 25 minutes to complete.
  • Students take this test using a booklet, scantron sheet and pencil.
  • Students may not use a calculator on the mathematics test, nor any other study aids on any section.
  • The ASSET test is not appropriate for students wishing to place into MATH 115 (College Algebra) or higher. Students who wish to enroll in MATH 115 (College Algebra) or higher must select the Compass test.
  • All questions are multiple choice.

What should I do after taking the Course Placement?

After you complete the Course Placement, we recommend that you complete step 5 of the 7 Easy Steps to Enroll and meet with an academic advisor to plan your schedule.