Get into the Classes that are Best for You: Meet Your Goals with a Strong Beginning!
What is Placement?
The goal of placement is to get students into the most appropriate courses for their skills and abilities.
Many courses at Highline have placement prerequisites for reading, writing, and/or mathematics ability. Placement is used to determine if students have the skills needed in order to be successful in these courses.
Ways to Place into Courses at Highline
For courses that have prerequisites, there are a few ways that placement may be determined at Highline.
school transcripts may be used
to determine math and English placement.
Have you been out of
High school for 2-3 years? Using your
transcript for placement into math and English
courses may be a better option for you than
taking the COMPASS or MyMathTest. Find out
if this is the right path for you:
Click here to see what math course you may be eligible for.
Click here to see what English course you may be eligible for.
- Courses from other colleges may be used for placement. Bring an official copy of your transcript to the Records Office in bldg 6 to have your transcript evaluated. You may also show your transcript to an instructor for the course you which to try to register for if you believe you have taken courses that would satisfy prerequisites for the course you which to take.
- Placement tests may be used to determine placement also. Highline uses MyMathTest, COMPASS reading, COMPASS writing, and COMPASS ESL (grammar, reading, listening) tests. All placement tests are computer based programs.
from another WA state Community College
If you have taken a placement test within the last year, we will honor your course placement from that Community College. Follow either instruction below to request placement reciprocity. If you have placement scores that are 1-2 years old, please follow instruction #2 below.
1. Fill out this form to request reciprocity. You will need a MyHCC account to login.
2. Submit placement scores:
In person: Placement and Testing Center- Building 25, Library, 6th floor.
Mail: Highline Community College
Placement and Testing Center
Attn: Shannon Waits
P.O. Box 98000 M/S 25-6A
Des Moines, WA 98198-9800
Regardless of where you place on the COMPASS or MyMathTest, you will still be able to enroll in courses at Highline: There is no way to fail these tests!
What is COMPASS?
Highline uses COMPASS reading and writing tests for placement into English classes and courses that have English prerequisites.
Description of COMPASS Reading Test:
- 4-5 Passages: Prose Fiction, Practical Reading, Humanities, Social Science and Natural Science
- 4-5 multiple choice questions for each passage. You can change your answers in each passage before moving to the next.
- You DO NOT need to memorize the passage -- it is on the screen for you to reread if you need to.
Description of COMPASS Writing Test:
- There is no actual writing on this test -- instead you are asked to edit and revise an essay.
- Look for errors in grammar, punctuation and correct usage of words and tense. You also want to ensure that the style and tone are consistent throughout the passage.
- Sample that shows you how the test looks and works
COMPASS ESL : If English is not your native language and you have recently been enrolled in ESL classes or have difficulty understanding English when it is spoken to you, you are encouraged to take the COMPASS ESL. The COMPASS ESL has three parts: Listening Skills, Grammar/Usage Skills, and Reading Skills. Depending on your skills, you will be placed into the appropriate English class. Starting with the ESL COMPASS does not prevent you from placing into college-level English, such as English 101.
What is MyMathTest?
Highline uses MyMathTest (MMT) for placement into math courses and courses that have math prerequisites.
Description of MyMathTest:
- Computerized, requiring only very basic computer skills, such as the use of a mouse.
- There are 5 math tests: Arithmetic, Algebra Basics, Algebra Core, Algebra STEM, and Trigonometry.
- You may choose to start at the Algebra Basics or Arithmetic test.
- If you are successful on one of the math tests, you will be able to take another math placement test to determine further placement.
- Depending on your academic goals, that will determine which math tests are required to determine palcement into math courses that are needed for your degree.
- What type of math problems will you see on the math placement test? Please click here to find out. Calculators cannot be used for Test A or Test 1.
- Sample of MyMathTest and Practice Problems. Please click here to create a MyMathTest account. A short video will discuss the MyMathTest software and discuss how to practice problems within the software.
When Should I Test?
We recommend taking placement tests as soon as you submit an application to become a student at Highline. If you are already a student, it is advised to take placement tests at least two months before the start of the quarter you are registering for. Classes fill up quickly, and this will give you the best chance to register for the classes you need.
You must pay an $10 test fee at the Cashiers
Office in bldg 6 and have your student ID number to
take a placement test. Please bring your
testing fees receipt and student ID with you to the
Placement and Testing Center.
How Long Do the Placement Tests Usually Take?
- No time limit -- you work at your own pace!
- Times will vary depending on each
student's ability. Average times for each test
- Arithmetic: 10 min
- Algebra Basics: 30 min
- Algebra Core: 45 min
- Algebra Stem: 90 min
- Trigonometry: 30 min
- COMPASS Reading: 60 min
- COMPASS Writing: 60 min
We strongly recommend that you do not take all three placement tests in one sitting. If you do it all at once and burn out, you might get a score that would place you in a class that is too low -- you waste time and money if this happens!
Plan to finish an individual placement test in one session. You may leave after completing a single MyMathTest section or a COMPASS test section and then return later to finish testing. You won't pay again to finish the test. Plan to return to complete testing as soon as you can. It is advised to do so within one week.
Day of the Test
- Bring your student ID (or state issued photo ID and student ID #) and your testing fee receipt to the Placement and Testing Center (Bldg 25, 6th floor) to take your placement test(s).
- Testing is drop-in -- no need to sign up for a specific time.
- Supplies: We supply scratch paper, calculators and pencils.
- Come well-rested and have a healthy meal or snack -- your brain needs energy to do its best!
- Give yourself plenty of time!