Link to Kirkwood Community College

There are a variety of test options to help you find the right course mix here at Kirkwood. A photo I.D. is required. Call the Test Center at 319-398-5456 for more information and to find a location closest to you.

As of January 2012, all new students registering for more than six credit hours are required to take the COMPASS test prior to registration, unless they meet one of the following exemptions: (Allow at least two weeks for these exemptions to be evaluated.)

  • Earned a Bachelorís degree from an accredited college.
  • Successfully completed (C or better) college-level math and writing classes at a regionally accredited college.
  • Completed the COMPASS test or ACT and sent the official record of scores to Kirkwood. Math scores are considered valid for two years while reading and writing scores are valid for three years.

Kirkwood Community College uses assessment data to increase student success and overall institutional effectiveness. Assessment data, combined with thoughtful interpretation by faculty, staff and administrators, allows the college to make high quality decisions related to instruction and institutional priorities. Due to the importance of the assessment process, the COMPASS placement test is offered for free at all Kirkwood locations, as well as partner institutions in Iowa and across the nation (charges may apply at other institutions). To check out what course levels you have tested into, click here.

Students who plan to take one of Kirkwood's online courses must have a COMPASS score on file, regardless of prior course work. To see minimum test scores for registration in online classes, click here.

CLEP Testing for College Credit
Did you know you can receive college credit for select Kirkwood courses without actually taking them? CLEP credit testing allows you to prove your academic proficiency in select subjects and test out of specific Kirkwood math, reading and writing courses.

Kirkwood accepts select CLEP credits, but we do not administer the exams. Contact the University of Iowa to schedule your test appointment (319-335-0356). For more information about CLEP credits, click here.

English Language Acquisition (ELA) Test
If English is not your first language, you must take a mandatory COMPASS ESL/ELA Listening, Reading and Grammar/Usage test to determine if your skills are strong enough to support your college studies. The two-hour ELA exam is administered at our main campus Test Center (2055 Cedar Hall), the Iowa City Credit Center or the Washington County Center. If test results determine that additional English skills are required, contact the English department at 319-398-3998, to enroll in special ELA classes.