Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

About the IEP Placement Test

All new IEP students take a placement test before the start of their first IEP session.  The test examines the students' abilities in the following skills: writing, listening, reading and grammar. 

For the writing test, students must write an organized composition about one of two possible topics, within a time limit of 45 minutes. The other skills (listening, reading, and grammar) are evaluated through a computer-based test called COMPASS. This test has no time limit; usually, students can complete the test within 90 minutes. Visit the COMPASS ESL website for more information about the tests, including sample questions.

Who decides a student's IEP level?

All new students are placed in a single level for all skills during their first term.

For the writing test, each student’s composition will be read and evaluated by three different experienced instructors. These instructors each use a checklist to give their independent evaluations of the composition. Then, the Associate Program Managers compare the three results and make the final IEP level assignment for each writing sample. 

For the COMPASS test, each student’s scores on the listening, reading, and grammar tests are compared with the score ranges for each IEP Level.

Finally, we combine the results of the writing test with a student’s scores on the COMPASS test to decide which IEP Level will be the most appropriate for a student’s learning needs.

When is the IEP Placement Test?

Make sure to view all program dates, including the start of placement resting and the first day of classes for each term.

Remember to arrive to the University of Dayton campus before the first day of placement testing! Students who miss the IEP placement test cannot begin their studies until the next IEP term. Download the IEP Student Handbook for more information about about IEP program policies, and familiarize yourself with arrival and orientation information.

Preparing for the IEP Placement Test

Relax! The IEP Placement Test is designed to determine which IEP Level is most appropriate for a student’s current English proficiency level. In other words, the test measures your English language skills and abilities so that you can study at the level that is right for you.

You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly before the test. You should also plan to arrive in Dayton early – one or more days before the placement test – so that you can get over your “jet lag” and do your best work.

Be sure you understand the directions for each test before that test session begins. Read each question carefully until you understand what the question is asking. If answering an item requires several steps, be sure you consider them all.

Be sure to answer every item. You are not penalized for guessing. Your score will provide more useful placement information if you answer every item, even if you guess.

If you have a problem or question during the test, raise your hand, and the IEP instructor who is proctoring the test will help you. Although they cannot answer test questions for you, they can help you with other types of problems.