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CompassLearning Tips and Tricks

This quick reference guide is intended to provide basic information that can help you solve issues in a timely manner.  We understand that technology is dynamic and can be highly customized, so our Support & Services team is available via phone (800-678-1412), email ( and chat ( to assist with any issues or questions you may have.  The information below should answer, resolve and inform the most frequently asked questions, issues and topics that our customers may experience.   

Accessing CompassLearning

Login Page (URL)
CompassLearning-hosted solutions can be accessed at

If your implementation is not hosted by CompassLearning, it is referred to as an Enterprise or self-hosted implementation.  To get the login page or URL for your Enterprise or self-hosted implementation, please contact your CompassLearning administrator or our Support & Services team.

Your username, password and school code will be provided by your CompassLearning administrator.  Remember, you will need to have all three pieces of information to login successfully.  If you do not see your school name in the School dropdown, you can type the name.  CompassLearning cannot provide your username and password over the phone, so in case you cannot remember your credentials, please contact your CompassLearning administrator.  In case you don’t know your school code for login, our Support & Services team can provide that information.

System Requirements
A link to our System Requirements can be found at the bottom right of the CompassLearning login page.
You can also access the requirements by clicking here.

Here is a brief summary our main system requirements:

School Year




iPad or Android Tablet


IE (10/11),
Chrome (latest) or
Firefox (latest)

Safari (6/7),
Chrome (latest) or
Firefox (latest)

Chrome (latest)

Puffin Academy


Adobe Flash
Player (latest)

Adobe Flash
Player (latest)

Adobe Flash
Player (latest)


Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest)

Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest)

Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest)



256 Kbps per device (burst)

256 Kbps per device (burst)

256 Kbps per device (burst)

512 Kbps per device (sustained)


Cookies are enabled

Pop-up blocker is off for our URLs

Cookies are enabled

Pop-up blocker is off for our URLs

Cookies are enabled

Pop-up blocker is off for our URLs



Please note that there are certain plug-in and hardware caveats depending on the type of content or device you will be using:

  • QuickTime is required for CompassLearning Elective courses only.
  • Sun Java and Adobe Shockwave Player are required for ELL and Honors Algebra Learning Activities.
  • A microphone is needed for ELL and foreign-language courses.
  • Puffin Academy access is available for CompassLearning-hosted solutions only.

System Verification
A link to our Check System tool can be found at the bottom right of the CompassLearning login page

You can also access the tool by clicking here.

The Check System tool is a quick way to see if your system meets the requirements to run CompassLearning solutions.  This tool is NOT supported on iPad or Android tablets, even using Puffin Academy.

Browser Settings and Best Practices
Our solutions require that any pop-up blockers are turned off for our URL(s).  We also require that cookies are enabled on your browser.  Please check your browser settings or consult your technology team to confirm this is implemented.  If you need additional assistance disabling pop-up blockers or enabling cookies for your browser, please contact our Support & Services team.

Below are some best practices and recommendations:

  • Upon login, a pop-up appears to your CompassLearning session.  The login page will still be present in the background.  This page MUST be left open for the duration of the session.
  • For Chrome and Firefox, we recommend that you utilize the latest 2-3 versions.  You will also need to ensure that the Flash Player plugin is enabled on these browsers.  If you need help configuring this, please contact our Support & Services team.
  • We recommend that that Flash Player and Acrobat Reader plugins run at the latest version
  • Please refer to our Puffin Academy Best Practices and FAQ for iPad and Android tablets

If your network employs controlled or restricted access to the Internet, please have your technology team consult our whitelist document to ensure all of our resources are allowed to be accessed from your network.  Our document can be accessed by clicking here.  You can also search for “whitelist” in the Help section of our solution.

There are certain tasks, and teacher-created tasks, embedded within Compass Learning solutions (potentially hundreds of URLs) that will also require Internet access. In the interest of security standards and IT best practices, CompassLearning recommends that you ONLY whitelist URLs to which your users need access, and only when access is needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I access product help documentation?

A: The best way to access product help documentation is to click the Help link/icon on the top right of the screen after login to CompassLearning


Q: My students appear to be looping or being forced to retake the same activity in their learning path (assignment).  Are they stuck?

A: Likely not. The most common cause of apparent looping is that the students are encountering a decision point.  Decision points are places in CompassLearning curriculum where a quiz or a scored activity can be monitored.  If the student does not achieve the desired level of competency, the decision point will redirect them back for re-teaching. If the student has mastered the concept, he or she continues on with the assignment. Decision points can be customized, but typically they will be allowed to continue the assignment after 2-3 attempts or they may have to respond to a Progress Alert.  A Progress Alert requires teacher intervention.

Rarely, a student will be truly in a looping activity or have an assignment that is not allowing the student to continue.  This can happen if an assignment is edited during the time it has been assigned to a student.  The editing may cause problems with the assignment logic. Our Support & Services team can help with this.


Q: If my student is stuck on a Progress Alert, how can I unlock the alert to allow them to continue with their learning path?

A: The default password to unlock a Progress Alert is Unlock99. If that does not work, the password has likely been changed for your school or district; Please check with your CompassLearning administrator. 

An alternate way to unlock a Progress alert is to log in as the teacher, go to assignment status, switch the view to Student (at the top) and search for the student. Select the student and click View Status.  The assignment will have a yellow triangle with exclamation point on it.  Click the triangle and chose Continue, Restart folder, or Exit folder.


Q: My district or school doesn’t use Compass Writers, but they are in our learning paths.  How can my students bypass those?

A: Have the students launch the activity, close the instructional prompt and type "Not required" (or something similar) then click the Hand-In icon (looks like a hand holding a sheet of paper) in the upper right portion of the screen.  They will be able to continue to the next activity.  These activities have no numerical score and are not a factor for average score in an assignment.


Q: My district or school doesn’t use Practice Resources/Worksheets (or Performance/Authentic Tasks), but they are in our learning paths.  How can my students bypass those?

A: Have the students launch the activity, click the link(s) and minimize the new screen(s) that pop up.  Once minimized, click Finish.  These type of activities are enrichment activities and have no score in the Compass Learning program.  The information is not needed for passing any quizzes or chapter tests.


Q: I am getting a "Your session has expired" error message.  What's going on?

A: There are a few reasons for this message to appear.  Typically, this means a second login using the same credentials from a different device or browser has occurred.  Our system does not allow simultaneous logins from multiple sources.  If this is the case, please ensure you do not have any other browser windows already logged in.  You can close all browser windows and attempt login again.  If the issue persists, you should reset your password or contact our Support & Services team.

This message may also indicate that you have been logged in for more than 100 minutes without any activity.  If this is the case, you can simply close your browser and login again.


Q: I am experiencing freezing, choppiness, or missing graphics when using CompassLearning.  How can I repair this?

A: See section on Troubleshooting Common Issues.


Q: My student saved a Compass Writer and can’t find their work anymore.  How can my student can get back to their work?

A: Their work should be in a saved project.  To check, they can click on on the Writer icon, then click the Open icon near the upper left portion of the screen (looks like a folder).  When the system asks "Do you want to save this project?" click No.  The student will be presented with a list of saved Compass Writer projects and can click on the desired project, then click Open.


Q: How can I access Compass Writers that my students have submitted?

A: Login to your teacher account and click the Courses & Assignments tab, then click Submitted Projects.  You will then be able to click on the project that you want to open.  After reading through the project you can assign a grade to it by clicking 'Grade'.  You will be assigning a letter grade to the student, once you have chosen the grade click 'Submit.'  When students log into their account, the 'Writer' icon on the left-hand side will have a notification stating that the teacher has graded the activity.


Q: How can I re-assign an assignment that a student may have already started or completed?

A: In order to re-assign an assignment a student may have already started or completed, you will have to open and save a copy of that assignment to assign to the student again. To open/save/assign a copy of the assignment, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your teacher account, Click Courses & Assignments > Assignment Archive.
  2. Via the filters on the left-hand side, search for the EXACT assignment you want to re-assign.
  3. Once you have located the assignment, select it and click the button that says 'Open a Copy'.
  4. You will be taken to the Assignment Builder Outline landing page.
  5. You will need to rename this assignment, adding the word “copy”, “redo”, “or “retake” to the end is an easy way to differentiate    between the original and the copy.
  6. Once renamed, click 'Complete Assignment'.  A dialogue box will appear prompting you to categorize your assignment, make any necessary changes and if it all looks good, click 'Next'
  7. Select a class or classes or individual students to whom you want to assign the assignment copy
  8. Click Finish


Q: How can I reset my own password?

A:  For teachers and school administrators, your password can be reset via the Forgot Password link (assuming your email address is correct on your profile) on the login page. You can also reset your password from within your account by clicking on your name in the top right corner next to Help and Log Out.   District administrators can contact our Support & Services team for help resetting their password.

Please note, you may not be able reset your own password if your district has LDAP/Active Directory integration or single sign-on via another portal or learning management system.  Further, if user information is automatically updated via our Auto-Import feature, if you reset your password today, it will be reset to the original password overnight.  Our Support & Services team can tell you the best way to reset your password, based on your configuration.


Q: How can I reset a student’s password on their behalf or force a student to reset their own password?

A: To reset a student's password, login to CompassLearning via a teacher or administrator account and search for the student using the "Search Students" feature on the left of your screen. Once you have located the student, click the Pencil icon on the right side. You can delete out the 8 black dots in the password fields and enter a new password. Then, click save.

You can also Force a Password Reset for students, meaning they will choose their own password at login. To do this, find the student using the "Search Students" feature on the left of your screen. Once you have located the student, place a check in the box next to their name. Then, go to Actions > Force Password Change.

Please note, you may not be able to reset a student's password if your district has LDAP/Active Directory integration or single sign-on via another portal or learning management system.  Further, if user information is automatically updated via our Auto-Import feature, if you reset a student's password today, it will be reset to the original password overnight.  Our Support & Services team can tell you the best way to reset their password, based on your configuration.


Q: I keep resetting my password and I login successfully, but I can’t login the next day.  How can I get my password to work?

A: If you have to reset your password daily, your district may have elected to use the Auto-Import feature to manage student and teacher usernames and passwords. This means that your login information is stored on a file that is automatically uploaded to our system each night and will change the password back to the original even after it has been reset.  Please contact your CompassLearning administrator at your school or district for more information on the password you should be using, or you can have them reset your password in the file that is provided nightly.


Tips & Tricks for Students

General Tips
Here are some general tips for student usage of CompassLearning solutions:

  • Please see the Accessing CompassLearning above to ensure prerequisites have been met.
  • If the login page keeps showing up after a successful login, please ensure that the pop-up blocker is turned off for our URLs on the browser you are using.
  • After login, the student desktop will be loaded in a pop-up window.  The login page will remain open in the background.  Do not close the login page.  If you come across this page while using CompassLearning, leave it open and do not re-attempt to login, unless the student desktop window can not be found.  This page can be closed after the student performs a logout via the Logout button on the upper right section of the student desktop.
  • When exiting a learning activity as a student, to ensure that you can continue progress – use the built-in Exit button (usually on the upper left within the activity) and never close out using the X on the browser in the upper right corner.  For completion of the activity, use the icons or indicators within the activity or let the activity close on its own upon completion.
  • While using CompassLearning solutions, do not hit the browser's Refresh button or the F5 key on the keyboard.  This will force the student session to end and the student will have to login again.
  • While using CompassLearning solutions, do not use the browser's Back and Forward buttons,  To navigate back and forth, use the breadcrumb buttons located near the top of the student desktop.
  • When the student is done using CompassLearning for that session, they can perform a logout via the Logout button on the upper right section of the student desktop, instead of closing the browser.
  • If using Puffin Academy on an iPad or Android tablet, please see our Puffin Academy Best Practices and FAQ.


Using Learning Activities
Here are some tips and tricks for students to be aware of when completing various learning activities:

  • On a fill in the blank question, you may not be able to click on an answer to fill in the blank.  If this occurs, the instructions should say that you must drag the correct answer to the blank. On a PC or Mac, this is relatively straightforward.  On a Chromebook, this may seem unnatural because there are no buttons to click on the touch pad. You must press down on the touch pad with one finger while to you drag the answer to the blank with another finger.
  • An activity may ask the same question multiple times and it looks like the activity is looping.  In this case, the activity should only ask the same question again if the student gets one of the questions wrong the first time.  If they get the question(s) correct the next time, they should be allowed to proceed.

  • On activities with reading passages that have progress buttons (a blue circle with a white triangle in it), it may appear as though the student cannot continue in the learning activity and the student is stuck.  This type of activity has progress buttons placed next to each paragraph or section. Each of these progress buttons on the entire passage must be clicked and turned into an orange circle with a checkmark before the student is allowed to continue.  The blue circle with the white triangle and orange circle with the checkmark at the bottom of the activity do not control progress or allow the student to continue.


Troubleshooting Common Issues

Miscellaneous Pre-troubleshooting Steps

"Freezing" or "Choppy" Activities + Missing Graphics

  • Complete the Miscellaneous Pre-troubleshooting Steps above.
  • On Internet Explorer, browser security set to higher than 'Medium' may cause activities to freeze.  You may consider lowering your setting to 'Medium' or if possible, switch to using Chrome or Firefox.  For assistance, please contact your IT team or our Support & Services team.
  • On standard browsers (not Puffin Academy), check your plug-ins, particularly Flash Player.  CompassLearning recommends running the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player plug-in.
  • Ensure that your device has 'working' sound.  Confirm that headphones or speakers are plugged in.  Activities will not always play if there are not headphones or speakers connected.
  • Check for adequate available bandwidth:
    • Check our bandwidth requirements above or here.
    • Multiply the number of students using the system by the per user bandwidth requirements to determine your total bandwidth requirement for CompassLearning solutions.
    • Considering that there may be other applications using available bandwidth, verify there is adequate bandwidth available in your lab's or building's (including throughput of the local network and/or wireless access points) Internet connection, the wide area network (connection to the district) and the district's Internet connection.
  • Sometimes, monitoring or system management/lockdown software such as Synchroneyes, Lanschool, Vision, etc. can interfere with CompassLearning. Try a period of disabling this software to see if this is the root cause.  If it is determined that this is the cause, we can work with your IT team to determine how to modify the configuration to restore expected performance levels.
  • Firewall, web-filtering or security software may also cause these type of issues.  Make sure all CompassLearning required URLs are allowed full unrestricted access.  See our whitelist here.
  • For thin clients, such as N-Computing, the host server must be able to match the system requirements for all the stations attached added together.  If you are experiencing issues in this environment, try reducing the number of users on a given host server until you reach desired performance levels.
  • For Puffin Academy on iPad or Android tablets, please see our Puffin Academy Best Practices and FAQ.

Student(s) Missing NWEA, Renaissance or Scantron Folders

  • Verify that the student(s) completed the particular assessment.  It could take up to 2 days after taking the test to get automatic folders.
  • Verify that the student(s) ID number matches with the assessment provider and CompassLearning. It is critical that Student IDs are identical in both systems before students are automatically assigned folders.  If this is an issue, once you correct the Student IDs, please contact our Support & Services team to help perform a manual data import on your behalf.
  • Verify that the student tested at the school they are currently enrolled in within CompassLearning.  If they are enrolled in a different school, this student may need to be manually assigned their folders.
  • To check your automatic integration settings, please contact our Support & Services team.

Contacting Us for Help

We value your time and understand product issues can negatively impact student engagement and learning.  We also understand it is very difficult to troubleshoot issues when trying to manage a classroom.  Our goal is to help you prevent any issues from occurring in the first place. But when they do happen, we want you to be as prepared as possible on how to handle these issues (with our documentation above) or rely on us to have your back and provide a resolution, as soon as possible.  Please feel free to contact our Support & Services team for any question or issue.  Below is our contact information:



Phone: 800-678-1412

To get the fastest possible resolution, please provide as much of the information below as possible:

  1. Describe the issue you are experiencing in detail
    1. Description of the unexpected behavior and/or error messages
    2. When did the issue occur (date/time)?
    3. As best you can, the type of device and browser (any details can be helpful) you are experiencing the issue on (PC, Mac, Chromebook, iPad, etc.)
    4. Screenshots or a picture/video of the issue using your cell phone (if applicable)
    5. Steps to replicate the issue (include assignment names, activity codes and/or titles, etc.)
  2. Scope/Impact of Issue
    1. What is the username or usernames of the users that are having the issue?
    2. Was this working before?  Is this the first time this issue has occurred?
    3. How many schools are affected? How many labs?
    4. How many students or workstations are affected?
    5. Is the issue intermittent or can it be consistently replicated?
  3. Tell us of any troubleshooting steps already taken
  4. Your contact information or contact information for the end-user experiencing the issue
    1. First and Last Name
    2. School/Location and Role
    3. Email address or phone number
    4. Best time and method to get in contact with you
  5. Contact Information for a technical contact at the school, if possible (This information is needed in case we need to remote to the End Users workstation and the end user doesn’t have administrative rights on the computer.)
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