Assessment is one of the major components of the community college process known as matriculation, which was created in 1987 by the California legislative mandate Assembly Bill (AB) 3. Assessment is a holistic process through which each college collects information about students in an effort to facilitate their success by ensuring their appropriate placement into the curriculum. Examples of this information include the students’ English and math skills, study skills, learning skills, aptitudes, goals, educational background/performance, and the need for special services.

Section 78212 of the Seymour-Campbell Act of 1986 requires community colleges to make assessment available to students. Section 55524 of title 5 requires the Chancellors office to establish and update a list of approved assessment instruments as well as guidelines for their use. Further, the CCCCO is required to ensure that assessment instruments minimize or eliminate cultural or linguistic bias, are normed on the appropriate populations, yield valid and reliable information.

The Chancellor’s Office Assessment Workgroup advises the Chancellor’s Office on statewide assessment issues, and conducts the biannual review of assessment instruments submitted by the colleges and test publishers for Chancellor’s Office approval. 

What is new....

AB 743 (Block). California Community Colleges: common assessment system.



The following sections of title 5 guide the CCCCO assessment policy specific to the requirements under Section 78212 of the Education Code.


§ 55520. Required Services.

At a minimum, each community college district shall provide students, except as exempted pursuant to section 55532, with all of the following matriculation services:


(a) the processing of applications for admission;

(b) orientation and pre-orientation services designed to provide nonexempt students and potential students, on a timely basis, information concerning college procedures and course scheduling, academic expectations, financial assistance, and any other matters the college or district finds appropriate;

(c) assessment for all nonexempt students pursuant to section 55524;

(d) counseling or advisement for nonexempt students pursuant to section 55523;

(e) assistance in developing a student educational plan pursuant to section 55525, which identifies the student's educational objectives and the courses, services, and programs to be used to achieve them;

(f) post enrollment evaluation, pursuant to section 55526, of each student's progress; and

(g) referral of students to:

(1) support services which may be available, including, but not limited to, counseling, financial aid, health services, campus employment placement services, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, campus child care services, tutorial services, and Disabled Students Programs and Services; and

(2) specialized curriculum offerings including but not limited to, pre-collegiate basic skills courses and programs in English as a Second Language.

§ 55521. Prohibited Practices.

(a) In implementing matriculation services, community college districts shall not, except as provided in subdivision (b), do any of the following:

(1) use an assessment instrument which has not been approved by the Chancellor pursuant to section 55524, except that the Chancellor may permit limited field-testing, under specified conditions, of new or alternative assessment instruments, where such instruments are not used for placement and are evaluated only in order to determine whether they should be added to the list of approved instruments;

(2) use any assessment instrument in a manner or for a purpose other than that for which it was developed or has been otherwise validated;

(3) use any single assessment instrument, method or procedure, by itself, for placement, required referral to appropriate services, or subsequent evaluation of any student; provided however that, in the case of assessment instruments, the use of two or more highly correlated instruments does not satisfy the requirement for use of multiple measures;

(4) use any assessment instrument, method or procedure to exclude any person from admission to a community college, except that a college may determine the admission of special part-time or full-time students under Education Code section 76002 based on an assessment which involves multiple measures and complies with other requirements of this subchapter;

(5) use any assessment instrument, method or procedure for mandatory placement of a student in or exclusion from any particular course or educational program, except that districts may establish appropriate prerequisites pursuant to sections 55002 and 55003; or

(6) use any matriculation practice which has the purpose or effect of subjecting any person to unlawful discrimination prohibited by subchapter 5 (commencing with section 59300) of chapter 10.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions (a)(1) and (2), assessment instruments approved by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education may be used to determine “ability to benefit” in the process of establishing a student's eligibility for federal financial aid pursuant to subdivision (d) of section 1091 of title 20 of the United States Code.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2), (3) or (5) of subdivision (a) or the provisions of sections 55003 or 55524, a community college district may use an assessment test to select students for its nursing program, provided that:

(1) the district complies with all other provisions of this subchapter;

(2) the assessment instrument is used in conjunction with other assessment instruments, methods or procedures to select students for enrollment in the nursing program; and

(3) the Chancellor has determined that the assessment instrument predicts likelihood of success in nursing programs, has approved use of the assessment instrument for that purpose and has established statewide proficiency cut-off scores for that instrument pursuant to Education Code section 78261.

§ 55524. Assessment.

The Chancellor shall establish and update, at least annually, a list of approved assessment instruments and guidelines for their use by community college districts. These guidelines shall identify modifications of an assessment instrument or the procedures for its use which may be made in order to provide special accommodations required by section 55522 without separate approval by the Chancellor. Such guidelines shall also describe the procedure by which districts may seek to have assessment instruments approved and added to the list. The Chancellor shall ensure that all assessment instruments included on the list minimize or eliminate cultural or linguistic bias, are normed on the appropriate populations, yield valid and reliable information, identify the learning needs of students, make efficient use of student and staff time, and are otherwise consistent with the educational and psychological testing standards of the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.

§ 55532. Exemptions.

(a) Community college districts may elect to exempt certain students from participation in orientation, assessment, counseling or advisement, as required by subdivisions (b), (c), or (d) of section 55520. Each such district shall establish policies specifying the grounds for exemption. Such policies shall be identified in the matriculation plan required under section 55510 and the number of students so exempted shall be reported, by category, to the Chancellor pursuant to section 55514.

(b) District policies may exempt from orientation, assessment, counseling, or advisement any student who has completed an associate degree or higher.

(c) Any student exempted pursuant to this section shall be notified that he or she is covered by an exemption and shall be given the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate in that part of the matriculation process.

(d) District policies may not use any of the following as the sole criterion for exempting any student who does not wish to participate:

(1) the student has enrolled only in evening classes;

(2) the student has enrolled in fewer than some specified number of units;

(3) the student is enrolled exclusively in noncredit courses;

(4) the student is undecided about his or her educational objectives; or

(5) the student does not intend to earn a degree or certificate.

(e) As part of the statewide evaluation provided for under subdivision (c) of section 55512, the Chancellor shall analyze and recommend necessary changes regarding the impact on the matriculation program of the exemption policies adopted by community college districts.



The Statewide Assessment Workgroup is a sub-committee of the Matriculation Advisory Committee (MAC) and is comprised of college assessment and research professionals, Matriculation Program Coordinators, and faculty.  Members of this workgroup advise the Chancellor's Office on statewide assessment issues, and conduct the biannual review of assessment instruments submitted by the colleges and test publishers for Chancellor's Office approval.  Membership is by appointment, and representation is reflective of constituent groups within the community college governance structure.The Assessment Workgroup fulfills the requirements under section 555524 of title 5 that requires the Chancellor's Office to establish and update approved assessment instruments and guidelines.  Click here for the CCCCO-Approved Assessment Instrument list.

Matriculation Assessment Workgroup
Assessment Instrument Review Schedule - 2012

Consult the Standards, Policies, and Procedures for the Evaluation of Assessment Instruments Used in California Community Colleges (
4th Edition, revised March 2001) to review the guidelines for assessment instruments.

For website assistance within this division contact pservin@cccco.edu