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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 are the principal sections of title 5 that guide the CCCCO assessment policy specific to the requirements under Section 78212 of the Education Code.  Other title 5 sections related to SSSP and assessment for placement can be found online through the Office of Administrative Law, which contracts with Barclays. 


§ 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 Student Success and Support Program services:
(a) orientation on a timely basis, pursuant to section 55521.
(b) assessment for all nonexempt students pursuant to section 55522;
(c) counseling, advising, or other education planning services for nonexempt students pursuant to section 55523;
(d) assistance in developing a student education plan pursuant to section 55524, which identifies the student's education goal, course of study, and the courses, services, and programs to be used to achieve them;
(e) follow-up services, pursuant to section 55525, to evaluate the academic progress of, and provide support services to, at risk students; and
(f) referral of students to:
(1) support services that may be available, including, but not limited to, counseling, financial aid, health and mental health services, campus employment placement services, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, campus child care services, tutorial services, foster youth support services, veterans support services, and Disabled Students Programs and Services; and
(2) curriculum offerings which may be available, including but not limited to, basic skills, noncredit programs, and English as a Second Language.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 66700 and 70901, Education Code. Reference: Section 78212, Education Code.
§ 55522. Assessment.
(a) The Chancellor shall establish and update, at least annually, a list of approved assessment tests for use in placing students in English, mathematics, or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses and guidelines for their use by community college districts. When using an English, mathematics, or ESL assessment test for placement, it must be used with one or more other measures to comprise multiple measures.
(1) Districts and colleges are required to use the Chancellor's guidelines for the validation of all assessment tests used for placement to ensure that they minimize or eliminate cultural or linguistic bias and are being used in a valid manner. Based on this evaluation, the district or college shall determine whether any assessment test, method, or procedure has a disproportionate impact on particular groups of students, as defined by the Chancellor. When there is a disproportionate impact on any such group of students, the district or college shall, in consultation with the Chancellor, develop and implement a plan setting forth the steps the district will take to correct the disproportionate impact.
(2) The Chancellor may identify other measures of a student's college readiness that community college districts may use for student placement into the college's curriculum.
(b) Each community college district shall adopt procedures that are clearly communicated to students, regarding the college's sample test preparation, how the student test results will be used to inform placement decisions, and the district's limits on the student's ability to re-test.
(c) Community college districts shall not, except as provided in subdivision (d), do any of the following:
(1) use an assessment test for placement which has not been approved by the Chancellor pursuant to section 55522, except that the Chancellor may permit limited field-testing, under specified conditions, of new or alternative assessment tests;
(2) use any assessment test in a manner or for a purpose other than that for which it was developed or has been otherwise validated;
(3) use any assessment test process to exclude any person from admission to a 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; or
(4) use any assessment test, method, or procedure to exclude students from any particular course or educational program, except that districts may establish appropriate prerequisites pursuant to sections 55002 and 55003.
(5) use any Student Success and Support Program 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.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (c)(1) and (2), assessment tests 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 title 20 United States Code section 1091(d).
(e) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2), (3) or (5) of subdivision (c) or the provisions of sections 55003 or 55522, 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 test or other measures are used in conjunction with other assessment test, methods, or procedures to select students for enrollment in the nursing program; and
(3) the Chancellor has determined that the assessment test predicts likelihood of success in nursing programs, has approved use of the assessment test for that purpose and has established statewide proficiency cut-off scores for that test pursuant to Education Code section 78261.
Note: Authority cited: Section 11138, Government Code; and Sections 66700 and 70901, Education Code. Reference: Section 11135, Government Code; and Sections 72011, 76002, 78211, 78212, 78213 and 78261, Education Code.


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 55522 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 - 2014-15

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.