Assessment & Orientation
About Assessment & Orientation
Many students who are new to college will attend an assessment and orientation session as part of their process to enroll in classes. The purpose of the assessment is to provide students with information regarding their current skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. The results of the assessment, along with other information provided by the student, will be used by counseling staff to assist the student in selecting appropriate courses. The assessment is not used to bar anyone from enrollment in the college, but rather to aid students to choose the best classes based on academic skill level. Special testing is provided for students whose native language is not English. This is called ESL (English as a Second Language) assessment.
During orientation, students are provided with information regarding the college’s programs and services. Students receive information regarding: programs and majors; degree, certificate, and transfer requirements; support services; and other useful information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1) What are the assessments like, and how can I prepare for them?
The math and English assessments are multiple-choice tests. They are un-timed and offered via computer. Your score (the number of correct answers) will correspond with a math and/or English class, that will be recommended for you. You will discuss your results with a counselor (see #3 below).
Most students do not study or prepare for these tests; the assessment results should reflect your current skill level and ability. However, some students want to review math material they have studied in the past, but may have forgotten, and some students feel out of practice taking tests and find it helpful to refresh their test-taking skills. Helpful resources might be books designed to help people prepare for the CBEST, SAT, ACT, or other multiple-choice standardized test—such study guides can be found in public libraries or commercial bookstores.
2) Who takes the assessment tests? Who attends the orientations?
The assessment tests and orientations are available to all students. Many students are recommended for assessment and orientation because when they submit their admissions application they have noted an educational goal that identifies them as matriculating* students. The matriculating student’s educational goals are one of the following: to obtain a bachelor’s degree (with or without an associate degree); to earn an associate degree, vocational degree, or vocational certificate; to improve basic skills in English and math; or “undecided” on an educational goal.
Some students are exempt from the assessment tests and orientation because they already earned a degree from an accredited institution, have successfully completed recent English and/or math courses at another college, or have an educational goal that does not require assessment. Please see a full description of this information in the class schedule or college catalog, or ask counseling or assessment staff for details.
*Matriculate: one who is admitted as a student to a college or university.
3) What comes after the assessment and orientation?
You will review your assessment results with a college academic counselor to confirm that the recommended courses are best for you. The assessment results, along with other information you provide, will be used to evaluate these recommendations. All students should read descriptions of their recommended classes, and be prepared to discuss the courses they would like to take in the upcoming term when meeting with a counselor. During the orientation session, we will review the next steps in the enrollment process, and students will receive program-planning materials.
4) Do I have to take the classes that are recommended?
Not always. At times a student and counselor will agree that another course is more useful or appropriate for the student. In some cases students may want to challenge a pre-requisite course (the required successful completion of a course before enrolling in another course); you may ask a counselor about the process to challenge a pre-requisite class.
5) What if I don’t want to take the assessment or attend the orientation?
If you do not qualify for exemption, and want to waive or refuse the assessment and/or orientation, please ask a counselor about the process for filing a petition for waiver or refusal. You may file this petition, and provide the required supporting documentation.
Assessment & Orientation Schedule
Please Note: This schedule is subject to change. Space is limited, and students must make an appointment. Please arrive 15 minutes early, all sessions begin promptly, with no late admittance. To sign-up for an orientation & assessment session, please stop by the assessment office (Room 121, 2050 Center Street), or call (510) 981-2804.
Note to students with disabilities: If you need special accommodations for the assessment &/or orientation, please contact the Programs and Services for Students with Disabilities (PSSD) staff at (510) 981-2812 to make arrangements.