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Basic Skills Requirement

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires all candidates for a Basic Teaching Credential to fulfill the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR).   

The Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) must be met for admission to all Basic Credential programs (ESCP, MSCP, SSCP, UDCP) and can be satisfied by completing one of the following methods:

  1. Pass the CBEST
    Individuals only need to pass The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) once; CBEST passing scores remain valid indefinitely for all credential and employment purposes. To pass the CBEST, one must obtain a minimum scaled score of 41 in each of the three sections—reading, writing, and mathematics. However, a score as low as 37 on an individual section is acceptable if the total scaled score is at least 123.
    Any or all sections of the CBEST can be repeated as many times as necessary to obtain a passing score, but the full registration fee is charged for each test administration. For more information, see CTC-Exam website.
  2. Pass the CSET: Multiple Subjects Plus Writing Skills Examination
    The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects examination has been modified, adding an assessment of basic writing skills. Passage of the CSET: Writing Skills examination (test #142) can be added to passage of the CSET: Multiple Subjects Examination (subtests #101, 214, & 103) to meet the basic skills requirement. Passing exam scores used to meet the basic skills requirement remain valid indefinitely. For more information, see CTC-Exam website. This option may only be used for candidates that are taking the CSET: Multiple Subjects Examination for Subject Matter. The CSET: Writing skills subtest may not be added to a Single Subject CSET or a subject matter program.
  3. Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examinations
    Passing scores on the California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP) (English and Mathematics sections) or the CSU Placement Examinations (English Placement Test [EPT] and Entry Level Mathematics [ELM]) are sufficient to meet the basic skills requirement. See Coded Correspondence 09-03 for additional information. Passing exam scores remain valid indefinitely for the purpose of meeting the basic skills requirement. See Table 1 below for passing scores.
  4. Achieve Qualifying Score on the SAT or ACT
    Previously, individuals having earned a score of 500 or higher on the Critical Reading (previously Verbal) section of the SAT exam combined with a score of 550 or higher on the SAT Mathematics exam are determined to have met the basic skills requirement.

    A restructuring of the SAT Suite of Assessments has adjusted the qualifying scores on the revised Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics examinations required to meet the basic skills requirement. The new scores listed have been deemed by the College Board as equivalent to the scores shown for the examinations as administered prior to this revision. See Tables 2-3 below.

    An individual having earned a score of 22 or higher on the ACT English exam combined with a score of 23 or higher on the ACT Mathematics exam is determined to have met the basic skills requirement. See Table 4 below.
  5. College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
    Students who achieve a score of 3 or higher on the College Board AP English exam and AP Calculus or AP Statistics exam may also use these exam scores to meet the basic skills requirement. See Table 5 below for how the scores may be applied.
  6. Pass a Basic Skills Examination from Another State
    The Commission will accept basic skills examinations from other states. A photocopy of the score report or letter from the testing agency verifying passage of the examination must be submitted with the application packet. There is no recency requirement for the date the examination was passed. See the CTC website for a list of acceptable exams from other states.
  7. Meet the Basic Skills Requirement by Coursework
    Individuals may meet the requirement by providing official transcripts to a Commission-approved preparation program or submitted with their application packet to the Commission. The transcripts must show passage of courses in reading, writing, and mathematics as outlined below. Courses must have been taken at a regionally-accredited college or university for credit, passed with a grade of B or better, be degree applicable, and be at least 3 semester units (or equivalent quarter units). Qualifying coursework does not include professional development or continuing education units or in-service training or workshops. Qualifying coursework includes the following:
    • For reading proficiency: a course in critical thinking, literature, philosophy, reading, rhetoric, or textual analysis.
    • For writing proficiency: a course in composition, English, rhetoric, written communication, or writing.
    • For mathematics proficiency: a course in algebra, geometry, mathematics, quantitative reasoning, or statistics.

    A course that does not fall within the indicated areas may still qualify with additional letter of explanation. A letter from the registrar or relevant department chair of the college or university must state that a course passed by the applicant covered reading, writing, or mathematics at the same level as one of the listed courses. 

    Current CSULB candidates that wish to request an evaluation on their transcripts to meet the Basic Skills Requirement via courses may submit a BSR Evaluation Request. Currently we are only able to evaluate transcripts for CSULB students. Please allow up 2-4 weeks for an evaluation once the request is submitted.
  8. Meet the Basic Skills Requirement by Coursework and Exam
    The Basic Skills Requirement can be met through a combination of applicable courses and qualifying exams. This option is only available through a Commission-approved preparation program. The qualifying coursework must meet the requirements as describe above in item number 7. The mixing-and-matching of relevant component or components from all exam options permitted under current law is acceptable.

    Table 1

    CSU Placement Tests Math English

    Early Assessment Program (EAP)

    (taken in Spring of 11th grade)

    "College Ready" or "Exempt" "College Ready" or "Exempt"
    Entry Level Match (ELM) 50 N/A
    English Placement Test (EPT) N/A 151

    Table 2

    College Board SAT
    (taken after March 2016)
    Math Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    Qualifying Scores 570 560

    Table 3

    College Board SAT
    (taken before March 2016)
    Math Critical Reading (or Verbal)
    Qualifying Scores 550 500

    Table 4

    (ACT) Math English
    Qualifying Scores 23 22

    Table 5

    Examination Math English
    College Board Advanced Placement Examinations

    Score of 3 or above on one of the following:

    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Calculus BC
    • AP Statistics

    Score of 3 or above on one of the following:

    • AP English Language and Composition
    • AP English Literature and Composition

For complete information, please see the Commission on Teacher Credentialing Basic Skills Requirement leaflet.