Basic Skills Requirement

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

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

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. 

Click here for a list of some courses that qualify to meet each area of the Basic Skills Requirement at CSULB and local Community Colleges.

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 by clicking the button below. 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.

BSR Evaluation Request

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.

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.

This option can only be used by candidates that are also taking the CSET: Multiple Subject CSET exam Subtest I, II and III to satisfy subject matter competency. 

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. Passing exam scores remain valid indefinitely for the purpose of meeting the basic skills requirement. See able below for passing scores.

CSU Placement TestsMathEnglish

Early Assessment Program (EAP)

(taken in Spring of 11th grade)

"College Ready" or "Exempt""College Ready" or "Exempt"
Entry Level Match (ELM)50N/A
English Placement Test (EPT)N/A151

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 1-2 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 3 below.

Table 1

College Board SAT
(taken after March 2016)
MathEvidence-Based Reading and Writing
Qualifying Scores570560

Table 2

College Board SAT
(taken before March 2016)
MathCritical Reading (or Verbal)
Qualifying Scores550500

Table 3

Qualifying Scores2322

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 below for how the scores may be applied.

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

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.  Candidates may request a BSR Evaluation by clicking on "Meet the Basic Skills Requirement Through Coursework" above. The mixing-and-matching of relevant component or components from all exam options permitted under current law is acceptable.

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.

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