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Appendix 11

Cover Sheet:  Draft Rubrics for CB 21 Coding of ESL as of March 5, 2009

Purpose of Rubrics and Guidelines for Use

The purpose of this project is to direct coding, not to comprehensively cover all curricular components; the rubric is both simplified and universal. The ESL faculty felt that it was essential to consider 6 levels below transfer in order to adequately address the population of California community college students, rather than the 4 CB 21 levels that presently exist.

Every course will not fit perfectly on the rubric. There will be nuances in local institutional practices and therefore courses should be coded where they mostly fit, realizing they may not fit entirely into a specific level. It is acceptable to have two courses on one level. It is acceptable to have fewer—or more— levels of ESL courses than described. The goal is to code the courses in order to capture student success and progress in each higher level course.

Because the rubrics are not prescriptive and there are many diverging opinions about the degree to which grammar should be emphasized at various levels, we have not included detailed descriptions of grammar. These rubrics are to guide coding based on general curricular outcomes, not as rubrics to grade students or to change curriculum.

Faculty suggest that in the coding process, colleges should begin by finding which descriptor fits their top level ESL class and then work downward in order to consider the appropriate coding comparison. For example, if the top level ESL course appears to match the descriptors for three levels below, then it is likely that the next lower course would fall into the four levels below category, and so on.

Reference Point for Top Level of ESL

The faculty decided to use English 1A (Freshman Composition) as the initial point of reference from which to begin coding ESL courses at the level just below English 1A. This decision was based on significant discussion and focused around three main issues.


Although some colleges have ESL courses that are transferable as electives, not all colleges do. Further, those with transferable ESL do not necessarily agree on which level or how many courses are considered transferable in comparison with other California community colleges. Using “transferable ESL” as the coding standard for the top level would create too much variability in the coding process and potentially greater confusion rather than clarifying the starting point for coding.


The purpose of the coding and data collection is to document students’ progress. Because many—perhaps most—ESL students who complete the highest level of ESL plan to continue on to English courses, looking at the alignment of ESL to English will allow colleges to get a better idea of the “improvement rate” of students.


English 1A (Freshman Composition) is a universal course which is required of all students who seek degrees or wish to transfer. As such, it serves as a useful touchstone for tracking a student’s progress toward his/her academic language goals.

English 1A is used as a reference for all three skill areas (Reading, Writing, and Listening/Speaking). Although only ESL Writing feeds into English, the assumption is that development of the other skills also support a student’s success in English courses; therefore, referencing English 1A is useful in all skill areas.

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