The College Basic Academic Subjects Examination (CBASE) is a criterion-referenced achievement exam that evaluates knowledge and skills in English, mathematics, science, and social studies. In addition, the College BASE tests proficiency in three cross-disciplinary competencies: interpretive, strategic, and adaptive reasoning. These subjects and skills are addressed in the college's general education program. This exam is administered to all Pellissippi State students who have declared their intent to graduate with an associate's degree.  The purpose of the exam is to help the college evaluate its academic programs.  The College BASE is required as a condition of graduation; however, no minimum score is required for graduation.

Because students are assessed against a defined body of knowledge rather than ranked against the performance of others, advisors can use College BASE scores to evaluate individual students' relative strengths and weaknesses in order to plan more effective courses of study. Likewise, administrators can use aggregate scores to evaluate the overall strengths and weaknesses of various academic programs.

Interpreting College BASE Scores
College BASE numeric scores range from 40 to 560 points. This scale has been designed so that a score of 300 will always be the mean for the entire group of examinees. The averages for an institution, however, are likely to differ from the averages for the entire group.

In order to determine the institution's relative strengths and weaknesses, compare the Composite, Subject, and Cluster Mean Scores. In any such comparison, a difference of approximately 17 points represents a meaningful difference. The standard deviation provides a measure of the variation in individual scores. Approximately 68 percent of College BASE examinees score within one standard deviation above or below the mean score.

The College BASE scores reported on the PSTCC web pages reflect the results compiled by the Assessment Resource Center at the University of Missouri using Performance Funding criteria. Based on this criteria, only PSTCC students who self-report as sophomores and are taking the exam for the first time are included in the results. This criteria also excludes from the results students who score below 20% correct in two or more subject areas because they are presumed to be guessing.

College BASE Clusters and Skills

 Clusters  Skills      Clusters  Skills
Reading & Literature 



Read accurately and critically by asking pertinent questions about a text, by recognizing, assumptions and implications, and by evaluating ideas. 

Read a literary text analytically, seeing  relationships between form and  content.  
Understand a range of literature, rich in quality and representative of different 
literary forms and historical contexts. 
Understand the various elements of the  writing process, including collecting   
information and formulating ideas, determining relationships, arranging 
sentences and paragraphs, establishing  transitions, and revising what has been written.   

Use the conventions of standard written  English.   
Write an organized, coherent, and  effective essay.

General Mathematics Proficiency 







Use mathematical techniques in  the solution of real-life problems.  

Use the language, notation, and deductive nature of mathematics to express quantitative ideas with    

Use the techniques of statistical  reasoning and recognize common  misuses of statistics.   

Evaluate algebraic and numerical expressions.   

Solve equations and inequalities.  

Recognize two- and three-  
dimensional figures and their   properties.   

Use the properties of two- and three-dimensional figures to perform geometrical calculations.

  College BASE Clusters and Skills

 Clusters Skills    Clusters Skills
Laboratory & Field Work 


Fundamental Concepts

Recognize the role of observation and  experimentation in the development of scientific theories.  

Recognize appropriate procedures for gathering scientific information  through laboratory and field work.  

Interpret and express results of  observation and experimentation.  
Understand the fundamental concepts, principles, and theories of the life sciences.  

Understand the fundamental oncepts,  principles, and theories of the physical  



Social Sciences

Recognize the chronology and significance of major events and movements in world history.  

Recognize the chronology and significance of major events and movements in United States history. 

Recognize basic features and concepts of world geography.  

Recognize basic features and concepts of the world's political and economic structures.  

Recognize appropriate investigative and interpretive procedures in the social sciences.

(Sources: Adapted from College BASE Institutional Summary Report (1998) - Assessment Resource Center,
  University of Missouri, with additions from the Pellissippi State Catalog & Handbook 1997-98)

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Updated: 11-17-09 (SML)
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