As components within the Choice Ready indicators, the College Ready English and Math (CREAM) program is designed to provide high school seniors and juniors with the opportunity to take the necessary developmental coursework required upon entering credit-bearing higher education. In addition to satisfying the requirements for credit-bearing course placement in college, successful completion of these courses also fulfills requirements for high school graduation in math and English.

Student eligibility is based largely upon the results of scores from the ACT exam. Schools have the opportunity to offer and teach the courses utilizing their own staff (CREAM). For more information on how to access CREAM math or English at your school, please visit with your school principal or counselor.

CREAM Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is CREAM a class?

A: CREAM is a program designed to deliver two different courses which utilize the online learning tool through Pearson’s My Foundations Lab. Through this platform, students can access either the English course, the math course, or both.

Q: Who is eligible to take CREAM classes?

A: The programs are designed to provide the necessary coursework to high school seniors who scored lower on their ACT sub-tests in English and/or math than are required for course placement at the post-secondary level. If a college-bound student scored lower than an 18 on their English, or lower than 21 on their math sub-test, they would be a prime candidate to take either, or both, of the courses. College-bound students who have historically struggled with English or math as demonstrated on their local interim assessments may also be candidates for CREAM. 

College-bound juniors who have not met the benchmark score of 21 on their ACT in math or who have historically struggled in math, as demonstrated on local interim assessments, would be candidates for CREAM math. This option would be beneficial for college-bound juniors who may need additional time to complete the CREAM program.

Q: Can CREAM courses be offered for high school credit?

A: Yes, and it is encouraged. Not only is it encouraged to have schools offer the courses for credit, they can satisfy the requirements toward high school graduation. This means a full credit can be counted from the English course and a full credit can be counted from the math course towards the graduation requirements. The high school course code for the English course is 05078, and the code for the math course is 11118.

Q: What is the purpose of CREAM?

A: Several years ago, it was identified that a high percentage of North Dakota high school graduates were needing to take remedial/developmental coursework upon entering college as a freshman. These developmental courses not only cost money and take time to complete, but they do not count towards the students’ college diploma requirements. The CREAM program is made available to provide these students with the remedial coursework they would otherwise need to take but will save them time and money.

Q: How long does it take for a student to complete CREAM Math and/or CREAM English?

A: It is common for students take most of the school year to complete; however, being a self-paced course, it is possible for students to take less or more time.

Q: If a student begins a CREAM course, are they guaranteed to finish and/or be successful? 

A: Like any other course, there is no guarantee a student will successfully complete the course. However, we see most students successfully completing the course.

Q: How does a student advance through a course?

A: When a student is provided access to a course, they begin with a diagnostic pretest. The course content is then designed and prescribed to each individual student based on their identified needs from the pretest. Once a student successfully completes each module (think unit/chapter) at a satisfactory level, the student will conclude the course by successfully passing the end of course exam or post-test.

Q: Can students retake the post-test?

A: Yes, upon request, a student can retake a post-test.

Q: What if the student does not finish the program by the end of the school year?

A: For CREAM, if necessary, students are given the opportunity to complete the course in the summer. College-bound juniors who have not met the benchmark score of 21 on their ACT in math or who have historically struggled in math, as demonstrated on local interim assessments, would be candidates for CREAM math. This option would be beneficial for college-bound juniors who may need additional time to complete the CREAM program.

Q: Why would my school want to offer CREAM courses?

A: The quickest answer is because of the obvious benefits for the individual student(s). The program can provide students with required credits for high school graduation. The program can provide students with the remedial courses they would otherwise have to take once entering college. This option can save students time and money spent on courses that do not count toward their college degree. Also, providing these opportunities for students can improve school accountability scores through the Choice Ready component.

Implementing CREAM (College Ready English and Math)

CREAM is a remediation program designed to provide identified students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills during their senior year to prepare them for college through Pearson – MyLab Foundational Skills.

The goal is for high school students to complete remediation/developmental courses in high school resulting in quicker college graduation and fewer accrued costs.

Step-by-step guide for CREAM implementation:

  1. Assign someone to serve as the CREAM facilitator for the school.
  2. After spring ACT results are available, identify a “pool” of students who would benefit from CREAM as demonstrated by the following criteria:
    • Student is college-bound.
    • Student has an ACT score below the benchmark score of 18 in English and 21 in math required for college placement into a credit-bearing course according to NDUS policy.
    • Student has struggled in English and/or math as demonstrated on local interim assessments or teacher observation.
  3. Send a letter to the student pool parents explaining the program and providing benefits.
    • Sample Sign-Up Form
    • Sample Parent Letter
  4. For the school to participate in CREAM, complete the one-page proposal form and submit to Harmony Richman at Valley City State University.
  5. Assign staff to serve as the teacher of record for English and math.
    • Obtain training for the teachers/mentors with stipend.
    • Determine possible teacher stipend for implementing the program if above and beyond their teaching contract (with provided documentation).
  6. Enroll interested students in the CREAM course and ensure proper coding to receive high school credit.
    • College Learning Lab - English 12 *05078
    • College Learning Lab – Math 12 *11118
  7. Students take diagnostic pre-test and are assigned modules based on materials they still need to master.
  8. Have teacher/facilitator check on and encourage the students to keep them motivated.
  9. Provide tutoring for students who need assistance with the CREAM course.
  10. Once the assigned modules are successfully completed, students take a post-test.
  11. Local schools provide credit if required modules are completed. The listing of the grade on the student’s transcript is determined by the local school.
  12. Successful completion is shared with post-secondary institutions via student transcripts.

Questions can be directed to:

 Harmony Richman  Davonne Eldredge, NDDPI
 (701) 200-3897  (701) 328-4525
Letter to Parents CREAM TEMPLATE

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Pursuing a college degree is an achievement desired by many parents for their child; however, many students are tasked with having to take developmental coursework upon entering college. This is coursework that does not provide credits towards the student’s degree of study. Regrettably, having to take these developmental courses while in college results in additional time and money spent for these students and their families.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem called College Ready English and Math, also known as CREAM. Through CREAM, North Dakota students can take that same necessary coursework during their senior year of high school. Successful completion of these courses while in high school provides students the opportunity to begin taking all credit-bearing courses immediately in college, saving both time and money.

If you are interested in learning more about CREAM, so your 11th grader can access this program during his/her senior year of high school, please visit with the following staff at our school:

(Insert names and contact information for staff with knowledge on CREAM)

The North Dakota State Legislature has appropriated funds to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and the Center for Distance Education to administer this program. A fact sheet on CREAM is available on the NDDPI website at

If you would like to visit with me on this issue, please call or email me anytime.



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