The Developmental Education Program offers courses that give students an opportunity to improve their skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, the skills critical to success in both technical and college transfer programs. For many students, developmental courses can provide a bridge to a college education. The courses are designed to build knowledge and confidence for students who are entering college after years away from school or students who did not master the math and English skills needed to begin college level work in high school. Classes are generally small, allowing instructors time to give students individual assistance. Students are assigned to developmental courses or go directly into curriculum courses on the basis of their ACT, SAT, ASSET, or COMPASS placement scores, which indicate proficiency in English, reading, and mathematics. Developmental Education courses provide instruction at various levels of proficiency. Developmental course credits do not count toward academic program requirements or in the calculation of grade point average. Instead, the courses are seen as the essential preparation that a student needs to accomplish his or her educational and career goals.