Assemblymember Irwin's Multiple Measures Bill passes through Higher Education Committee

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 705 authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), passed through the Assembly Higher Education Committee. This bill codifies the use of high school transcript data as a student success indicator to ensure that California is enabling students to graduate faster and increase their likelihood for success. Several states, including Connecticut and North Carolina have implemented multiple measures programs with great success.

“For far too long the sole use of placement tests has served as a barrier for students entering community college and receiving their diploma,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “We need to change the way that colleges are assessing students by using multiple measures, including high school grades and overall GPA, to determine whether a student needs to take remedial courses or is prepared to start off in college level classes. By requiring colleges to use multiple measures, AB 705 allows students to move through college at a rate that matches their potential and increases their likelihood for success,” she concluded.

A recent PPIC report found that 80% of students entering community college statewide are deemed underprepared and are referred to at least one remedial course in math or English. A recent study done in Ventura County shows that the success rates for Oxnard Community College students beginning in remedial courses are just 34% for English and 27% for math.  National research by Columbia University has concluded that placement tests alone have been poor predictors of a student’s success and multiple measures can significantly reduce remediation rates.

Being placed in a remedial course negatively affects students in several ways. First, it can add extra years onto a student’s schooling forcing them to spend more money on classes they may not have needed to take. Second, it causes high attrition rates for students who feel they are overqualified for these classes.

This bill passed the Higher Education committee by a vote of 13-0, and will next be heard in the Appropriations Committee.