New Legislation Saves Students Time and Money toward Earning Degrees

Monday, September 18, 2017

Last week, the California Legislature passed Assemblymember Irwin’s Community College Placement Bill, AB 705, which changes the way in which students are placed in remedial courses at Community Colleges throughout California.

“Thousands of students every semester are wrongly placed into remedial courses that unnecessarily delay their timelines toward graduation,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “Placement tests as the sole indicator for student placement put California’s students at a disadvantage. By allowing students to be placed based on the best of multiple measures, including high school coursework, we find that they rise to the challenge and transfer or start their careers more quickly.”

A recent PPIC study found that 80% of students entering Community College enroll in at least one remedial level course in English, math, or both. A majority of these students are minority students who, because of long sequences of remedial courses, tend to have a higher dropout rates than those who place into transfer-level courses. In fact, developmental courses are considered to be one of the largest impediments to student success in California’s community colleges because of the added time needed to complete these courses, increased cost to students, and psychological effect of not feeling challenged by the coursework.

AB 705 requires community colleges to use the best of multiple measures, including high school GPA, high school course grades, and placement tests, when determining which courses students should be placed in. For students who are placed into developmental courses, colleges may provide additional support to ensure that they complete courses used for transfer or toward a degree within one year.

“The data is clear, the use of standardized assessment tests as the primary factor in placing students in math and English doesn’t work,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley.  “Many of our colleges have embraced an evidence-based multiple measures approach to placement, but across our system progress has been slow.  AB 705 calls on the California Community Colleges to enact the statewide reforms that will provide every student a strong start on their path to a certificate or degree.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.