Governor Brown signed AB 705 into law on October 13, 2017 that requires community colleges to use high school performance in college placement decisions. The new law requires community colleges to use high school transcript data, and sets a standard for how community colleges use high school transcript data, in the placement of students into math and English courses. It also allows more students to enroll directly into college-level courses in which they can be successful.
AB 705 still allows some local control over placement in response to research with our own student body. It does not dictate specific placement rules or criteria. Instead, it sets standards that we must use in our local decision-making. These standards are designed to ensure that placement decisions increase a student's chances of completing transfer level math and English.
I believe that the new law dramatically changes the student placement landscape. Over the years, some of our faculty and adminstrtive colleagues have talked about alternative placement methodologies. Although we’ve been required to use multiple measures to place our students into courses, we have relied on standardized tests which some of us have discussed are imprefect predictors of students’ performance and may serve as barriers for student success.
According to the California Community College Student Success Scorecard only 40 percent of enrolled students go on to complete a degree, certificate, or transfer in six years, compared to 70 percent for students allowed to enroll directly in college-level courses. A November 2016 publication from the Public Policy Institute of California report noted that 80 percent of students entering community colleges enroll in at least one remedial course in English, math, or both; of that population minority students are overrepresented; and most of these students never advance to or successfully complete college-level coursework. Here’s a link to the report: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_1116MMR.pdf.
This new law represents a huge leap forward for our student success efforts. For those of you interested, the link to the law is: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB705.