Signed into law on January 1, 2018, AB 705 requires community colleges to maximize students’ probability of finishing English and math coursework in one-year. Under the new law, students must be placed directly into transfer-level coursework, “... unless placement research that includes consideration of high school grade point average and coursework shows that those students are highly unlikely to succeed in transfer-level coursework in English and mathematics.” The law is supported by a growing body of evidence that students are more likely to succeed in transfer-level coursework than below transfer-level. Even those students with low high school GPAs are more likely to succeed in transfer-level courses than students who were placed below transfer level.
Additionally, AB 705 mandates “the use of high school performance data for assessment and placement, citing the predictive validity of that preparation for course success.” This mandate is supported by studies that have found high school performance data to be a superior predictor of course outcomes as compared to placement exam scores.
To support CCSF with coming into compliance, we have developed the following recommendations. Before the end of the current term (Spring 2018), CCSF must:
Immediately remove the block in Banner that prevents students from enrolling in transfer-level English and Math classes.
Ensure that high school GPAs are used as the primary placement tool for all entering students
Make placement testing optional for all students. Students should only take the placement test if they choose to.
Enable the feature in CCC Apply that allows all prospective CCSF students to self-report their GPA.
Immediately inform all CCSF students of their right to be placed in transfer-level English and math courses.
Allocate additional resources as needed for tutoring, advising and professional development to help faculty and staff who are working to get CCSF into compliance by Fall 2018.
For a speedy and successful Fall 2018 implementation, we feel the following implementation steps can (and should) be taken immediately.
Send all CCSF students an email informing them of the law and their rights.
Update the CCSF website with information about the law and students right to use their high school GPA to place into English and math.
Update student orientations to align with the law’s intention so that students are fully informed of their rights.
Create and post large signage, publicly and strategically, across Ocean campus and the Centers, focusing on the offices where students are counselled, inside and around the Office of Matriculation, and throughout placement testing centers. Signage should make clear to students that the placement test is optional, and that students have the right to be placed in transfer-level English and math courses in their first semester.