AB 705 is a bill signed by the Governor on October 13, 2017 that took effect on January 1, 2018. The bill requires that a community college district or college maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one year timeframe and use, in the placement of students into English and math courses, one or more of the following: high school coursework, high school grades, and high school grade point average.
The bill also authorizes the Board of Governors to establish regulations governing the use of measures, instruments and placement models to ensure that these measures, instruments and placement models achieve the goal of maximizing the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math.
Currently, community colleges are already prohibited from requiring students to take a prerequisite course unless they are highly unlikely to succeed in a higher-level course without it, pursuant to Section 55003 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. However, this policy is often not followed in practice.
Colleges are required to use multiple measures in determining course placement, pursuant to Section 55522 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, but Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations fails to provide sufficient guidance in the use of multiple measures to ensure that students are not excluded from courses in which they can be successful.
The intent of AB 705
AB 705 was written to clarify existing regulation and ensure that students are not placed into remedial courses that may delay or deter their educational progress unless evidence suggests they are highly unlikely to succeed in the college-level course. Assessment instruments and placement policies have serious implications for equity, as students of color are far more likely to be placed into remedial courses; students placed into remediation are much less likely to reach their educational goals.
Evidence suggests that community colleges are placing too many students into remediation and that significantly more students would complete transfer requirements in math and English if enrolled directly in transfer-level English and math courses. Research suggests that when used as the primary criterion for placement, assessment tests tend to under-place students; and a student’s high school performance is a much stronger predictor of success in transfer-level courses rather than standardized placement tests.
What does my college need to do?
Every college is required to maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one year timeframe and use, in the placement of students into English and math courses in order to achieve this goal, one or more of the following measures:
High school coursework
High school grades
High school grade point average
All community colleges are required to be in compliance with AB 705 no later than fall of 2019.