CCC Board Approves Shift From Using Unreliable Placement Exams, Remedial Courses

Newly approved regulatory changes by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Board of Governors will help prevent students from being wrongly placed into remedial courses that aren’t required in certificate or degree programs and create roadblocks to student success.

“We are ending remedial education as it has existed for decades,” said CCC Board of Governors president Tom Epstein. “Research shows that students are far more prepared than assessment tests have acknowledged. A student’s high school performance is a much stronger predictor of success in transfer-level courses than standardized placement tests.”

The approved changes creates requirements for higher education institutions to fully conform to a new state law that effectively removes unreliable placement tests to determine a student’s math and English skills and if they are ready for college-level work, according to a CCC release.

The placement tests end in over two-thirds of incoming students being identified as unprepared for college-level work, disproportionately placing low-income students and students of color in remedial courses.

Led by assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, Assembly Bill 705 requires that colleges and universities refer to a student’s high school grades, high school GPA and high school coursework when determining a student’s abilities. The system is required to follow the regulated changes under the bill by fall 2019.

Under the new bill, students cannot be placed in remedial courses unless they are unlikely to flourish in a transfer-level course and enrolling in the remedial course would improve their likelihood of finishing a college-level course within one year. Schools are also required to inform students of their rights to access transfer-level coursework in English and math.

“The research is overwhelmingly clear in showing how low-income and minority students are significantly more likely to be wrongly placed in remedial classes, creating a chain of events that contribute to stubborn equity gaps,” said CCC Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “These changes constitute a major step toward in meeting the commitments and goals set forth in the California Community Colleges Vision for Success.”

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