With the introduction of AB 705, California Community Colleges have a lot of work to do. They have until fall 2019 to determine how to best meet the demands of this new law while also continuing to help their students succeed. This may seem far off but the clock is ticking and there are a lot of changes that need to be addressed.
What Changes Under AB 705?
Instead of relying on placement test tests, AB 705 requires community colleges to use high school courses, grades and GPAs as deciding factors for accurate placement. Unless determined to be highly unlikely to succeed, all students will be placed in transfer-level English and math courses.
This change means schools need to restructure their curriculum and placement processes. With an abundance of data to assess and decisions to make, community colleges need a way to better organize and understand their data.
Here are some ways they can adjust their processes to satisfy the requirements of AB 705.
Manage High School Data
Without placement tests, high school performance becomes the key deciding factor for placement. This creates additional work for the school since they’ll now need to establish processes to evaluate several years of high school data from every student who enrolls.
An automation process can be an easier way for schools to tackle this additional data. With thousands of students enrolling each year, manually evaluating individual high school performance data would be a nightmare. Schools should seek possible solutions in higher education data analytics software for easier evaluation and placement in the future.
With more students entering transfer-level courses, schools will need to ensure there are enough English and math sections available. This can be accomplished by analyzing Section Fill Rates and Classroom Utilization data.
The Section Fill Rate report will show if it’s necessary to hire additional instructors, move classes to bigger rooms or add more courses by term. Classroom Utilization reports show if rooms are being used efficiently by looking at the number of hours and days per week they are booked. Combined, these reports help colleges understand their resource allocation so they can make the changes needed for increased efficiency.
If students enter transfer-level courses under the condition of a corequisite, there needs to be a way to show this is improving student outcomes. The ideal situation is to create reports that can specifically look at these students. Community colleges will need to be able to track student success in order to justify whether or not they are completing the corequisite at a higher rate than if there were no corequisite offered.
Track Student Success by Different Demographics
One of the reasons for AB 705 is to give all students an equal chance of succeeding. Placement tests have been found to be discriminatory, so the ability to track student outcomes by demographics like gender, race and age will be critical in order to see if this change is successful.