Assembly Bill 705 to reconstruct math and English departments

Madeleine Sydkvist, Staff Writer

Starting next semester, students will no longer have to take an assessment test to place into transfer level math classes thanks to Assembly Bill 705.

The test was used to place new students into math and English classes as part of the enrollment process, however some faculty noticed how poorly students were doing.

“Overall the AB 705 could have a positive outcome for students,” said Jamie Campbell, associate math professor and member of the AB 705 leadership team at City College.

“However, it’s important to acknowledge that some students may have trouble succeeding at transfer level courses without additional support or development.”

According to the California Student Success Scorecard, only 40 percent of students placed into remedial courses finished their degree, certificate or transferred to a university. Seventy percent of students who immediately enrolled into college-level math courses completed their educational goals.

AB 705 could rectify this by collecting high school transcript data as part of aspiring student’s applications.

If students don’t have a transcript, they can report their grade point average, math coursework and grades through a form that will be on Pipeline.

The bill was signed in October 2017, and took effect in January 2018. By next semester, all community colleges in California must be in compliance with AB 705.

“SBCC is ready for the fall 2019 deadline for math and English assessment,” Campbell said.

Campbell said research has found that the changes the bill brings could maximize materials within the department, which would ultimately benefit students.

“Students don’t have to start from the bottom anymore,” Associate Professor Lee Chang said. “Some students felt like they were wasting time on a class that won’t do anything for their degree.”

Chang has been teaching all levels of math at City College for 11 years.

“I could clearly tell that some students were capable to start in a class on a higher level,” Chang said. “If they did poorly on the assessment test they had to start low. From that standpoint, I can see that it can be frustrating for students, so this would be better for them.”

Chang said that while there will be a positive impact, there might be some downsides, because if “someone isn’t prepared for their class, students who are supposed to start in the [math 95] now can go straight to 117, and might not be ready for the challenge.”

City College will stop offering classes below math 95 and English 110 in fall 2019.