Assessment tests no longer required for math and English

Madeleine Sydkvist, Staff Writer

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Students no longer have to take an assessment test to place into transfer level math classes because of Assembly Bill 705.

The assessment test used to place students into math and English classes as part of the enrollment process. Some students would perform poorly on the test as a result of unpreparedness or the high pressure situation. AB 705 hopes to rectify this by collecting high school transcript data as part of prospective 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.

“Overall the AB 705 could have an positive outcome for students,” said Jamie Campbell, associate professor in math 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.”

The bill was signed Oct. 13, 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.

According to Campbell, research has found that the changes the bill brought will maximize materials within the department, which will 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 to 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.

“Is someone isn’t prepared for their class, students who are supposed to start in the 95 [math course] now can go straight to 117, and might not be ready for the challenge.”

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

City College will not offer any classes below Math 95 during the fall semester. Some courses below transfer level, such as Math 107, will be available both in class and online.

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