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california legislation > AB 743

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Date of Hearing: March 29, 2011

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
Marty Block, Chair
AB 743 (Block) - As Introduced: February 17, 2011

SUBJECT
: Community colleges: student assessments: California
Community Colleges: common assessment system.

SUMMARY : Requires the California Community College (CCC) Board
of Governors (BOG) to establish a common assessment system to be
used for the purposes of CCC placement and advisement.
Specifically, this bill :

1)Requires BOG to establish a common assessment system to be
used as one of multiple measures for the purposes of CCC
placement and advisement, and requires the pilot project to
include the following objectives:

a) Creation of a centrally delivered system of student
assessment that provides a single assessment instrument for
use by CCC in English, mathematics, and English as a second
language;

b) Creation of a secure centrally housed assessment test
data warehouse that collects all assessment scores
generated by assessed students at all participating CCCs
and all available K-12 assessment data and transcript
information generated by assessed pupils in the state's
K-12 school system who are seeking enrollment at a CCC;
and,

c) Creation of an Internet Web portal that can be accessed
by CCC personnel and students that provides:

i) An individualized student assessment profile that
can be accessible for counseling, matriculation, and
course placement purposes;

ii) A pretest application that emulates the structure of
the pilot project assessment that students can practice
and familiarize themselves with before taking
assessments; and,

iii) An advisement tool that provides students with








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information on the importance of assessments and the
historical success rates of remedial courses for students
at various levels of academic remediation.

2)Requires CCC Office of the Chancellor (CCCCO) to work in
collaboration with the State Department of Education (SDE) and
the California State University (CSU) when developing a common
college-readiness standard that will be reflected in the
creation of the assessment instruments and requires the CCCCO
to work with SDE and CSU to move toward alignment of college
readiness standards and align toward future common core state
standards.

3)Requires CCCCO to convene an advisory committee with specified
representatives to assist in the establishment of the common
assessment system.


4)Requires CCCCO to report to the Legislature and the Governor
on progress made on the implementation of the common
assessment system by December 31, 2012.

EXISTING LAW establishes matriculation services required to be
made available by CCCs, including, among other services, the
administration of assessment instruments to determine competency
in math and language skills and student study and learning
skills.

FISCAL EFFECT : Unknown. However, according to the Senate
Appropriations Committee analysis of AB 2682 (Block, 2010),
which was similar to this bill, CCCCO has received grants of
$500,000 that would cover the cost of development of the system.
Ultimately, costs for the statewide utilization would be in the
millions, and could potentially result in Proposition 98 mandate
costs to the extent CCC districts are required to participate.
However, it is possible that the long-term statewide costs would
be offset by the increased efficiency of student assessment and
placement, should the system prove successful.

COMMENTS : Most incoming CCC students are under-prepared for
college-level work.
According to CCCCO, about 85% of incoming
CCC students are not proficient in college-level math, and about
70% arrive unprepared for college-level English. Basic skills
education is designed to help under-prepared CCC students
succeed in college-level work. A core CCC responsibility is to








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provide basic skills instruction to students who lack
college-level proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
These skills are fundamental to student success. In 2008-09,
about 10% of CCC classroom instruction was at a basic skills
level.

Purpose of this bill . The author argues that the implementation
of a centralized assessment program will increase the number of
students assessed and decrease assessment costs, save students'
time and CCC funds by allowing students to take their test
scores with them to different CCCs, ensure students understand
expectations before taking the tests through online pre-testing,
allow more accurate placement of students through combining data
with K-12 test data, and save millions of dollars by ensuring
CCCs can leverage purchasing power by purchasing testing
instruments centrally rather than at the CCC district level.

Studies show that assessment improves outcomes. According to
the Legislative Analyst's Office, most studies recommend that
incoming CCC students be assessed prior to enrolling in classes.
The most commonly used assessment tools are standardized tests.
The purpose of these tests is to determine the proficiency
level of students in math and English. Based on assessment
results, CCC campuses can then direct students to take
coursework that is appropriate for their skill level. A number
of recent studies have linked mandatory assessment with improved
student outcomes such as course completion and graduation rates.

Not all incoming CCC students are assessed. Existing law allows
CCCs to assess students, and CCC districts are permitted to use
any assessment tool they desire, so long as the assessment is
approved by BOG. BOG regulations require CCC districts to
provide assessment but allow CCC districts to establish criteria
for exempting certain students from assessment. While BOG
regulations do not permit nonexempt students from opting out of
assessment, many students do; in the fall of 2006, 97,000
nonexempt students failed to participate in assessment.

Varying assessment tools and procedures send a confusing message
to students.
Currently, dozens of different standardized tests
are used throughout the CCC system. Additionally, many CCCs
recognize only their own tests and require students who were
previously tested at other CCCs to be reassessed. There can be
significant variation among these tests both in terms of the
test content and how much students are expected to know. In








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effect, CCCs can have multiple definitions of college readiness.
This sends a confusing message to current and prospective
students and results in costly duplicative testing by CCCs.

REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION :

Support

California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (Sponsor)
California Community College League of California
California Postsecondary Education Commission
Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
Feather River College
Merced College
Los Rios Community College District
State Center Community College District

Opposition

None on File


Analysis Prepared by
: Laura Metune / HIGHER ED. / (916)
319-3960