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california legislation > AB 743

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Date of Hearing: April 13, 2011

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
Felipe Fuentes, Chair

AB 743 (Block) - As Introduced: February 17, 2011

Policy Committee:Higher
EducationVote:9-0

Urgency: No State Mandated Local Program:
No Reimbursable:

SUMMARY

This bill requires the Board of Governors (BOG) of the
California Community Colleges (CCC) to establish a common
student assessment system, for purposes of community college
placement and advisement. Specifically, this bill:

1)Requires that system include:

a) A single assessment instrument for English, mathematics,
and English as a second language.

b) Creation of a centrally-housed date warehouse to collect
all assessment scores of assessed students at participating
colleges plus K-12 assessment and transcript data for all
students at these colleges.

c) Creation of an internet portal, accessible to college
personnel and student, that provides:

i) An assessment profile generated for each student
upon request, which include information available from
the data warehouse.
ii) A pretest application for students to practice on
and familiarize themselves with prior to taking future
assessments.
iii) An advisement tool providing students with
information on the importance assessment and historical
success rates of students in various levels of remedial
courses.

2)Requires the board to:








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a) Convene an advisory committee for the pilot project with
specified membership.

b) Provide a progress report by February 28, 2011,
including the estimated costs for the centralized
assessment and data warehouse, the technical feasibility of
expanding the pilot, any statutory changes needed to
provide test scores, the best way to provide ongoing
funding.

3)Requires the Chancellor's Office of the CCCCO to convene an
advisory committee regarding the common assessment and to
submit a progress report on implementation by December 31,
2012.

FISCAL EFFECT

1)The Chancellor's Office of the CCC will incur one-time General
Fund costs of around
$1 million to determine the single assessment instrument,
develop the data warehouse and access portal, and complete the
progress report.

2)Ongoing costs will be several million dollars annually for the
Chancellor's Office to fully implement and operate a statewide
assessment system. To the extent most or all districts
eventually participate and exclusively use the statewide
assessment system, these costs would likely be much more than
offset by GF Prop. 98 savings at the district level. If
districts are eventually required to use the statewide
assessment system, this will create a reimbursable state
mandate.

COMMENTS

1)Background . According to the Chancellor's Office, 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-a core CCC responsibility-is
designed to help under-prepared CCC students attain
college-level proficiency in reading, writing, and
mathematics, which are fundamental to ultimate student
success. In 2008-09, about 10% of CCC classroom instruction
was at a basic skills level.








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Current law allows CCCs to assess students, and districts are
permitted to use any assessment tool as long as the assessment
is approved by BOG. Dozens of different standardized tests are
currently used throughout the CCC system. Many CCCs recognize
only their own tests and require students who were previously
tested at other CCCs to be reassessed. There is significant
variation among these tests both in terms of the test content
and how much students are expected to know. In total, CCCs
can have multiple definitions of college readiness, which
sends a confusing message to current and prospective students
and results in costly duplicative testing by districts.


2)Purpose . The author contends that a centralized assessment
program will increase the number of students assessed and
decrease assessment costs, saving students time and the
districts funds by allowing students to take their test scores
with them to different CCCs. As proposed, the program would
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 allow CCCs to leverage purchasing power by
purchasing testing instruments centrally rather than at the
district level.

3)Prior Legislation . Last year, AB 2682 (Block), a substantially
similar bill, was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, who
argued that the bill was unnecessary and duplicative of the
existing Early Assessment Program (EAP), which evaluates the
college-readiness of high school students. This reasoning
seems flawed, however, given that the EAP is geared toward
high school students in their junior year and the fact that
many students do not enter the community college system
immediately after high school.


Analysis Prepared by : Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081