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california legislation > AB 743

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SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
Alan Lowenthal, Chair
2011-2012 Regular Session


BILL NO: AB 743
AUTHOR: Block
AMENDED: May 27, 2011
FISCAL COMM: Yes HEARING DATE: June 22, 2011
URGENCY: No CONSULTANT: Kathleen
Chavira

SUBJECT : Community College Student Assessment Program.

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, specifies its objectives, and
requires a report on the progress of its implementation by
December 31, 2012.

BACKGROUND

Current law requires that the colleges make available a
variety of "matriculation services" to students. Among
other things, these services are required to include
assessment and counseling upon enrollment which includes,
but is not limited to, all of the following: (Education
Code 78212)

Administration of assessment instruments to
determine student competency in computational and
language skills.

Assistance to students in the identification
of aptitudes, interests and educational
objectives, including, but not limited to,
associate of arts degrees, transfer for
baccalaureate degrees, and vocational
certificates and licenses.

Evaluation of student study and learning
skills.





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Current law also requires that assessments be used as an
advisory tool to assist students in the selection of
educational programs and prohibits their use to exclude
students from admission. (EC 78213)

ANALYSIS

This bill requires the Board of Governors of the California
Community Colleges (CCC) to establish a common student
assessment to be used as one of multiple measures for
purposes of community college placement and advisement.
More specifically it:

1) Requires the system established by the bill to include
the following objectives:

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

b) Creation of a secure, centrally
housed assessment test data warehouse that
collects, for purposes of student advisement and
placement:

i) All available
assessment scores generated by assessed
students at all community colleges.

ii) All available K-12 assessment data
(and limits the use of this data only for
purposes of placing and advising community
college students, as specified).

iii) Other data or student transcript
information.

c) Creation of an Internet web
portal, accessible by college personnel and
students, that provides all of the following:

i) An individual student
assessment profile for purposes of
counseling, matriculation, and course




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placement.

ii) A pretest application for students
to practice on and familiarize themselves
with prior to taking future assessments.

iii) An advisement tool that provides
students with information about the
importance of taking the common assessment
and historical success rates of remedial
courses for students at various levels of
remediation.

2) Requires the Chancellor of the CCC to:

a) Work collaboratively with the
California Department of Education and the
California State University when developing a
common college readiness standard that will be
reflected in the creation of assessment
instruments.

b) Submit a report to the Legislature
and Governor on the progress of the
implementation of the system by December 31,
2012.

3) Makes these provisions operative upon the receipt of
state, federal or philanthropic funds sufficient to
cover the costs of the system.



STAFF COMMENTS

1) Need for the bill . According to the sponsor, taking
an assessment prior to placement in a course is an
essential step in increasing student academic success.
Because of fiscal constraints, many colleges have had
to reduce the number of assessments available for
students, falling far short of the actual need. In
addition, because colleges use a variety of test
instruments, students who take courses from multiple
colleges within a region are compelled to take a new
assessment test at each college attended. This is a
time consuming requirement for students and an




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inefficient use of funds by the colleges.

Through the centrally delivered system of student
assessment required by this bill:

More students will be properly assessed.

Test preparation will be encouraged and
students can more quickly move into college level
work.

Test data will be easily transportable
for students who attend multiple campuses.

Statewide fiscal savings and efficiency
will be achieved.

1) Consistent with LAO Report/Recommendations
. In its
June 2008 report, Back to Basics: Improving College
Readiness of Community College Students, the LAO finds
that a number of systemwide policies and practices are
at odds with generally accepted strategies for
improving basic skills education. Among its findings,
the LAO noted that individual colleges often use
different assessment tests and employ different
definitions of college readiness, which sends a
confusing message to current and prospective students.
The LAO recommended, among other things, that a
statewide CCC placement test derived from K-12's math
and English standards tests be made available. The
LAO also notes that most studies agree that incoming
community college students should be assessed prior to
enrolling in class.

2) The "other" assessment program . Current law (EC
99300 and 99301) provides for the community
colleges' participation in the Early Assessment
Program (EAP). Originally implemented by the
California State University (CSU) in 2004, the EAP is
a collaborative effort between the CSU, the California
Department of Education (CDE), and the State Board of
Education to determine a high school student's
readiness to do college-level work in English language
arts and math and to provide students opportunities to
improve skills during their senior year. Under the
EAP, 11th graders taking the California Standards Test




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are encouraged to take an "augmented version" of the
test that includes additional English and math
questions and a written essay. The results of the
augmented version, once scored, indicate a student's
"readiness" for college-level English and math.
Those whose scores indicate they are not ready are
encouraged to take classes during their senior year to
improve and strengthen their skills. The goal of the
EAP is to have high school graduates enter the CSU and
the California Community Colleges fully prepared to do
college-level work. Inclusion of the Community
Colleges in the EAP enabled community colleges to work
with their local high schools and CSU, to address the
high number of students who are unprepared for
college-level course work.

Staff notes that, whereas the EAP offers an assessment
to be administered to high school students to help
them prepare for college level coursework, this bill
establishes a pilot program that implements a common
assessment for students upon enrollment at a community
college for purposes of informing appropriate course
placement and advisement.

3) Prior legislation . AB 2682 (Block, 2010) was similar
to this bill. AB 2682 was ultimately vetoed by
Governor Schwarzenegger whose veto message read, in
pertinent part:

I respect the author's intent to reduce costs and
create
efficiencies for students and community colleges.
However, I
have concerns that this bill creates a
duplication of the efforts that resulted from the
expansion of the existing Early Assessment
Program (EAP), which evaluates the
college-readiness of high school students. I
signed into law in 2008 the bill that expanded
the use of the EAP operated by the California
State Universities, to include community
colleges.
Therefore, it is unclear why this bill is
necessary.

SUPPORT




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Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges
Community College League of California
San Bernardino Community College District

OPPOSITION

None received.