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california legislation > AB 743

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Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

AB 743 (Block)

Hearing Date: 08/25/2011 Amended: 05/27/2011
Consultant: Jacqueline Wong-HernandezPolicy Vote: Education 9-0
_________________________________________________________________
____
BILL SUMMARY: AB 743 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
_________________________________________________________________
____
Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Fund

Common assessment system* up to $1,000**
General
Significant ongoing
costs; some off-setting savings General

Chancellor's Office report Potentially significant
one-time costs General

*Counts toward meeting the Proposition 98 minimum funding
guarantee
** This bill becomes operative "upon the receipt of state,
federal or philanthropic funds sufficient to cover the costs of
the system." Cost is for the first operative year, but will not
necessarily occur in the specific fiscal year identified.
_________________________________________________________________
____

STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED.

Existing law requires the CCC to provide students with
assessments and counseling upon enrollment which includes, but
is not limited to: 1) administration of assessments to determine
student competency in computational and language skills; 2)
assistance to students in identifying aptitudes, interests and








AB 743 (Block)
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educational objectives, as specified; and 3) evaluation of
student study and learning skills. Existing law further 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.

The CCC system currently uses more than 100 different assessment
and placement tests. Individual community college districts
determine which assessment and placement tests to use, and the
costs for these tests are borne locally. If a student transfers
to another campus, or takes additional coursework in another
community college district, he or she could be required to take
a different placement test in order to enroll in the same course
he or she tested into in the original district.

This bill requires the BOG of the CCC to establish a common
student assessment to be used as one of multiple measures for
purposes of community college placement and advisement.
Specifically, the BOG must establish 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. The BOG must also
provide for a centrally-housed assessment test data warehouse
that collects specified data for purposes of student advisement
and placement. Finally, the BOG must create an interactive web
portal, accessible by college personnel and students, which
provides information on assessments and related guidance.

The cost to establish a common student assessment system that
meets the objectives outlined in this bill will depend on how
the project is implemented by the BOG. Cost variables would
include the number of different assessment tools established
with the system; whether the tools are developed internally,
purchased "off the shelf" through a vendor, or developed by a
vendor specifically for the CCC; technology or equipment needs
that might arise for individual campuses; as well as on-going
management of the assessment system, student data, and web
portal. The CCC Chancellor's office estimates that the project
could cost up to $10 million to develop, and $5 million annually
to implement a new system. The Chancellor's Office has further
indicated that it intends to phase in the project over time, and
to purchase an off-the-shelf system initially, both of which
would reduce costs; the bill, however, does not require the
project to be phased in or that a system be purchased rather








AB 743 (Block)
Page 2


than developed specifically for the CCCs. This bill specifies
that its provisions "become operative upon the receipt of state,
federal or philanthropic funds sufficient to cover the costs of
the system." This language creates cost pressure for the state
to fund the assessment system, though it allows for federal and
philanthropic funding.

The CCC has received a grant of $500,000 from the Hewlett and
Gates Foundations to conduct foundational work on setting up a
single, centrally-delivered common assessment system. To date,
$150,000 of these funds has been used to convene faculty and
student services staff statewide to design an ideal assessment
framework. This work group has created a request for proposal to
seek vendor-created assessments.

This bill requires the CCC Chancellor's Office to work with the
Department of Education and the California State University to
develop a common college readiness standard to be reflected in
the assessment instruments, and to submit a report to the
Legislature and Governor on the progress of the implementation
of the system by December 31, 2012. This potentially significant
cost could likely be borne by a portion of the remaining grant
funding.

Upon development and full implementation of a standardized
assessment system, community college districts and individual
campuses will likely realize significant workload savings.
Additionally, those entities will likely realize savings from no
longer maintaining their own systems, and having to test fewer
students (because transfers and cross-enrolled students would
not need to be assessed). While individual CCCs would be able to
opt out of using the system, they are unlikely to because of its
benefits and cost savings to the campus. Students will also
experience a far more efficient process.

AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED: The amendments would require that the
Chancellor's Office purchase an existing "off the shelf"
assessment.