Colleges cut students short by eliminating classes

Updated: Mar 17, 2019

The implementation of AB 705 is starting early and it doesn’t look promising.

By Meg Taylor, News Editor

Lawmakers planned for Assembly Bill 705 to take effect in Fall 2019, but community colleges are already implementing the policy by cutting a substantial amount of prerequisite courses from the spring schedule.

AB 705 is a senate bill that automatically places students in college-level English and math courses, subsequently eliminating remedial courses. This was implemented in an effort to improve transfer rates and push community college students to transfer within a two-year time frame. This is great in theory; however, some students need remedial courses to be able to succeed in college-level classes.

“We are moving away from basic skills, which was a complex of courses that included [English] 33, 21, 28 and 300,” said William Wallis, Valley’s English department chair. “None of them will be offered. They are all being archived. We started a year and a half ago and we will archive them all coming up, probably in the fall semester.”

Laura Hope, the executive vice chancellor of the community college system, and John Stanskas, the president of the Academic Senate, co-wrote a memo last year detailing how colleges should implement the bill and ways in which they could help students who would place in remedial classes.

The memo stated, “Some [students] will be assigned to ‘concurrent support’ services such as tutors in the classroom or attending extra study hours. One popular type of support is called the corequisite model, a separate class that students take to reinforce key concepts.”

According to the California Acceleration Project, concurrent support course are modeled to “focus on the knowledge and skills truly needed for success in the transfer-level course rather than covering the entire traditional cannon of arithmetic and algebra procedures.”

Scheduling, pacing and finances are all attributes that can prevent students from seeking tutoring. Also, schools cannot assign students official study hours when they are not in the classroom. Furthermore, the corequisite model sounds as if colleges are renaming remedial courses to have student enrolled in both remedial and college level courses at the same time.

This is also detrimental to students returning to college years after graduating high school. Taking remedial courses helps refresh their memories and prepare students for college courses. By expunging these basic classes to ease the returning students back into school, it can discourage them from continuing their education.

“I think this might have an impact on some students and not have an impact on other students; it depends on their educational background… you have to level the playing field,” said P.J. Moysset, 55-year-old returning Valley student. “I think certain students may never prepare or be able to take the class without the prerequisites.”

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