Community colleges statewide are moving on new legislation that aims to get students through their coursework more efficiently, graduated, and onto career paths faster than ever before. Under the newly implemented legislation, procedures are changing this fall to serve more students entering community college with access credit for “transfer-level” courses in math and English, reducing the need for remediation classes.

"Community colleges have been mandated with AB 705. It gives us an opportunity to rethink and re-imagine the ways that we deliver programs to students to optimize their learning experience,” said Dr. Stephanie Lewis, Dean of Mathematics, Business & Computer Technology. The statewide policy passed two years ago to focus on concerns of equity. Under the former system, many students amassed more credits than were necessary to transfer to a four-year institution, with most of those credits coming from remedial courses. Some students lingered in remediation for up to three years.

Today, all 115 statewide community colleges are restructuring how they deliver courses in both English and math. Guidelines can differ slightly from college to college, depending on local populations and cultures. The big takeaway is that students now have the right upon entering community college to go directly into college transferable math or English. In the long run, the state’s goal is to offer fewer remediation courses at community colleges. Eventually, middle and secondary schools are expected to make headway to meet the skill sets needed for all students to graduate high school and be college prepared.

Students are no longer required to take placement tests and can jump right into the college-level courses, but that approach is not a one-size-fits-all. Some students may need extra help, which is also available. “The buffer or cushion is that community college will still have some remediation courses, but not to the level that they historically have had,” Dr. Lewis said. From an equity standpoint, she said students will benefit by going straight into the transfer-level coursework. However, struggling students will have the right to access remediation help.

SBVC, as well as other colleges, have adopted the “co-requisite” model for students entering college transferable math or English, who are not up to the required skill set. Those students can tap an array of supportive resources concurrently with their transfer-level coursework to catch up on studies and information they may have forgotten, or missed, along the way. Dr. Lewis said she is encouraged about the bigger picture, and how the new approach will be more efficient to help students achieve a higher level of college readiness. “It's an opportunity to change former notions of how students learn,” she said.