Chancellor explains Assembly Bill 705

By Joe Dargan

Chancellor of California Community Colleges, Eloy Ortiz Oakley explained the importance of eliminating standardized tests, like the SAT and ACT, in his column on the CCC website last week.

Assembly Bill 705, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Oct. 13, 2017 and took effect on Jan 1, 2018. AB-705  was written to clarify existing regulation and ensure that students are not placed into remedial courses that may delay or deter their educational progress.

This will apply to all students unless evidence suggests they are highly unlikely to succeed in the college-level course.

The bill requires community colleges to maximize the probability of a student entering and completing transfer-level coursework in English and Math within one-year timeframe and use a combination of high school coursework, high school grades, and high school grade point average, in the placement of students into English and math courses.

Oakley, who has held the position since Dec. of 2016, explained how evidence has shown that community colleges place too many students in remediation courses. In California,170,000 students were placed in remedial math last year, with over 110,000 failing to complete the math required to earn a degree.

Oakley said he feels that high school performance is a much better predictor of future success. Oakley also said how scores on the SAT and ACT closely correlate with wealth rather than college readiness, disproportionately impacting low-income students and students of color.

“California students are far more prepared than assessment tests have acknowledged. Students’ high school performance is a much predictor of success in transfer-level coursework,” said Oakley. “There are some in higher education who will resist these changes, but there is an immutable force that has emerged. Students armed with facts and research have rightfully put us on notice that we are accountable for seeing that these reforms succeed.”

Ahead of the curve, California State University announced last year that placement exams and remedial education would no longer be required for freshmen.

Before his appointment to chancellor of  CCC, Oakley served as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District, where he received the 2014 Leadership Award by the James Irvine Foundation. That same year he was also appointed the University of California Board of Regents by Gov. Brown.

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