Blog: NEED TO KNOW: How English and math placements are being affected starting Fall 2019

We all know how to start earning a degree, right? You pick a school, you apply, and once you’re accepted you enroll and take your placement test. Then, based on the results of your test, someone tells you what classes you need to take to get to where you want to be. All that is about to change.

AB 705 is a California bill that took effect on January 1st of this year, it applies to all California community colleges, and it is changing the way that you take math and English classes.

What exactly is AB 705, and how could it affect you?

With this newly passed bill, incoming students can place themselves into transfer-level classes instead of remedial math and English classes. The goal is to help students to take (and complete) transfer-level math and English courses within one year. That means fewer classes that you are required to take, but it also means even more support to make sure you succeed.

Do you still take an assessment test?

The assessment test is no longer required to enroll in a transferable math or English class. Evidence shows that using an assessment test to place students often results in under-placing them. What if you are sick on the day you take the test, or what if you get nervous (because this test decides the rest of your academic career – that is a lot of pressure)? The results of one test do not necessarily reflect what you know or what you are capable of in the classroom. Instead, students will place in classes using their performance in high school, or students can place themselves into transfer-level math and English courses.

Which classes can be considered transfer-level?

A transfer-level course is any course that counts for UC or CSU credit. An English class numbered C100 or higher is considered transfer-level, so when all students are able to enroll in transfer-level English, that means students may self-place into English C100. For math, students can take Math C115 (College Algebra) or Math C160 (Intro to Statistics) depending on their anticipated degree path.

What students does this apply to?

This impacts students who plan to transfer to a four-year university. Students who do not plan to transfer will have a different set of goals for completing their coursework. For all students who do aim to transfer, however, AB 705 is designed for students to take fewer classes before working on transferable, degree-applicable coursework.

Starting in the Fall of 2019, all incoming students will place into transfer-level math and English courses. Colleges may also recommend students enroll in and complete concurrent courses (co-reqs) designed to help them to successfully complete their transfer-level courses

What are corequisite (co-req) classes?

Coastline’s English department is piloting a program where students take English C100 but students also enroll in a corequisite course, English C090, that provides extra support. By taking these two courses together, students can still complete transfer-level English in a single semester even if they did not previously feel they were ready for a transfer-level course. The math department is also developing corequisite courses.

Want to know how your Mathematics and English Department feels about AB705? Check the two latest Teacher Features and get a fresh perspective:
Teacher Feature, Scott Davis
Teacher Feature: Fred Feldon

How can you get support?

Coastline is offering the College Readiness Program as a free resource for current and future Coastline students. This program offers any interested student access to an online platform that builds and refreshes math and English skills. The idea is to prepare students for transferable math and English classes or to support them in classes they are already enrolled in. There are even in-person workshops available throughout the semester.

Interested in signing up for the College Readiness Program? Join their free workshop. Learn how to sign-up through their workshops page.