Standardized Assessment Would Save $4 Million in Testing Costs and Increase the Number of Students Assessed by 2.2 Million
March 30, 2011 – In an effort to increase efficiencies in California’s higher education system and boost student success, Assemblymember Marty Block (AD-78) announced that his community college student assessment legislation has been approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee on a unanimous vote.
AB 743 would establish a standardized assessment system at the California Community Colleges for the purpose of placing and advising students. This legislation promotes uniform assessment across all campuses, increases the number of students assessed and saves millions of dollars in testing costs.
“More than 70 percent of incoming community college students lack the necessary preparation required to perform successfully in college-level math and English courses. That is why it is critical that students are accurately assessed and placed in the basic-skills classes that will translate to successfully earning a degree,” said Assemblymember Block. “The lack of common assessment creates inefficiencies and leads to varying definitions of ‘college-readiness’ at each campus. AB 743 will streamline the process with a single, statewide assessment tool to allow students to take their scores with them to different campuses. This will eliminate cumbersome road blocks for students and help them reach their academic goals in a timely and more affordable manner.”
Currently, the California Community Colleges system does not have a uniform method or tool for assessing incoming students, and all too frequently, assessment standards differ from one campus to another. This differentiation leads to increased costs for all parties, reduced efficiency from staff and untold frustration for students.
AB 743 increases the efficiency of community college student assessment by creating a statewide common assessment system to place students in English, Mathematics, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. It also improves student success by offering students a pre-test component which allows them to practice and prepare before taking their assessments.
A uniform assessment process, using a single, central database would greatly simplify and streamline the process of enrolling and transferring between schools for our Community College students, as well as reduce the costs presented by repeated testing and coursework.
“Too often, students become frustrated when they are placed in classes that do not appropriately prepare them for success. AB 743 calls for a uniform assessment process to better place students in the classes that will help them develop the skills they need to earn their degree,” added Assemblymember Block.
AB 743 is sponsored by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. According to the Chancellor’s Office, a common assessment tool would save between 3 to 4 million dollars annually in testing unit costs while increasing the number of assessment tests completed by 2.2 million.
This bill is supported by Community College League of California, California Postsecondary Education Commission, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, Feather River College, Merced College, Los Rios Community College District, State Center Community College District and the Student Senate of the California Community Colleges, which represents 2.7 million students.
AB 743 now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Assemblymember Marty Block represents the cities and communities of Bonita, Chula Vista, Lemon Grove, San Diego and Spring Valley.