By Marisol Cuellar Mejia
With the passage of AB 705 in October 2017, California community colleges are in the midst of a major transformation of developmental education. The new law requires that community colleges restructure developmental education to maximize the likelihood that students will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and mathematics/quantitative reasoning in a one-year time frame.
Full implementation of AB 705 is expected no later than fall 2019. As colleges replace standardized test scores with high school records as their primary placement criteria, it is likely that the majority of entering students will enroll in transfer-level courses. To improve the likelihood of success, especially among students with the lowest high school performance levels, colleges are being encouraged to implement curricular reforms as well. Co-requisite remediation is an essential component of these reforms: it allows students who would otherwise be deemed underprepared to enroll directly in transfer-level math or English courses with concurrent remedial support.
While the vast majority of the state’s 114 community colleges have not yet implemented co-requisite models, a few colleges began experimenting with co-requisites and other reforms before the passage of AB 705. According to a recent PPIC report that looks at the efforts of these “early implementers,” co-requisites in English are more common than those in math. Nine California community colleges provided co-requisite courses in English to about 3,000 students in 2016–17 (the latest year of available data), and at least seven additional colleges began offering English co-requisite models in 2017–18.