Mapping the equitable
implementation of AB 705

Students enter California’s colleges with academic interests and career goals that can fortify their futures. However, once on campus, their learning journeys are encumbered by institutional obstacles. Unnecessary barriers like non-credit-bearing remedial courses can result in inequitable access to college completion.

Assembly Bill 705 was enacted in 2017 to address the negative impact of remedial education in California’s community colleges (CCC). The bill requires colleges to implement evidence-based alternative practices to increase students’ probability of completing transfer-level math and English courses within their first year. However, implementation has varied widely by campus.

This interactive map of California’s 114 community colleges is intended to bring awareness to the disparate implementation of AB 705 across campuses and the corresponding negative impact on Black and Latinx students. We hope policymakers and advocates use this map as a tool to evaluate local course placement practices and to advocate for more equitable access to transfer-level courses.   

The data tool is based on an equity index, with each community college receiving a score of 1-5 (low to high). A score of 5 means a college is doing a better job of getting students to complete transfer-level courses and is offering more of these types of courses. Each college also has an associated rating to indicate how equitably it has implemented AB 705. (See additional details in Methodology section below.)

The index is based on the following data for each campus:

  • Fall 2019 math and English throughput (the rate of students successfully completing transfer-level courses in their first term) for all students
  • Fall 2019 throughput relative to enrollment for Black and Latinx students in math and English
  • Fall 2020 transfer-level courses offerings compared to remedial course offerings
  • Fall 2020 corequisite transfer-level courses compared to remedial course offerings for underprepared students

Note: We focus on Black and Latinx students in this tool because publicly available data reveals significant disparities in remedial education outcomes for these student groups. Due to data limitations, we are unable to identify whether there are disparate outcomes across Asian student subgroups by national origin (such as Laotian, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Cambodian students), whom our education systems have also underserved.

Bright Spots

Below, we identify two high-performing community colleges for each of the CCCCO regions based on their overall equity index. These colleges show that stronger implementation of developmental education reforms is possible, although continuous self-evaluation and growth can only lead to greater equity.

CollegeRegionOverall Equity Score/Rating
College of the RedwoodsNorthern California4.00 / "Approaching Equity"
College of the Siskiyous Northern California 4.20 / “Approaching Equity”
College of Alameda Bay Area 3.70 / "Needs Improvement”
Merritt College Bay Area 4.00 / “Approaching Equity”
College of the Sequoias Central Valley 4.50 / “Approaching Equity”
Porterville College Central Valley 4.70 / “Approaching Equity”
Pasadena City College Los Angeles 3.90 / “Needs Improvement”
Citrus College Los Angeles 4.00 / "Approaching Equity”
Norco College Inland Empire/Desert 4.00 / “Approaching Equity”
Moreno Valley College Inland Empire/Desert 3.90 / “Needs Improvement”
Goldenwest College Orange County 4.10 / “Approaching Equity”
Santa Ana College Orange County 4.00 / “Approaching Equity”
Cuyamaca College San Diego/Imperial 4.40 / “Approaching Equity”
Grossmont College San Diego Imperial 3.80 / “Needs Improvement”
Santa Barbara City College South Central Coast 3.80 / “Needs Improvement”
Ventura College South Central Coast 3.50 / “Needs Improvement”

Take Action to Eliminate Remedial Education

There are tangible steps that both state-level policymakers and local advocates can take to ensure community college campuses are eliminating barriers to college success for Black and Latinx students. Below, we provide recommendations for steps that center equity in AB 705 implementation:

State-level policymakers:

01.

Pass legislation that prevents colleges from offering any English and math remedial courses and instead requires them to enroll all students directly in transfer-level courses, with corequisites if needed, and to provide holistic student supports. As we move away from remedial courses, repurpose state funding of remedial education courses towards funding transfer-level courses and corequisites.

02.

Provide funding in the state budget to hire additional, diverse personnel at the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office to monitor and manage the transition from remedial courses to transfer-level courses and corequisites.

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Community and student advocates:

01.

Attend Community College Board of Governors meetings when AB 705 is on the agenda to stay updated on the conversation and to publicly advocate for the equitable implementation of AB 705. You can ask the Board of Governors and Chancellor's Office to revise AB 705 regulations to prevent colleges from offering remedial courses and to instead require them to enroll all students directly in English and math transfer-level courses, or transfer-level courses with corequisites and holistic student supports.

02.

Attend your local community college district board meetings and provide public comment or write them a letter to advocate for the elimination of remedial courses. Ask your board of trustees to enroll all students needing additional support directly in English and math transfer-level courses with corequisites and other holistic supports, and request that they leverage Student Equity and Achievement (SEA) funds to support elimination of remedial courses. Further, ask the board to provide faculty learning opportunities, including stipends to develop new corequisite models, design transfer-level courses with corequisites, and engage in teaching communities to share best practices. Trainings (such as those offered by the California Acceleration Project) could focus on culturally sustaining pedagogy and curriculum, culturally sensitive teaching, promoting a sense of belonging, building strong relationships among students, faculty, and staff, implicit bias training for faculty and staff, equitable grading policies, and classroom practices to support equitable outcomes in transfer-level courses and corequisites.

03.

Meet with your local community college president and ask them to take steps towards eliminating all remedial English and math course offerings. The president should direct math and English department chairs to take steps toward eliminating all remedial English and math course offerings and toward enrolling all students directly in transfer-level courses, with corequisites and holistic student supports as needed. They should also direct counseling and student services departments to immediately halt the placement of students in remedial courses. Finally, they should provide clear direction to learning communities staff (e.g., Umoja and Puente), student services staff (e.g., Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, Disabled Student Services and Programs, Foster Youth Success Initiatives, Veteran Services), guided pathways regional coordinators and staff, and counselors, to enroll students in English and math transfer-level courses (with additional corequisite supports as necessary).

04.

If you’re a student, you can connect with Student Senate for the California Community College (SSCCC), your community college governing student body, about this issue and raise awareness of students’ rights to help avoid enrollment in remedial courses. Visit ab705.org, a student-focused website, to learn more and receive support in being placed into English and math transfer-level courses.

We hope this tool and the related recommendations uplift the need to center equity in AB 705 implementation and encourage campus leaders to eliminate the significant barriers to college success for Black and Latinx students. Learn more about our efforts to eliminate remedial education here.

We calculated separate indices for math and English using the same approach for campus leaders to compare differences across subjects. The size of the campus icons in the map represents the overall percentage of Black and Latinx students enrolled in Fall 2019 for each campus, based on the most recently available Fall enrollment data from Datamart.

The data tool is based on an overall equity index, with each community college receiving a score of 1-5 (low to high). Each college also has an associated rating to indicate how equitably it is implementing AB 705. This rating also applies to the overall equity index; the English-specific equity index; the Math-specific equity index; and first-term throughput rates. These ratings align with the following scores:

  • 5 = “Equitable
  • Less than 5 and greater than or equal to 4 – “Approaching Equity
  • Less than 4 and greater than or equal to 3 = “Needs Improvement
  • Less than 3 and greater than or equal to 2 = “Needs Significant Improvement
  • Less than 2 = “Not Equitable

The color of the circles on the map reflects equity scores, with higher scores in darker blue. The size of the circles represents the overall percentage of Black and Latinx students enrolled in Fall 2019 for each campus, based on the most recently available fall enrollment data from Datamart.

Each campus’ equity index is calculated by averaging the indicators that follow. We included the rating systems from the original data source alongside the data. Because the first-term throughput indicator did not have an associated rating system, we applied the same rating system there that we created for the overall, math, and English equity indices.

  • Equity in throughput relative to enrollment: Also referred to as the “proportionality index in math and English for Black and Latinx students” in the original data source, this data from PPIC is a ratio of each group’s (i.e., Black, Latinx) successful completion of transfer-level courses, relative to each group’s representation within the overall group of first-time course takers for each student-subject combination (i.e., English/Latinx). We assigned a score of 1-5 for each student group-subject pairing based on the proportion, using the following criteria:
    • Greater than or equal to .9 = 5
    • Greater than or equal to .8 and less than .9 = 4
    • Greater than or equal to .7 and less than .8 = 3
    • Greater than or equal to .6 and less than .7 = 2
    • Less than .6 = 1
      • Note: Ratings for this indicator come from PPIC’s report and are based on the proportionality index for each student group-subject combination:
        • Greater than 1 = “Equitable”
        • Less than 1 and greater than .85 = “Near Equity”
        • Less than .85 = “Below Equity”
  • First-term throughput rate in math and English for all students – Throughput rates are the percentage of students successfully completing transfer-level courses during their first term enrolled, out of those enrolling in any level of math or English for the first time. We assigned a score of 1-5 for each student group-subject using the following criteria:
    • Greater than or equal to 80% = 5 (“Equitable”)
    • Greater than or equal to 60% and less than 80% = 4 (“Approaching Equity”)
    • Greater than or equal to 40% and less than 60% = 3 (“Needs Improvement”)
    • Greater than or equal to 20% and less than 40% = 2 (“Needs Significant Improvement”)
    • Less than 20% = 1 (“Now Equitable”)
  • Transfer-level Course access (Source: California Acceleration Project, “Still Getting There: How California’s AB 705 is (and is not) Transforming Community College Remediation and What Needs to Come Next,” Fall 2020) – Through an analysis of Fall 2020 class schedules, CAP estimated the percentage of introductory math or English sections that were transfer level at each individual campus. We incorporate this into our index to account for the opportunities students have to enroll directly in credit-bearing coursework. We assign a score of 1-5 for each subject using the following criteria:
    • Greater than or equal to 90% = 5
    • Greater than or equal to 80% and less than 90% = 4
    • Greater than or equal to 70% and less than 80% = 3
    • Greater than or equal to 60% and less than 70% = 2
    • Less than 60% = 1
      • Note: While we calculated this index based on actual percentages of introductory sections, the Tableau hover for each campus only shows which category of course offerings a campus falls into according to aggregate categories in the source report. The criteria for this indicator are the following:
        • 90% or greater = “High”
        • Greater than or equal 70% and less than 90% = “Middle”
        • Less than 70% = “Low”
  • Corequisite Support for Underprepared Students (Source: CAP, Fall 2020) – This is the share of corequisite English and math course offerings as a share of the total courses offered for underprepared students at each campus based on CAP’s analysis of fall 2020 course catalogs. This is calculated as the number of corequisite courses divided by the total number of corequisite and remedial courses for each campus. We assigned a score from 1-5 based on the following criteria:
    • Greater than or equal to .9 = 5 (“Equitable”)
    • Greater than or equal to .8 and less than .9 = 4 (“Approaching Equity”)
    • Greater than or equal to .7 and less than .8 = 3 (“Needs Improvement”)
    • Greater than or equal to .6 and less than .7 = 2 (“Needs Significant Improvement”)
    • Less than .6 = 1 (“Not Equitable”)

Join us for our #data4thepeople webinar!

On Thursday, January 27th at 4 pm, we’ll be explaining how to use this tool in our shared advocacy around student access and success statewide.

Join us for our #data4thepeople webinar!

On Thursday, January 27th at 4 pm, we’ll be explaining how to use this tool in our shared advocacy around student access and success statewide.