Placement Reform

October 2021  

This report analyzes 114 placement validation reports that CA community colleges submitted to the state Chancellor's Office to determine 1) whether colleges could identify a group of students for whom beginning in a remedial course meets the standards of AB 705, and 2) whether colleges' placement practices are having a disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx students.

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Areas of Impact > Placement Reform

December 2019  

Statewide analysis of community college course schedules to assess the extent to which colleges are meeting the AB 705 standard of maximizing student completion of transferable English and math requirements.


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September 2019  

A new law, Assembly Bill 705 (Irwin), is driving dramatic changes in how California Community Colleges place students into English and math courses. B...

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March 2019  

This article uses a disparate impact analysis framework to assess the impact of a policy change in writing assessment that roughly doubled the proportion of students placing into college English at Butte College, a two-year college in California. After establishing the disparate impact of placement, we tracked how students performed in college English, subsequent college courses, and overall college completion under the new policy. We found that substantially more students completed college English compared to previous cohorts, with Asian, African American, Latinx, and Native American students’ completion of college English doubling or tripling. Upon taking subsequent college courses, students placing into college English under the new policy performed as well as those who had qualified for college English under the more restrictive policy. Overall college completion outcomes, including degree completion and meeting the criteria for transferring to 4-year universities, have generally improved and become more equitable since the 2011 policy change. These findings suggest that broadening access to college English can be a powerful lever for reducing racial and ethnic gaps in the completion of college English and may help to reduce gaps in the attainment of other, longer-term college completion outcomes.

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December 2016  

At many California community colleges, faculty have often never seen data on their own placement policies. If asked, they wouldn't be able to tell you how many students qualify for transfer-level courses in English and math, how many have to take two or more remedial classes, and how placement rates vary across different racial/ethnic groups. This template helps to make placement practices more visible, so that colleges can understand the impact of their policies on student equity and completion. 


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Areas of Impact > Placement Reform

November 2015  

Three-quarters of California community college students are classified "unprepared" upon entry, and their long-term outcomes are bleak. This is often framed as a "college readiness" problem in the high schools, but a growing body of research suggests that incoming students are actually more ready than community colleges have recognized.

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November 2014  

What happened when Butte College changed its placement policy to more than double the proportion of incoming students qualifying for college English? The short answer: completion of college English increased substantially college-wide and achievement gaps narrowed, especially for Black and Hispanic students.

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