Many concerned that AB 705 is putting math and English students in transfer-level courses before they are ready

Taft College is facing challenges as it prepares to fully comply with a new California law designed to get more community college students to pass their transfer-level English and math classes in one year.

Assembly Bill 705 goes into effect starting in the fall semester 2019 and will require students to skip remedial coursework unless it is "highly unlikely" they will not succeed in transfer-level courses.

This sharply restricts the community college's ability to place students in below transfer-level classes in math and English.

According to the California Community College's website "...community colleges are already prohibited from requiring students to take a prerequisite course unless they are highly unlikely to succeed in a higher-level course without it...However, this policy is often not followed in practice."
AB 705 "requires that a community college district or college maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one year timeframe."

It is going to mean fewer remedial course offerings and more sections of the transfer-level courses.

TC's faculty and administration have been training and preparing for the full implementation, but they told the West Kern Community College Board of Trustees last week that it is going to take a lot of support to get many students through transfer courses without prior instruction.

One said "Basically we are throwing people in the deep end and hoping they swim."

The college is adding extra tutors and laptops to the math and English labs in the learning resource center, Dr. Severo Balason vice president of student services, said.

The extra tutoring may also come from TC professors as well.

Math Professor Diane Jones said it has the faculty worried that many students may be taking coursework they are not adequately prepared for.
"We are very concerned, as is the English Department," she said. "They are not going to be able to build up their skills. They are going to go straight up two levels. We are doing the best we can, but we are very concerned."

Transfer-level tutoring is going to be increased by 100 hours per week, Balason said, and English professors will be in the English lab.

"We are hoping students stay longer than their required hours," Balason said.