AB 705 will affect students hoping to transfer from Bakersfield College

Miranda Defoor, Web and Social Media Editor

Academic Development (ACDV) classes have been offered at Bakersfield College for students returning to college or students who would otherwise have trouble succeeding in transfer-level courses without additional preparation. Many ACDV classes are a stepping stone to the transfer-level courses students need to leave BC, and in that way, a stepping stone to their success.

Community colleges all throughout California, not just in the Kern Community College District, will remove remedial math and English courses, known as ACDV at BC, by fall of 2019 in compliance with new bill AB 705.

AB 705 requires the California community colleges to “maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one-year timeframe,” according to the California Community Colleges website. Meaning, the goal of this bill is to help students through community college courses faster and limit the number of math and English classes students will be required to take prior to reaching a transfer-level class.

“Many of the students in our remedial courses tell us that they are thankful they are in our classes because it has helped them feel more confident about their math and writing skills and that what they have learned in Academic Development helps them in their college-level coursework,” Kimberly Bligh, Department Chair and Academic Development Professor said.

The prerequisites for math and English will be changed, along with the way students are placed in math and English courses. Currently, a student’s assessment scores determine the class they are placed in. After AB 705, however, factors such as grades from high school, AP courses taken, high school math level, high school English level, and the delay between graduation from high school and beginning community college, will all be considered when placing students in math and English. Taking these factors into consideration means students have a better chance of being placed in higher level math and English courses at BC.

If students do poorly on their assessment and had a low GPA in high school, or did not complete certain levels of math and English while in high school, then they can be placed in a transfer-level class with one unit or two unit co-curricular or co-requisite course at the same time. The co-requisite courses will allow students more time with professors and allow them the opportunity for individualized help.

Despite the goals of AB 705, students have concerns. One BC student, Emmanuel Limaco, expressed his thoughts over the removal of ACDV classes; because many Bakersfield College students are adults returning to school after being away at careers, parenting, or possibly after being incarcerated, these classes are essential to their success according to Limaco.

“Students who are part of a minority, older, [or who have been] previously incarcerated would have to go to adult school,” Limaco said, explaining that adult school would still not properly or adequately prepare these students for college courses.

Although colleges are not required to be compliant with AB 705 until the fall of 2019, BC is moving forward in a shorter timeframe than required. BC is expected to be implementing the changes by Spring 2019.

“It appears BC is determined to implement AB 705 ahead of the permitted schedule,” Phil Feldman, Academic Development professor explained, “Because of the speeded up implementation process the administration has decided upon, math and English faculty are under tremendous pressure to implement new co-requisite courses very quickly.”

Feldman also expressed his concern over the state data not being fully representative of the BC community and students by saying, “I fear that new students will be placed into transfer-level courses because they can be, but might not be adequately prepared for the expectations of them in those transfer-level courses.”

The changes happening at BC under AB 705 are also not in coordination with BC faculty, according to Feldman.

“Decisions about what BC will do appear to have been made by administrators not in consultation with faculty—those staff members most familiar with our students.”

Currently, BC is going to revise the ACDV math courses such as ACDV B61 and ACDV B50 to meet requirements for the CSU pathway. The ACDV B72 class will available for students who place as “Highly Unlikely to Succeed,” according to the AB 705 Math Proposal for Academic Development.

Those “Highly Unlikely to Succeed” students, however, Bligh explained, may be unsuccessful for reasons beyond their ability and education.

“Many of our students are not successful due to a lack of College Knowledge meaning they may be the first in their family to attend college, so they really just don’t have the background information and experiences needed to be successful,” Bligh said.

The proposal also suggests a new ACDV math course as a prerequisite for PSYC B5, which is a transfer-level course that is part of the one-year path for students not majoring in STEM, Business, or Elementary Education. The STEM, Business, and Elementary Education majors would have different one-year math plans all starting with Math B70.

The English requirements and courses have proposed changes as well. One such suggestion is to combine ENGL B50 with ENGL B1A through “an 8-week accelerated English 50 followed by an 8-week English 1A,” according to the English proposal. Another proposed change for English courses is to “revamp English 53 and English 50,” in order to create a better course that offers the skills and information students need before continuing to ENGL B1A.

Students have access to resources at BC such as the tutoring center, extend the classroom for math, and the writing center for English. Feldman suggests things students can do for themselves, such as read their book before the topic is covered in class, do homework on time, ask questions during class, and utilize scheduled office hours for their professors.