Student perspective on new law for placement testing



Photo courtesy of The Chaparral.

With the implementation of the new law by AB 705 and 1805, both incoming and continuing students in CA community colleges have the complete freedom to select courses that are transfer-level. With success, this new freedom will give them the chance of earning their degree quicker and easier.

Journalism major and continuing student, Colin Chapdelaine who is a former military veteran had to start at Math 60 (pre-algebra) and work his way to where he needs to complete a statistics course that is the only course he needs to earn his degree. Now, with these new laws, he has that freedom to enroll in statistics in the spring without being held back by lingering pre-requisites he has not yet completed.

“It’s a big relief for me because, from the English perspective, I had placed in English 1A from the placement test, but with math, I had to start all the way down at Math 60 and work my way up and I still wasn’t ready. In all other areas, I was ready to graduate. With math I was still two, three classes behind so I had to end up taking extra semesters here just to finish math where now next semester I can take one statistics course and then I’m ready to graduate,” said Chapdelaine.

Chapdelaine also mentioned that with being in the military, he did not do math in the time frame of five years, so even though he had to begin at pre-algebra to statistics, he says that it helped him be more acclimated with math as a refresher in order to prepare him for Statistics that he plans to take in the spring to then graduate.

“As long as the good thing has been passed, I don’t think it is unfair. People who have already finished probably will look back and say ‘wow that could have saved me a lot of money.’ But at least now students have to worry about that. They don’t have to fork out more money then they would have to,” said Chapdelaine

According to Physics major and continuing student, Genaro Murguia, he did not have to worry about the math portion of math placement since he completed Advanced placement (college-level credited courses) math classes at his previous high school as well as Math 8 at University California Riverside, but on the other hand English was a challenge for him.

“With what I took in high school, I don’t think [the assessment test] really helped. I was pretty much a straight-A student in high school, but when I had to take an assessment test for English, I did pretty bad and I was placed in the lower end of English. I thought I would have started at the higher end,” said Murguia.

Murguia mentioned that there is a misconception about the idea of doing well in high school. That if you have excellent grades in high school, it does not necessarily mean that college-level coursework will be at the same attainable level. When asked if it is unfair that incoming students get the freedom to choose, he responded.

“It’s upsetting actually. It’s going to wreck them. It could possibly wreck them really hard. When you go to the college level, you have a lot of excitement. You don’t really know what’s going to go on unless you’ve really seen it. Most of the student hasn’t even seen it so most of them are going to be [overly confident] and get ahead of themselves. And possibly go through a whole semester of doing nothing. That means that they will lose an entire semester of time and money. Time is also money. I think the time is the biggest part of it. And I think they’ll lose it. So, I feel sorry for them.”

In addition, Journalism major and continuing student Juan Rodriguez expressed his challenges the pre-requisites that he tested into caused during the course of his college experience, and how at this point in his academic career, the new laws are meaningless to him since he will be graduating in the spring of 2019.

“If I [didn’t] take the placement test at the beginning of my college experience without pre-requisites, it’d be amazing. But since I’m already done with my pre-requisites, it means nothing to me. Incoming students, it’s good for them. Obviously no pre-requisites. They don’t have to go through the same pain, the same struggle, the same time management. It should be a lot easier for them,” said Rodriguez.

Although Rodriguez might feel unmoved by the implementation of AB 705 and 1805, he made mention that the loss of the placement test that may include the fewer times students will have to enroll in pre-requisites might have them also lose sight of meeting valuable peers during their journey at a community college.

“If you are in or you are out. Because if I did not have my pre-requisites I would not have met many great friends, because I would have already been done with everything and just been gone by now. It will kind of take away from that sentimental value that comes with community college.” said Rodriguez.

With AB 705 and 1805 giving incoming and continuing students the right to choose the courses they feel they can handle, it will be interesting to see how this will change the overall community college experience and whether these bills will help or hurt incoming students getting started on their college journey. Read Nov. 17 article on the Chaparral website “Placement testing no longer required for students” to get a better idea on what this law means for students beginning winter and spring term 2019.


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