A new bill authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal aiming to develop strategies to improve completion rates at California’s 112 community colleges was approved last week by the State senate Tuesday.
The Student Success Act of 2012 (SB 1456) would direct critical support services in order to increase the success rate for students starting their community college educational experience.
"While many students are getting out of the starting blocks at our community colleges, many fail to get across the finish line...,” Lowenthal said in a statement. “This situation is unacceptable by any measure and demands immediate change. SB 1456 is an important first step in realigning our community college system to the goals of student success and achievement.”
The bill passed last Tuesday with a vote of 33-1, and now moves to the State assembly for a vote.
“I want to commend Sen. Lowenthal and his staff for this vitally important bill that will help the community colleges to focus on student success,” said Jack Scott, California community colleges chancellor, in a statement. “The Student Success Act of 2012 will help our students earn degrees and certificates more quickly, improve transfer rates to four-year universities and allow us to better help students needing job training skills.”
The bill is a response to a September 2011 task force recommendation that community colleges become more responsive to the needs of students and the economy.
According to a statement from Lowenthal’s office, the recommendations “rebalance priorities to focus on the core missions of remedial education, workforce preparation, certificate and degree attainment and preparation for transfer to four-year colleges and universities.”
The Student Success Act of 2012 would do the following, according to a statement released from Lowenthal’s office:
- Give students the tools they need to succeed. All students would be required to eventually participate in a diagnostic assessment to ensure placement in the appropriate courses, receive an orientation and develop an education plan to guide them toward completion of their education program. This would put students on a clear path as they begin their community college education.
- Increase transparency and close the achievement gap. The legislation would require colleges to post a “student success score card” on their campus web sites as a condition for receiving student success and support funds. This tool would highlight the progress campuses make on a select number of key indicators of student success. The information would be provided by ethnicity to ensure that completion rates improve for all students.
- Use technology to help students and create greater efficiency. The bill would require colleges to use a system-wide online common assessment on their campuses once it is made available. Not only would this system generate savings, it would allow students to use their test results at any community college in the system. Currently, students can be required to take a new assessment when enrolling in another college.
- Encourage students to focus on success. The legislation would create incentives for students to identify their educational goals, take and pass the courses needed to complete a program and make academic progress in order to continue to receive a fee waiver.
To learn more about the Student Success Task Force, click here