A Seat at the Table (2018)

California Assembly Bill 705 mandates that all community colleges in the state will soon allow students to enroll directly in transferable, college-level English composition (with concurrent support for those who need it) instead of taking remedial, non-transferable classes. It also requires English as a second language (ESL) programs at community colleges to ensure that students have the best possible opportunities to complete college composition within three years.

The California Acceleration Project’s report, A Seat at the Table, focuses on three colleges where corequisite remediation and accelerated ESL instruction are producing substantial gains in completion and equity. Each of the three started early on their AB 705 compliance, and each have been agile and student-centric in their approaches. College Futures provided a grant to support the writing of this report.

A major component of all the approaches is the instructor supporting the students both in and out of the classroom. These instructors also excel at recognizing student capacity and tailoring their curriculum so students have opportunities to showcase their strengths.

  • In four years, ESL students at Solano College have moved from just 9% completing college English within an average time of 26 months to 27% completing in less than 16 months.
  • Sacramento City College uses a successful model that allows students who are classified as “underprepared” to enroll directly in special sections of college English along with students classified as “college-ready.”
  • As instructors at San Diego Mesa College move away from one-size-fits-all solutions, they become better equipped to serve a more heterogeneous population.

Colleges already making the changes required by AB 705 are seeing that many more students can succeed in college English than previously assumed. Read the report for more details about these early successes.