City College to revamp math courses

Bill takes effect this fall and allows students to get on the right track to transfer


David Ahumada

Although some classes will change, students will still be able to receive tutoring in remedial math course topics. David Ahumada/City Times

David Ahumada, News Editor

A state law signed by former Governor Jerry Brown will change the way students at San Diego City College and all other state community colleges approach math.

California State Assembly Bill 705 clarifies existing regulation and ensures that the community college districts or schools place students into transfer-level courses within a one-year time frame unless evidence proves that they are unlikely to succeed in the college-level course.

The bill also states that high school coursework, grade, GPA and CST scores will now all be considered for the right placement in the right course. Brown signed the bill on Oct. 13, 2017, and it took effect on Jan. 1, 2018. All California community colleges are required to be in compliance with the bill no later than fall 2019.

“The new law is designed to allow students that want to take statistics without having to go through (Math) 38, 46, 96, and then to take statistics,” said Dr. Rob Rubalcaba, mathematics professor and City College graduate. “The law was designed to help students who weren’t making it through those algebra classes.”

Students like Itzel Ferrer, who had to take Math 46 twice, will no longer be delayed and forced to take the long math road.

Students are required to take a placement test upon enrolling in City College. Some feel as if they didn’t do well enough or felt like they tested lower than where they belonged.

“First, I had taken a different entrance exam at another school,” Ferrer said. “(City College) didn’t accept that test, so I had to take the exam (again) and I had to start from the bottom.”

“The majority of our students are in remedial math classes and they struggle in the remedial math classes,” said Kate Woodward, math center manager.

The single-measure placement test isn’t going to be the only thing considered now when entering any California community college, starting fall 2019.

“The math department is in the process of realigning the math classes to be in alignment with AB 705,” Woodward said.  “A student should be able to go through the pipeline of math within a year starting in fall 2019.

“(The math center) will continue to offer refresher courses to help students prepare for transfer-level math classes.”

Starting in April, City College will have new pathways and blocks available for students not only in math but also in English.

The City College Counseling Department did not respond in time for print with a request for comment.