College of the Sequoias recognized for implementing new law changing student placement

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new law is bringing big changes to California community colleges and how they place their students.

One local school has been singled out as a success story.

Action News visited the College of the Sequoias to see what changes the institution is making and how students are responding.

"We spent the last year and a half working with placement and data trying to find what would be the right answer for students," said English professor Eric Armstrong.

Gloria is an English student who tutors and also works at the writing center, but she says taking a placement test was a rough start.

"It had been a long time since I'd been in school, so it was intimidating for me to come and take a placement test," Gloria said. "I definitely felt inadequate."

The test placed her in a beginner English course, something Gloria says wasn't a good fit.

"I ended up transferring into the accelerated course for English and transferred into Armstrong's class," added Gloria. "It put me on this path I'm on right now."

Now thanks to Assembly Bill 705, college students like Gloria won't have to take a placement test anymore.

Instead, students are put into English and Math courses based on their high school grades.

In addition, most students have enrolled in transfer-level math or English right away.

"We've set it up now where 100% are in transfer-level English when they arrive," added Armstrong. "That used to be about 30%."

Students say it's a welcome change.

"We're showing we have faith in our students and them seeing that and getting that from the administration and teaching staff, I think that gives them a confidence boost and shows we believe in you," said Gloria.

College of the Sequoias was singled out from nearly 50 other community colleges by the California Acceleration Project for success in implementing the change.
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