New Law Means New Choices and No Remedial Class Requirements for English and Math Students


Photo by: Brendan Raley

Counselor Kayla Mannon helps a student with registration issues. From the Rampage Archive.

Story By: Jackie Williams and Matt Woods

A new California law will do away with prerequisite requirements for required transfer-level English and math courses, beginning in the 2019 fall semester.

Officially passed Jan. 1, 2018, the law will be fully implemented fall 2019, California Assembly Bill 705 (AB705) will transform the English and math sequences, redesigning them to focus on supporting students while they are in the transfer-level class rather than preparing them for transfer-level courses through a sequence of remedial courses

In other words, you can get into classes like English 1A, Math 11 and Math 3A right away, without taking prerequisite classes first. But you may need to enroll in an additional support course.

At Fresno City College, that support will come in the form of corequisite classes – classes that are taken with the same instructor, right after the regular class meetings, to give students extra time and guidance to work through the course material.

English 1A will have a corequisite called English 205 for all students with a GPA below 2.6. Depending on your GPA and major (BSTEM or SLAM), Math will also have corequisite supports. This additional 2-unit class will meet for two hours per week and provide hands-on lecture support – no additional work, just additional help.

In the meantime, current students who placed below transfer-level can use our existing courses to prepare themselves, and then go directly into transfer-level courses without needing additional support. Or, you might choose to wait until fall 2019 to take your transfer-level English or Math so that you have access to those support courses.

If you think you’d like to try those transfer-level courses immediately, just let your counselor know that you are exercising your rights under AB705. Your counselor will be able to help you find answers to any questions and concerns–and help you determine which path is right for you.

According to the research that informed the law, placement tests have been under placing students because they are a poor measure of student capacity. Grade-point average is a much better predictor: studies have found that students with high school GPA of 2.6 or higher have a greater than 70% chance of passing English 1A if they go directly into that course, even without extra support.

In Math, that GPA is 3.4 for business, science, technology, engineering or math (BSTEM) majors and 3.0 for statistics and liberal arts majors (SLAM).

Students with a high school GPA below those numbers still have a high chance of succeeding in transfer-level courses, but the law recommends that campuses offer better supports for those students.

Jackie Williams is an English instructor at FCC and a lead on AB705. 

Matt Woods is a mathematics instructor at FCC and a lead on AB705.