ESL Equity Impact Caused by Termination of Common Assessment Initiative

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Equity and Diversity Action Committee
Diversity and Equity

Whereas, The Seymour-Campbell Student Success Act (2012) directed the Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) to create a common assessment tool for placement, and the statewide faculty efforts to create that tool within the CAI’s ambitious one-year mandated timeline resulted in the exodus of several producers of competing placement instruments from the placement assessment market, leaving colleges with few quality options to meet the Title 5 requirement[1] that all colleges have an assessment, and thus utterly dependent upon the creation of the common assessment;

Whereas, The Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP) has been named by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as a means to remove unnecessary barriers to students trying to place into English and Math, and MMAP was cited in the Chancellor’s decision to terminate work on the CAI, yet effective application of multiple measures to the range of English as a Second Language (ESL) students in college is yet to be validated, and it remains exceedingly difficult to create multiple measures for ESL students since high school transcripts cannot be used effectively in placing students from different countries, across incongruent or incompatible foreign school systems, utilizing different languages, and with gaps in schooling due to immigration factors;

Whereas, AB 705 (Irwin, 2017) permits standardized tests as a multiple measure for placement[2] of credit ESL students, and such tests may be critical to the success of work by the Adult Education Block Grant (2014) consortia to place ESL students into language pathways spanning several programs with multiple entry and exit levels; and

Whereas, The termination of a well-designed standardized placement tool in favor of placement measures which are ineffective for ESL students creates an egregiously inequitable and discriminatory practice of compelling ESL students to either 1) produce evidence they cannot procure in order to prove their need for more time for language and math development, or 2) self-place into a post-secondary educational system which may be completely different from the educational systems in their countries of origin;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges ask the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to commit to consultation with ESL professionals on all student success mandates affecting ESL students in an effort to work towards eliminating inequitable impact on ESL students;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges convene ESL professionals to determine the best and most equitable alternatives for assessing and placing students into the ESL pathways being created under the Adult Education Block Grant; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to ensure that, in compliance with the provisions of AB 705, colleges may use standardized placement tools as equitable options to place ESL students into ESL sequences as needed for success in ESL pathways.


[1] California Code of Regulations. Title 5 §55518 (c); §55522; §55530; §56234

[2] Assembly Bill 705 Section 2.78213 (e)