Work continues for the implementation of AB 705 for ESL to ensure that students will be able to access credit ESL courses. Additional work needs to be done to assist colleges with determining whether a student should be placed into native speaker English or ESL courses.
Whereas, AB 705 (Irwin, 2017) rightfully distinguishes English as a Second Language (ESL) students as “foreign language learners who require additional language training in English” with needs separate from those of native English speakers in California Community College English pathways, and therefore intentionally provides English language learners (ELLs) in credit ESL with up to three years to achieve language proficiency before and being mainstreamed into native-speaker transfer-level English;
Whereas, The pathway to academic proficiency in English is not identical for every student and is dependent upon length of time and quality instruction at an appropriate level as well as additional factors far beyond the control of the classroom;
Whereas, The multiple measures using high school transcript information, including grade point average (GPA), have the potential to be applied in such a manner as to sweep high school ELLs into transfer-level English despite not having spent sufficient time in English language learning and despite the fact that GPAs of ELLs from the varied and inconsistent ESL models across California high schools (which include sheltered, pull-out, inclusion, transitional bilingual, structured immersion, and others) may not accurately predict success in the same way as with their native-speaking cohorts; and
Whereas, While some high school senior ELLs may indeed be ready for mainstreaming into transfer-level English, credit ESL at the community college is designed to enhance proficiency in English at a level of academic rigor that can better serve many ELLs who may have completed three or four years of high school English in the United States but whose language proficiency may still require attention to specific needs that are not met in transfer-level English, even with co-requisite or other support;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the AB 705 Implementation Committee and Work Groups to ensure that students who will be best served by credit academic ESL courses be distinguished in the implementation of AB 705 (Irwin, 2017); and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and ESL professionals to ensure that placement processes using multiple measures provide ample opportunity for ELLs to know their rights to enroll in credit academic ESL coursework that may better ensure their success in pursuing their transfer and career goals.