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November 20, 2012 > Meeting compliance, but missing the mark

Meeting compliance, but missing the mark

Submitted By Alessandra Nagy

The Campaign for College Opportunity (CCO), a California non-profit organization focused on ensuring that the next generation of California students has the chance to attend college and succeed, recently released a report, Meeting Compliance, but Missing the Mark, detailing the implementation of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act, Senate Bill 1440, which was passed in 2010.

The report shows that although great progress has been made statewide by California Community Colleges (CCC) and California State University (CSU) system leaders in taking steps to implement the reform, many individual campuses lag in creating the necessary pathways for students to transfer, and significant work remains to be done.

"When SB 1440 passed two years ago, it was our hope that the transition from a community college to a state university would be seamless and efficient, and that the schools would adopt these pathways quickly," said Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity. "Although there has been significant progress, we are disappointed that many individual colleges haven't created the necessary pathways for their students."

SB 1440 requires that California Community Colleges develop and offer Associate Degrees for Transfer and that California State Universities accept students who earn these degrees with a junior-standing. Students that earn Associate Degrees for Transfer would shorten their time to graduation on a pathway with fewer impediments.

To develop the Associate Degree for Transfer, the CCC and CSU systems created a uniform framework of courses for the top 25 academic majors that capture a vast majority of CCC-to-CSU transfer students. Students seeking an Associate Degree for Transfer would complete a 60-unit course of study in a major and upon graduation, would be guaranteed admission to a CSU as an entering junior.

The study by the Campaign for College Opportunity found that:

At the CCC and CSU statewide level, curricula for 24 of the 25 target majors has been established - a significant achievement that makes the next steps in implementation possible

The level of implementation at individual colleges is not uniform.

An average of just five degrees have been developed by each of the 112 CCCs.

Only 18 of the CCCs have developed at least nine of the initial 18 majors.

18 colleges have met just the minimum standards by establishing only two Associate Degrees for Transfer.

The CSUs also showed wide variance in adoption of the major transfer pathways.
Only four of the 22 CSU campuses have approved 100 percent of the initial 20 majors.

Only 10 of the 23 campuses have approved more than 80 percent of the options within the 20 majors.

For example, in the Bay Area, the College of San Mateo has adopted 11 pathways, Mission College has adopted 10 and Ca–ada College has adopted eight. This number is considerably better than colleges such as College of Alameda, Foothill College and San Jose Community College which only have adopted two pathways.

To significantly increase the number of degree pathways available to students through SB 1440, this report outlines implementable recommendations that can be adopted through statute, regulation, or practice. Overall, the Campaign for College Opportunity recommends:

Greater accountability;
Firm timelines for implementation;
Sharing of information; and
Adoption of best practices to help lagging institutions.

"The Campaign for College Opportunity developed SB 1440 for California to create a clear, statewide transfer pathway for students," said Siqueiros. "The Campaign is confident that with the support of the community and key stakeholders, campuses will adopt each of the pathways for an Associate Degree for Transfer. The Campaign will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that robust implementation of an Associate Degree for Transfer is realized for millions of California students."

"I look forward to working with CSU Chancellor White and CCC Chancellor Harris in the coming year to advance implementation of SB 1440 so that more students can achieve their higher education goals. I am prepared to introduce legislation if necessary to ensure that we continue to raise the bar and fully implement SB 1440," added Sen. Padilla.

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