Student Success Act of 2012 Passes Senate

The California Senate on approved yesterday the Student Success Act of 2012 that would help implement recommendations of the Student Success Task Force, which developed strategies to improve completion rates at California’s 112 community colleges. The bill passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 33-1, and now moves to the Assembly.

Authored by Senator Alan Lowenthal, the Student Success Act of 2012 (SB 1456) would direct critical support services to students beginning their community college educational experience to increase their prospects for success.

In September 2011, the task force recommended that community colleges become more responsive to the needs of students and the economy, which is increasingly demanding college-educated workers. The recommendations rebalance priorities to focus on the core missions of remedial education, workforce preparation, certificate and degree attainment and preparation for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Among the key recommendations was for students who make progress toward meeting their goals to be rewarded with priority enrollment, and for colleges to adjust course offerings according to the needs of students based on their education plans.

The Student Success Act of 2012 would:

  • Give students the tools they need to succeed. All students would be required to eventually participate in a diagnostic assessment to ensure placement in the appropriate courses, receive an orientation and develop an education plan to guide them toward completion of their education program. This would put students on a clear path as they begin their community college education.
  • Increase transparency and close the achievement gap. The legislation would require colleges to post a “student success score card” on their campus web sites as a condition for receiving student success and support funds. This tool would highlight the progress campuses make on a select number of key indicators of student success. The information would be provided by ethnicity to ensure that completion rates improve for all students.
  • Use technology to help students and create greater efficiency. The bill would require colleges to use a system-wide online common assessment on their campuses once it is made available. Not only would this system generate savings, it would allow students to use their test results at any community college in the system. Currently, students can be required to take a new assessment when enrolling in another college.
  • Encourage students to focus on success. The legislation would create incentives for students to identify their educational goals, take and pass the courses needed to complete a program and make academic progress in order to continue to receive a fee waiver.

To read more on the Student Success Task Force, click here.

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