A Continuous Improvement Process
Equitable Placement improves students’ chances for success. This is central for achieving the Vision for Success goals and implementing Guided Pathways. But it is not a one-time activity. To best serve our students, we need to be consistently monitoring, evaluating and enhancing our placement practices.
The following process model outlines a continuous process of design, implementation and evaluation.
You may already have local data that you can use, or perhaps you need to look at what is available from other institutions across the state and country. In either case, make sure that an understanding of the data is grounding all of your decisions.
As you continue moving forward, you will be able to make decisions with more targeted local data. How have changes in implementation strategies affected the data? What are the areas to focus on improving? Where are students being disproportionately impacted?
Are the Chancellor’s Office’s default placement guidelines appropriate for your institution? What placement rules will maximize the likelihood that students will pass transfer-level English and math within one year?
If you are not following the default placement guidelines, does your local data support the decision? Is your college seeing the outcomes that it was expecting from its current placement rules? If the data demonstrates that some student populations are being disproportionately impacted, are there changes to the placement rules that might help to address it?
What processes will be clearest to students and place a realistic burden on counselors? How should communications be handled for students who no longer have their high school transcript data and/or were previously placed under outdated processes?
Where are students struggling in the placement process? Are the current processes manageable for counselors? Do challenges represent opportunities for improving the process, or improving the communications about the process? If the data demonstrates that some student populations are being disproportionately impacted, are there changes to the placement process that might help to address it?
What model will work best for your institution and its students? How will additional support courses impact scheduling and registration processes? Who needs to be consulted or kept informed?
Are students receiving the support to maximize their opportunity to succeed? Is the co-requisite support model at scale and, if not, can it be scaled sustainably? Are students overburdened with too many credits and/or hours in the classroom? If the data demonstrate that some student populations are being disproportionately impacted, are there changes to the co-requisite structure that might help to address it?
Consider whether the teaching strategies that have typically been used in these courses will be the most effective, both for the transfer-level course, and for co-requisite courses. Consider the typical incoming student population at your college and how to deliver a rigorous college-level course that engages them, contextualizes the information to be relevant, and provides the framework for also developing skills traditionally covered in pre-transfer-level courses.
What were instructors’ experiences in the classroom? Were there parts of the curriculum that had greater opportunity for improvement? If the data demonstrate that some student populations are being disproportionately impacted, are there changes to the teaching methodology that might help to address it?
Local departments and Academic Senates
How does AB 705 change the roles, responsibilities, and skills needed for different professionals across your college? What information about AB 705 should all employees be equipped with to provide consistent communication to students?
Where are there opportunities to improve professionals' skills and knowledge? What are professionals at your college continuing to ask for more training on? If the data demonstrates that some student populations are being disproportionately impacted, are there professional development opportunities that might help to address it?
Everything within this toolkit!
What capacity does your college have for data collection? What data is liable to make the most significant impact in the ability to make decisions? Is there any specific data that needs to be collected in order to justify your college’s placement rules?
What questions does your currently available data raise? Is there increased capacity to gather more data? What significant changes have been made that might be worth looking at specifically?