Jim Sauve 0

Support for Current CCSF Placement Process

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We the undersigned

  • Have not seen a single clear, credible, research-supported alternative mechanism or proposal for English and Math placement.

  • Have not seen a clear and credible description of the cost savings that can be achieved through the yet-to-be-described alternative placement process.  (How much will an alternative placement system cost?  Who will perform the labor in that system?  Why will it work better than the current placement process?)

  • Believe that sudden elimination of the placement tests will create confusion and chaos regarding where students should start their City College educational paths in English and Math. This confusion will extend to all areas of the college, including instructors, counselors, staff, administrators, and students.

  • Believe that for every student able to achieve a higher placement in Math or English there will be multiple students who make or will be given uninformed and disastrous choices about which classes to take.  More students will fail when they cannot afford to do so in an era of spiraling costs and newly mandated high stakes consequences for failure.

  • Strongly believe that the shared governance process is not being followed with this proposal. It ignores the Resolution on Shared Governance that was passed by the CCSF Board of Trustees in 1998: "Each constituency of the college which has the responsibility and expertise in a particular area shall participate in the formulation of policies and regulations related to that area. Such participation will bring together multiple segments of the college in instances where policies and regulations affect staff across schools and departments."  This broad, interactive mandate for shared governance is clearly being violated.

  • Argue that this proposal fundamentally undercuts decisions that were crafted and approved as part of the Equity Hearing process. Elimination of the placement test was never brought up during the extensive Equity Hearing process in 2010-2011. Instead, what were articulated were issues with poor testing preparation for students, inadequate orientation to the test, and prohibitive retesting policies.  This sudden shift in course has no context or support in the larger institutional discussions and subsequent actions that the English, Math and other departments pursued in good faith in response to the Equity Hearings and other departmental reforms and self-study.

  • Point to the potentially disastrous fiscal and political road that this policy will put the College on. The State Student Success Task Force has recommended mandating a common, statewide placement instrument; even now, Title 5 changes are being drafted in Sacramento to require all colleges in the system to administer a common placement test. The Title 5 mandate is that all colleges' receipt of Matriculation funds will be tied to compliance with use of the common placement tests.  If City College opts out of this new assessment system, it will lose Matriculation funds it desperately needs.  If it chooses to jettison its current placement process and pursue whatever pathway is being proposed by the Chancellor only then to reverse its course months later?  This will simply compound the original chaos and confusion and deeply erode our credibility with our students, our peer and partner institutions, and the State Chancellor's Office.

For all of these reasons we urge the Board of Trustees and our college community to support the current placement tests and placement processes. If we need to make changes we should do so together, collaboratively, with a firm eye towards promoting student success and following the principles of shared governance.


CCSF English Department


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