Narrowing the Access Gap
Access to college-level courses is key to the long-term academic success of students in developmental education. AB 705, enacted in California in 2017, requires community colleges to increase the likelihood of students enrolling in and completing transfer-level coursework in math and English within one academic year. While the law sent into effect only recently, a group of community colleges implemented reform several years earlier and the results are promising.
Of the colleges that significantly broadened access to college composition courses, enrollment among all racial groups increased markedly. Latino and African American students each saw a 51-percentage point increase, thereby narrowing the access gaps by 7 and 11 points respectively. The access gaps for the same groups prior to reform were 20 to 24 points respectively. This Points of Interest shows that expanding access to transfer-level coursework can narrow the access gap for students of color.