California Adopts Uniform AP Credit Policy for Community Colleges
California Adopts Uniform AP Credit Policy for Community CollegesZach Goldberg, Senior Director, Media Relations and External Communications
Photo: Students supporting AB1985 at the California State Capitol on April 19, 2016.
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law AB1985, legislation introduced by Assembly member Das Williams that requires California Community Colleges to develop and adopt a uniform policy of awarding general education course credits for Advanced Placement exam scores of 3 or higher. While the California State University System (made up of 23 campuses) has a uniform policy of awarding credit for AP scores of 3 and higher, the California Community College System of 113 colleges lacks a system-wide approach. Each California Community College has its own individual AP credit policy — for example, 24 community colleges require scores of 4 for credit, six community colleges require a score of 5 for credit, and 10 community colleges have no AP credit policies at all.
In response to the bill signing, Scott Hill, vice president, College Board Western Regional Office said: “This is a tremendous victory for California students, families and educators. With AB1985 signed into law, California now will have a statewide Advanced Placement credit policy ensuring that students at community colleges receive the credits they earned as a result of their hard work in AP. At a time when AP participation and performance has increased significantly in the state, this law provides more students with a greater opportunity to graduate college on time and save money. The College Board is grateful for the leadership of Assembly member Williams, who authored the bill, and Governor Brown for signing the bill into law.”
On April 19, at an Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing, educators and students lined up to testify in support of AB1985. Rachel Lewis, an AP English teacher, told the Committee members how students every year who did well on the AP English exam would come back to tell her how well prepared they felt for the English curriculum of their community colleges, state colleges, and private colleges. “I want my students to benefit from the full fruit of their labors and know their efforts are recognized and meaningful. When not awarded college credit, students who look at the AP test as a financial investment into their future are punished for their thoughtful planning. It is especially unfair to students who are already struggling to pay for college and are now essentially asked to pay for the same class twice.”
The law has support from the higher education community:
Said Frank Chong, Ed. D., president of Santa Rosa Junior College: “This new law will have a positive impact for our community. A uniform AP credit policy benefits students and parents planning for college and tuition affordability. Students won’t need to retake introductory courses in subjects where they’ve already demonstrated academic proficiency, propelling them more quickly to completion.”
Said Eric Forbes, assistant vice chancellor, Academic Affairs/Student Academic Support, at California State University: “CSU will work with our California community college partners to ensure that AP-course credits are also identified uniformly when students transfer to the CSU. Removing transfer pathway barriers is a benefit for students and their families.”
California is one of 20 states to have a statewide or system-wide uniform AP credit policy.