California community colleges to enact uniform AP credit policy


A three is all you need.

That’s what high school students will soon be saying before their Advanced Placement Exams thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last week.

Assembly Bill 1985, introduced by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), requires community colleges statewide to adopt a uniform policy for awarding general education course credits for Advanced Placement Exam scores of 3 or higher.

The system-wide approach to credit for AP Exams will be implemented in all 113 community college campuses in California.

“The statute directs the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to work with the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges to develop and implement the uniform policy by fall 2017,” said Jaslee Carayol, associate director of media relations for The College Board.

The law will also require community colleges to post the new AP policy on their websites.

“My hope is that this bill will improve degree completion time, decrease the cost of education, reduce class sizes and improve equity and access in the classroom,” Williams said in a statement.

In 2015, more than 17,000 California high school graduates sent at least one AP exam score to a California community college, according to Carayol.

“We expect that the implementation of AB 1985 will have significant benefits for California’s students,” Carayol said.  “California community colleges serve more than 2 million students each year.”

Before the passing of AB 1985 colleges had individual AP credit policies: 24 required scores of 4, six required scores of 5 and 10 had no AP credit policies, according to The College Board.

The new law models the uniform approached implement by the California State University System at its 23 campuses.

Eric Harnish, College of the Canyons’ vice president of public information, advocacy and external relations, said COC is already “ahead of the curve” and that their AP policy aligns with CSU’s.

“We give credit for AP scores of 3 or higher,” Harnish said.  “It’s outlined in the catalog with the exam and how many units you receive for that and what it counts for in terms of the degree you’re pursuing.”

With the passing of AB 1985, California is now one of 20 states with a uniform AP credit policy.

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