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L.A. City College and Trade-Technical College taken off probation

A regional accrediting agency has taken Los Angeles City College and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College off probation, removing a threat, however remote, to students being able to receive transferable course credits and financial help at the two-year campuses.

The regional arm of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, at its June meeting, lifted the probationary status imposed a year ago on the East Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles campuses. The commission, in its official notification letters, said the colleges had complied with its recommendations, which included developing plans to improve student achievement.

California colleges rarely lose accreditation; without it, their course credits would not be recognized by other institutions, and their power to issue financial aid would be revoked. But the accrediting commission in recent years has stepped up the number of less serious sanctions it hands out, in an attempt to reverse the often dismal graduation, certification and transfer rates at many of the state’s 112 community colleges.

At the meeting, the commission fully reaffirmed Los Angeles City College’s accreditation and lifted probationary status for Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. Trade-Tech officials, however, were warned to reduce turnover among senior managers and improve communication among campus groups or face future action. East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park was taken off warning status.

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“We’re ecstatic,” said Sylvia Scott-Hayes, one of seven elected trustees in charge of the Los Angeles Community College District’s nine campuses, including City, East and Trade-Tech colleges. Scott-Hayes announced the commission’s decision at a board meeting this week. “This is what we worked for.”

The district’s deputy chancellor, Adriana Barrera, said the new plans should help students earn certificates and degrees more quickly, and go on to four-year universities, if desired.

Kimberly Perry, vice president of academic affairs and chairwoman of City College’s accreditation response team, said the campus assessed 300 courses to see where students were getting stuck, and what instructors could do about it.

“We’re getting affirmation whether students are learning what they should be learning, or not quite learning, and how do we improve that, by teaching differently, using power points or changing prerequisites,” she said.

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Nancy Shulock, executive director of the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Cal State Sacramento, said colleges were learning teaching methods and other strategies that could change students’ outcomes, even if pupils arrive ill-prepared.

“We continue to have a huge crisis of low completion rates, not just in California but across the U.S.,” Shulock said. “But we’re finding that you can see some colleges doing much better than others.”

gale.holland@latimes.com


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