California Community Colleges Curriculum

Prerequisites & Content Review

Prerequisites or corequisites must be established for a course if the curriculum committee, with input from the discipline faculty, believes that students are unlikely to succeed without the skills and knowledge learned in the prerequisite course(s). The process used to establish the prerequisites must be based on content review (definition follows) which may be augmented by statistical validation according to local board policy. Once prerequisites have been determined, then regular review of the prerequisite is required (every two years for vocational courses; every six years for all other courses) to ensure that the prerequisite is still necessary and appropriate and to monitor disproportionate impact.

Content review, according to Title 5 § 55000(c), “means a rigorous, systematic process developed in accordance with sections 53200 and 53204, approved by the Chancellor as part of the district matriculation plan required under section 55510, and that is conducted by faculty to identify the necessary and appropriate body of knowledge or skills students need to possess prior to enrolling in a course, or which students need to acquire through simultaneous enrollment in a corequisites course.” Curriculum committees must have documented processes outlining how content review will be conducted, including who is involved, the criteria used to determine the correct prerequisite(s), how the prerequisite will be evaluated, and the role of the curriculum committee. The Academic Senate papers, Student Success: The Case for Establishing Prerequisites Through Content Review (2010), and Implementing Content Review for Communication and Computation Prerequisites (2011), provide guidance to faculty interested in improving local content review processes.

Training for curriculum committees on rigorous content review is conducted each year at the Curriculum Institute. Each curriculum committee becomes responsible for training its members on the required components of content review and prerequisite establishment as well as the local applicable practices and policies. Monitoring the effects of all prerequisites and corequisites for disproportionate impact or of creating unnecessary barriers to student access must be part of all local policies and procedures for establishing prerequisites.