Cal State to Drop Placement Exams, Remedial Classes for Freshmen

Cal State to Drop Placement Exams, Remedial Classes for Freshmen”

Students enrolling at a California State University campus will no longer have to slog through math or English placement tests to take classes for college credit.

In accordance with CSU policy, the campus president is responsible for implementing executive orders where applicable and maintaining the campus repository and index for all executive orders. The CSU's current English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry-Level Mathematics (ELM) tests will be retired.

The hope is that by providing remedial material as a supplement to regular courses, students will be more successful. In 2015-16, more than half of the CSU bachelor's degrees earned were by first-generation college students.

De Sena now works at a nutrition shop in Chico and says that he ended up where he wanted, without having to pay so much for his education.

For summer 2018, campuses may continue to offer Early Start Program courses as established under Executive Order 1048 and/or may offer pilot credit-bearing baccalaureate courses. Such measures may include high school English and mathematics/quantitative reasoning course grades, high school grade point averages, grades in collegiate courses, ACT scores, SAT scores, Advanced Placement scores, International Baccalaureate scores, SAT subject tests or Smarter Balanced Assessment/Early Assessment Program scores. But James Minor, hired by CSU a year ago to help lead a systemwide push to double graduation rates, said he hasn't spoken with anyone "who can defend the current policy and protocol that is in place".

"I think it's a good thing because some people test poorly", said Victoria Mathews, a biology major.

Early Start programs - remedial summer classes in math and English for incoming freshmen - will remain in place.

Early Start Program participation is required for students needing skills development, as determined by systemwide placement standards. The chancellor's office had hinted at the changes back in May when it sent a draft of the order to the campuses for feedback. In the past, students often enrolled in no-credit remedial classes. Instead, CSU Chancellor Timothy White is asking all 23 campuses of the Cal State system to adopt new ways of educating and assessing college readiness and course placement.

The changes to remedial education may also help the system meet its goals of improving its six-year graduation rates from 57 percent to 70 percent, and its four-year graduation rates from 19 percent to 40 percent, by 2025. Each year, the CSU awards more than 110,000 degrees. Colleges new to the concept, in which one-semester college math courses are stretched out over two semesters and packed with remedial components, may have a hard time coming up with the new model in a year, she said. The executive order says the "supportive course models" will have at most one unit, which typically means one hour a week of instruction, Stevenson explained.

She's also anxious that the executive order doesn't permit universities to provide adequate remedial support for students who'll have to take courses that have both college-level and remedial components.

"The CSU announced Thursday a suite of changesat its 23 campuses that it said will reduce the cost of attendance, enable more students to graduate sooner and increase the percentage of CSU students who ultimately earn a college degree". She's hopeful that the changes in the long run will improve student success rather than "hampering them" or "funneling them away from algebra-intensive areas like STEM and business".

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