Changes to Math, English Placement Testing Could Ease First-Year Students’ Experience on CSU Campuses

 

Under a new directive, CSULB incoming freshmen won't have to complete remedial coursework before starting starting work on their major. 

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White issued an executive order yesterday that will change the way that the 23-campus system assesses first time students’ readiness for college level courses.

The directive from White will retire the previous use of English placement tests and entry-level math tests and instead will rely on a variety of measures including a student’s grades from high school, grade point average, grades in collegiate courses, ACT and SAT scores and advanced placement test scores.

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“The order provides for the broadest utilization of multiple measures in assessing academic readiness and determining course placement for first-year students,” White wrote in a memo accompanying the order.

“The executive order also supports faculty innovation in curriculum and facilitates equitable opportunity for first-year students to succeed through existing and redesigned education models.”

One of the redesigns affects the CSU’s Early Start Program. The program is being expanded to include credit-bearing courses in general education in written communications and math with support as part of the program. The changes, effective Summer 2019, will replace the current model which requires students deemed “not well-prepared” for college-level coursework complete a one-unit class in the Summer before their first year of college.

Students will be allowed to take courses that count toward their majors without having to complete remedial courses first.

“The California State University is committed to helping all students admitted to a CSU campus achieve their academic goals by allowing them to earn college credit beginning their very first day of class,” said Loren Blanchard, CSU’s executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, in a statement. “This suite of changes maintains the quality and rigor of the CSU while enabling tens of thousands of students to get needed academic support while progressing toward their degree.”

The news of the order comes mere weeks after California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley advocated for reducing math requirements for non-STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors in an effort to increase the number of students that successfully matriculate through the college system. Oakley previously served as the Long Beach Community College District Superintendent-President before taking the post in Sacramento as chancellor.

Last month KPCC reported on an anticipated change will allow some community college students transferring into the CSU system to not have to complete intermediate algebra—a stumbling block for many students—unless their major requires it.



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