|May 20, 2005
Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or
The California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) has established a baseline for Kern County high school juniors, providing them a roadmap of what they need to accomplish before they enroll in a CSU campus, CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said today.
Speaking at a news conference on the CSUB campus, the two leaders said the test results show the importance of early intervention, since a high percentage of CSU-qualified students need remediation once they enroll at a CSU campus.
Some 15 percent of Kern County high school juniors who took the test in early 2004 are ready for college level English, while 6 percent tested proficient in mathematics and 40 percent will be proficient for college math with additional senior year experience. That compares to 22 percent of juniors statewide that tested proficient in English, 12 percent proficient in math, and 43 percent who will be proficient for college math with additional senior experience. “This program makes it possible for students in their junior year and their parents to get an early indication of what their likely placement would be here as freshmen,” Mitchell said.
After 11th graders take the test, they receive a report indicating whether they have either met the CSU expectations and are exempt from any additional CSU placement tests upon admission to the CSU, or whether they need additional preparation for college level work. “It gives them their senior year to be ready to start here, which then gets them through classes and programs without having to spend unnecessary time and money in remedial courses,” Mitchell said. He said the program also benefits the university: “We don’t have to spend additional money to hire and train faculty to prepare these students for college level work.”
The numbers speak for themselves. In the fall 2004 CSUB had 694 first-time freshmen enrolled. Of those students, 431 (62.1 percent) needed remediation in English, while 378 (54.5 percent) required remediation in math; 316 students completed remediation during the fall and winter quarters using various programs. Currently 192 students are in remediation. CSUB spends about $300,000 a year on remediation courses, money that could be used to enhance the university’s main curriculum.
The EAP seeks to remedy this problem. Students that are non-exempt in English must still take the English Placement Test (EPT) to determine if they will enter regular college level or remedial coursework.
“The results aren’t incredibly bad considering there had been no intervention in the curriculum,” said Kim Flachmann, CSUB’s EAP English coordinator. “These are juniors in high school that are already prepared for college English. We didn’t even start training people until the 2004-05 school year.”
“This curriculum breaks things down so that kids can grasp onto content and this is what they say is engaging them,” said Mira-Lisa Katz, from Sonoma State University and EAP statewide evaluator. “Teachers are seeing a willingness for students to dig right into a text and start to question what it means. These kids are developing the skills and confidence they need, and it’s empowering for them.” Katz added that students have told her they see how this program can work for them in college and in the workplace.
Flachmann along with other members of the CSU curriculum development task force trained teachers from 944 public schools throughout the state. “We’re partnering with the schools to bridge the gap between the creative literature that students receive in high school and the non-fiction material they receive in college,” Flachmann said. “It’s important to have all levels represented. We have three college trainers and three high school trainers. We are side by side in this process.” Flachmann said Kern is one of the leading counties in implementing the new curriculum.
Students that test into the conditional-exempt category in math must either complete a qualified math or science course or complete a monitored, interactive online math program available on the CSU Math Success website (www.csumathsuccess.org).
“The good news is the 40 (percent) to 50 percent of those that are conditionally exempt would probably have to take a math course their senior year anyway,” said John Dirkse, CSUB EAP math coordinator. “That means almost 90 percent are taken care of.” CSUB provides outlets for students to prepare them for success in college level math. Dirkse said students could also join a Summer Bridge program, take a class at a local community college or attend a Jump Start program during the summer.
According to Edwin Sasaki, CSUB interim dean for undergraduate studies, 4,063 students from Kern County high schools took the augmented English exam last spring, which is the California Standards Test (CST) that includes 15 additional CSU prepared questions and a CSU prepared writing sample test. The results from this test determined 636 students were exempt from having to take the EPT.
Sasaki also said 3,010 students took the augmented math exam last spring, which is the CST with 15 additional CSU prepared questions. Of that group, 195 are exempt from taking the Entry Level Math (ELM) test. However, 1,253 students were conditionally exempt and nearly 1,150 of those students completed appropriate course work their senior year. Some of the remaining students are either working with coordinators towards exemption or are no longer interested in the CSU.
English and math proficiency of high school graduates who entered the CSU as first-time freshman in fall 2004 did not change significantly compared to the previous year. Math has remained steady at 63 percent for the past three years, while English proficiency inched up 1 percentage point to 53 percent. Compare these numbers to CSUB incoming Kern County first-time freshman at 54 percent proficient in math and 47 percent in English.
Proficiency in both subjects has improved since 1998, when the CSU Board of Trustees adopted a policy designed to increase proficiency in English and math at the college level. At the time, the CSU found that only 32 percent of high school graduates accepted as first-time freshman were proficient in English and math. As a result of several programs put in place by the CSU and multiple efforts by the K-12 community, the results over the last six years have improved about 10 percentage points.
“However, over the last three years, proficiency in English, math, or both subjects combined has reached a plateau and new measures are needed to meet new challenges,” said David Spence, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.
Spence predicted that the EAP has the potential to carry CSU to its 2007 goal of 90 percent proficiency in math and English.
For additional information please contact CSUB EAP coordinator Michelle Jackson at (661) 654-2260, Dirkse (661) 654-3020, or Flachmann (661) 654-3083 or visit www.calstate.edu/eap.