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State tests provide students chance to reduce college costs
March 22, 2011
It's a test you can't fail; it's easy – only about 30 questions – and a good score can cut thousands of dollars off the cost of a college education. Yet, the Early Assessment Program (EAP) test remains one of the least known, most underappreciated tests a high school student can take.
Local educators are teaming up to try and change that as the time nears for high school juniors to take the battery of state tests that includes the EAP." Every student should take this test because the results provide so much information that can be of use now, and in the months and years to come, regardless of a student's plans for the future," said Jacqueline Mimms, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for California State University, Bakersfield's (CSUB) Division of Enrollment Management.
Joining CSUB in promoting awareness of the EAP is the Kern High School District, which will make the writing portion of the EAP available to juniors starting Monday, March 14. The English and Math portions of the EAP will be taken in the ensuing weeks concurrent with the California Standards Tests (CSTs).
"We are urging parents to encourage their students to take advantage of the opportunity the EAP tests provide," said KHSD Director of Instruction Vickie Spanos." Students who choose to take the EAP and score well do not have to take remedial courses upon admission to college and are enrolled directly into college level coursework," Spanos said. "Students who do not have to take remedial courses shorten by up to a year the time required to earn a degree and save themselves and their parents thousands of dollars in tuition and textbook costs," she said.
Results from the EAP provide valuable feedback regardless of a student's score, Spanos added. "Juniors whose EAP scores indicate gaps in math or English have their entire senior year to improve their skills before they enter college," she explained. Results from the EAP also benefit students who may not be planning to attend college immediately upon graduation because they provide key indicators of any remedial needs in order to graduate with their class, Spanos added.
The EAP includes 15 multiple-choice questions for math and 15 multiple-choice questions for English as well as a brief essay. Student responses on the EAP are combined with their answers to select CST questions to determine "college readiness" in both math and English. Approximately 60 percent of the freshmen admitted to the CSU system require additional basic (remedial) course work in English, mathematics or both that will not count toward college graduation, Spanos said. Students must pay regular fees for these remedial classes in English and math, but they do not receive graduation credit.
Student scores on the EAP are also made available to counselors for use in discussions with students and parents, noted Vikash Lakhani, CSUB's Director of Operations and Early Intervention Programs. "The EAP results spell out very clearly which specific skill areas a student should focus on in order to avoid taking remedial classes entering college," Lakhani said.
Information about when the tests will be administered at a specific school can be obtained from the school site. Lakhani can be reached at CSUB at 654-3288. Spanos can be reached at the KHSD at 827-3225. Students, parents, teachers and counselors can obtain additional information about the EAP at http://www.csusuccess.org/shome.