SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


California State University continues focus on better preparing students for college-level academics


SAN FRANCISCO, January 26, 2011 -- As part of its overall effort to ensure student success and help students reach their goal of earning a college degree, the California State University is focused on preparing students sooner for college level work.  The system has started implementing a cornerstone of this initiative called Early Start, which combined with the CSU's ground breaking Early Assessment Program test, has the potential to dramatically decrease the need for remediation during a student's collegiate experience.

"The newly-conceived Early Start Program is intended to give students a jump start to remediation in math and English prior to their first term at SF State," said Gail Evans, dean of undergraduate studies at SF State. "We have developed online options in both math and English, in addition to our Summer Bridge Program, that will address the Early Start requirements and be as cost effective as possible for our students.  Research has consistently shown that success rates increase as a result of meeting proficiency levels as early as possible in a student's academic career." Earlier this week, CSU Trustees received an update of the Early Start progress at its board meeting in Long Beach on Jan. 25 and 26.

In March 2010, CSU trustees adopted the "Early Start" policy to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter the CSU as incoming freshmen.  Approximately half of CSU's regularly admitted freshmen are not proficient in math and/or English, and are required to take developmental courses during their initial year of college.  CSU estimates it spends $30 million annually on remediation, and it often results in students falling behind their classmates as they attempt to complete CSU degree requirements. 

Under Early Start, beginning in summer 2012, students who are not proficient in math or "at risk" in English will be required to demonstrate they have started the remediation process prior to enrolling at a CSU campus.  However, students will still be allowed to enroll even if they still need some remediation following this initial effort.  There will be many available options including taking additional math or writing classes during their senior year of high school, taking an on-line refresher course or attending remedial classes at their local community college. 

Since its adoption, all 23 CSU campuses have been working to develop their individual Early Start campus plans, which have identified innovative best practices including:

  • Expansion of existing summer Early Start programs such as Summer Bridge
  • Increased use of on-line learning for students who are almost proficient
  • Expanded use of Early Assessment scores to encourage high school seniors to become proficient in math and English prior to attending the CSU
  • Additional collaboration with California Community College partners and local high school faculty


The final stage of Early Start in English for all students who have not demonstrated proficiency is expected to take place by summer 2014.


Early Assessment Program (EAP)
A key to the success of the Early Start initiative is the continued expansion of CSU's Early Assessment Program test that high school juniors can take to determine if they are ready for college level work in math and English.  The EAP is administered as a voluntary part of the California Standards Test (CST) taken state-wide by students in the 11th grade.  By receiving results prior to their final year of high school, students can make better use of both their senior year of high school and the summer prior to their freshman year to prepare for college.

Since its implementation in 2006, more than 1.7 million students have taken the voluntary EAP test with 84 percent of eligible students (378,870) taking the English test in 2010.  Additionally, proficiency rates have also shown steady improvement with students demonstrating a marked increase in English proficiency over 2009 results.

EAP testing is not limited to CSU-bound students as 2010 marked the first year that students were also able to authorize the release of their EAP results to California Community Colleges for use in placement.

An additional element of EAP is professional development for high school teachers and other educators to inform them about college readiness and strategies designed to prepare students for success in college.  The Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) workshop is offered to high school English teachers, and those participating have reported improved results in their students' reading and writing skills, increased student enjoyment and motivation in class, as well as improved student outcomes.

Similar professional development programs have also been created for math teachers.

For more information on EAP testing, please visit http://www.calstate.edu/eap/index.shtml

SF State is the only master's-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls more than 30,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University’s more than 180,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.




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