Support for the Content Standards in
English for High School Graduates

AS-2354-97/AA - January 23-24, 1997

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University endorse the Introduction and English Content Standards as presented in the report, Content Standards in English and Mathematics for High School Graduates (February 1997, pp. 43-61); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU commend the Task Force on English Graduation Standards for its cooperative spirit and its involvement of representatives from the four segments of California education as well as community representatives and for developing the Content Standards in English for High School Graduates; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU understand that "Samples of Student Work and Commentary to Accompany the Content Standards in English" (pp.62-86) are intended solely as illustrative and not as approved assessment instruments for use by the forthcoming California Education Round Table committee to develop performance standards (p. 45), and is concerned that the forthcoming performance standards committee should be sensitive to the cultural implications of both the student samples and the commentary on them; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU emphasize the conclusion of the Task Force that "Ensuring that students are able to meet these higher content standards will require a substantial commitment from all those associated with education" (p. 48), and will especially require substantial resource commitments from the level of the Governor and Legislature on down, and urge the forthcoming performance standard committee to specify the resource implications of their recommendations.

RATIONALE: The California Education Round Table (CERT), composed of leaders of education in California, has called for a consensus on standards of knowledge and skill in English and mathematics which all students should demonstrate by the time they have completed their secondary education. Toward that end, CERT, acting through the Intersegmental Coordinating Committee, appointed two task forces considered to be representative of the interests of parents, the community, business, teachers, administrators, and faculty members from higher education. The task forces were charged with presenting standards for high school graduation. CERT anticipates that the implementation of these standards will reduce or eliminate the need for remedial instruction in English, both in the workplace and in post-secondary education. Further, the high school graduation standards in English are proposed as meeting college and university entrance requirements in that subject.

The Academic Senate CSU recognizes there is a serious problem in California regarding the readiness of high school graduates to undertake college-level work in English. Recent data indicate that between 42 and 48 percent of all entering CSU freshmen, and between 37 and 43 percent of all regularly admitted CSU freshmen, are not prepared for instruction in college-level English. The development of consistent high school graduation standards in English represents an important step in addressing this situation.

The Academic Senate CSU is concerned that the forthcoming performance standards committee should be sensitive to the cultural implications of both the student samples and the commentary on them. In "Samples of Student Work and Commentary to Accompany the Content Standards in English" (pp. 62-86), for example, the commentary on Student Work Sample #14 (p. 86) includes the statement that the "student writes with a personal, nonlinear style that reflects the culture and style of speaking and writing in the student’s native language," which could be interpreted as stating that the Mexican culture and/or the Spanish language are inherently personal and nonlinear. By contrast, the commentary on Student Work Sample #9 (p.76) provides a more culturally sensitive analysis of a work by a student whose primary language is also Spanish.

APPROVED WITHOUT DISSENT -- January 23-24, 1997



 
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