Campus: CSU, Bakersfield -- November 18, 1999

$766,609 Grant Awarded to CSUB for KEP Program

A $766,609 grant to expand efforts to reduce the number of students in six Kern County high schools who need remedial education has been awarded to California State University, Bakersfield.

The grant is part of $9 million in grants awarded by the California State University to 18 CSU campuses to partner with high schools that send the CSU the most students in need of remediation in English or mathematics. The CSU Chancellor's Office allocated the outreach funds, which are from the system's 1999/00 budget.

The six Kern County high schools with which CSUB is partnering in the Kern Educational Partnership, or KEP, program are Arvin, Centennial, Ridgeview, Stockdale, Wasco and West.

"We're very excited about this new, precedent-setting partnership with our colleagues in these high schools," said James George, vice president for undergraduate studies at CSUB. "We want to make a difference for students and their future. We want parents to know that the CSU and CSUB are doing all we can to help their children get to college and be successful once they are there. We want to increase the likelihood of success of these students in higher education."

Each CSU campus receiving funds has committed English and mathematics faculty members to work regularly with faculty at partner high schools. They will provide trained CSU student tutors who will work with high school students to strengthen their basic English and mathematics proficiency skills. The CSUB faculty members who will be working with the high schools are math professors Jorgen Berglund and Joe Fiedler; and English professors Kim Flachmann and Monica Ayuso-Ventimiglia.

Other criteria for funding include explaining how high schools' content standards align with CSU expectations; committing university faculty to meet with high school teachers at least five hours a week for 30 weeks; and developing a quantitative assessment of the reduced need for remediation.

The KEP program will:

  • Initiate a "College-Bound Academy" at each of the six area high schools. "We want to attract 1,800 students from the six campuses to effectively prepare them during their high school career to enter a four-year university," George said. Each participating student will have a personalized program titled Preparation for College during their four years in high school.

  • Provide inservice training for high school teachers to clarify and align CSU and school standards.

  • Develop more effective English and mathematics teaching methods.

  • Administer and interpret diagnostic testing.

  • Identify and share the best teaching practices, and develop on-site, short-term courses at high schools.

The funding also will increase the number of CSUB students tutoring in high schools, especially those considering teaching as a career.

"We hope these programs will make a significant difference in reducing the need for remedial education for incoming CSU freshmen by ensuring they acquire basic English and math skills before graduating from high school. It's critical that students acquire these basic skills as early as possible or they are likely to struggle for years," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "The K-12 system can't do it alone, and neither can the CSU. The only way to help these students is for the K-12 and CSU systems to work together for the good of the students and the future of California."

The funding is part of the CSU plan to reduce the need for remediation among incoming freshmen. Last fall 54 percent of entering CSU freshmen needed remediation in math and 47 percent needed it in English. At CSUB, the figures were 52 percent who needed remediation in math, and 48 percent in English.

Nearly four years ago, CSU Trustees instituted a policy designed to reduce the number of incoming students requiring remedial education both in English and mathematics to no more than 10 percent by 2007. Since then, the CSU has identified 223 schools throughout the state that send the system the highest number students in need of remedial education, and is concentrating efforts at those schools.

The Master Plan for Higher Education calls for the CSU to accept the top third of all high school graduates. All these regularly admitted students earn the equivalent of at least a B average in high school and complete four years of high school English and three years of mathematics.

Last fall, incoming CSU freshmen were informed that they needed to show proficiency before their sophomore year or face disenrollment.

Some other CSU initiatives to reduce the need for remedial education include:

  • Providing more summer remedial education programs.

  • Providing early assessment after university admission and before enrollment to help ensure that those who need remedial education receive it during their first term of enrollment.

  • Strengthening teacher preparation.

  • Setting clear standards and assessing performance to ensure students meet high school graduation and university admission requirements.

  • Communicating university competence standards and expectations to students, parents and schools.

  • Informing high schools and community colleges about student performance after the first year of attendance at the CSU, so they can evaluate their success.

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