Campus: CSU -- November 22, 1999

More Than 79 Percent Of CSU Remedial Education Students Become Proficient In First Year

Seven Percent Are Disenrolled Until They Are Ready

Over a year ago, the California State University strongly encouraged incoming freshmen to obtain the remedial assistance they needed in their first year at the CSU or face disenrollment. The students listened. About 79 percent of incoming fall 1998 freshmen needing remedial education became proficient in English and mathematics prior to their sophomore year. An additional 7 percent were granted temporary exceptions on a case-by-case basis, and 7 percent were asked to seek assistance at a community college before returning to the CSU. An additional 7 percent left the CSU for other reasons.

The announcement was made today (Nov. 17) at a meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees. Campus specific figures are still being verified and will be available next week.

Altogether 19,237 fall 1998 incoming freshmen needed remedial education, and 15,240 got the assistance they needed in the first year. Another 1,298 were given exceptions, and 1,440 were disenrolled until they could show proficiency in English and math.

"This is great news for the CSU, for the state and for the students themselves," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "We are still working very hard with the high schools to see that these students are ready for college when they graduate, but if they are not, it is essential for them to get this assistance as soon as possible. Once they get the basics down, they can dedicate more quality time to getting their degrees. Our universities should be commended for making this a top priority and following through with additional opportunities for students to obtain remedial education."

In fall 1998, 54 percent of entering CSU freshmen needed remediation in math, and 47 percent needed it in English. Over a year ago, these students were informed that they needed to show proficiency before their sophomore year or face disenrollment.

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.

The CSU goal goes beyond just getting students the help they need in their first year. Recently, the CSU system allocated $9 million to campuses to establish or expand efforts to reduce the number of students who need remedial education. Those campuses will provide trained CSU student tutors who will work with high school students to strengthen their basic English and mathematics proficiency skills; provide inservice training for high school teachers to clarify and align CSU and school standards; develop more effective English and mathematics teaching methods; and administer and interpret diagnostic testing.

"About 98 percent of CSU students come from California schools. To improve the CSU and California public education, we need to work in unison with K-12 system to make sure incoming freshmen are ready for college level work," said CSU Trustee Denny Campbell, chair of the Board's Committee on Educational Policy. These programs will go a long way toward meeting that goal."

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 recent $9 million allocations is being directed to those schools.

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.

The percentage of incoming freshmen needing remediation for fall 1999 will be available systemwide and by campus in March.

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