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More 11th Graders Take Test to Get ‘Early Signal’ of College Readiness
(September 20, 2006) – The number of California 11th-graders who volunteered to take the California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) test of college readiness showed an increase in 2006, and will help more students to be better prepared for the rigors of college-level work.
In Spring 2006, 134,000 (72 percent) of all eligible high school juniors took the mathematics EAP test with slightly more than 55 percent scored as proficient. Proficient is defined as being ready for college level mathematics. Approximately 15,000 more students volunteered to take the math test in 2006 than in 2005, resulting in a slight drop in proficiency (from 56 percent to 55 percent) due to the significant increase in the number of students electing to complete the voluntary test.
About 158,000 (38 percent) of eligible high school juniors completed the EAP in English, which requires students to complete an additional 15 objective questions and to write an essay that is read by CSU faculty. Of these students, 25 percent were proficient. However, an additional 60,000 EAP English tests were not scored due to some confusion concerning test instructions. The essays for the remaining students will be read by CSU faculty with scores sent to those students in October.
“The strength of the EAP is that is provides those students who want to enter the California State University as first-time freshmen with an early indication whether they are ready to succeed at the college level,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “If they show proficiency early via the EAP assessment they will be exempt from the CSU math and English placement tests upon their entry to a CSU campus. The students who are not ready for college level work can take classes in their senior year to improve and strengthen their skills.”
The Early Assessment Program was developed by the California State University system in partnership with the state’s public schools and state Board of Education. The EAP is a voluntary assessment that is incorporated into the California Standards Test, and provides an “early signal” to let students know in the 11th grade if they need to do additional work in their senior year to get up to speed in English and math.
Students who complete the EAP receive a score report that indicates whether they are on track to be ready for college or whether they need additional coursework in 12th grade in English and math. This information allows students to take needed steps in 12th grade to strengthen their skills by taking a fourth year of math, enrolling in an English class that incorporates the 12th grade Expository Reading and Writing course developed by the CSU or working independently on the CSU’s English and math success websites. CSU offers a Mathematical Diagnostic Test and an English Success diagnostic test, which aid students in their preparation for college-level courses. Those can be accessed at www.csumathsuccess.org and www.csuenglishsuccess.org.
The California State University is leading the country in the assessment of students prior to entering college by aligning its expectations of first-time freshmen with state board standards. The EAP was developed as part of the CSU’s effort to reduce the large number of students who meet CSU’s admission requirements, but need remedial education in math and English when they arrive on CSU campuses. Although CSU is making some progress in math (64 percent of CSU’s freshmen were proficient in fall 2005), proficiency in English has hovered around 55 percent for several years.
The CSU has partnered with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell and the state Board of Education to strengthen the senior year of high school by developing new courses and providing professional development for K-12 teachers. A key component of the Early Assessment Program focuses on facilitating professional development for K-12 teachers by preparing them to teach expository, analytical and argumentative reading and writing. It also prepares teachers to align 12th grade math instruction with CSU’s expectations for entry-level students.
The EAP was initiated in 2004 and the number of students volunteering to take the test has steadily risen each year. It is expected that as more students take steps to ensure they are college ready in math and English that fewer students may need remediation when they arrive on campus.
“The EAP helps California students move along the path to achieve a baccalaureate degree by preparing them for the rigors of college and the skills necessary to be successful in the workforce,” said Reed.
2006 Test Results
More information on the EAP program and test results is available on the Internet at http://www.calstate.edu/eap/.
Last Updated: September 20, 2006