California State University System Ending Placement Testing

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The California State University System (CSU) has announced that it will be ending placement testing and remedial classes starting in the fall of 2018. California’s public university system is responsible for educating close to 500,000 students across 23 campuses in the state. An estimated 1 in 10 people in California has a degree from the CSU and over half of the undergraduate degrees in the state have come from the CSU. So efforts to support the student population as a whole make sense.

CSU is attempting to increase graduation rates with these new changes. Students in the system have also complained that taking remedial classes makes getting their degrees take longer. These classes don’t count towards a degree. CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White issued an executive order to all campus Presidents mandating the change in policy.

Starting in the fall of 2018, scores from SAT, ACT, and International Baccalaureates will be used alongside a student’s grades to place them in classes. These tools are often a more accurate representation of what a student is capable of. 40 percent of students which equals to 25,0000 incoming freshmen take remedial classes that don’t count towards their degree. By getting rid of these requirements, the CSU hopes to address the issue of college readiness in high schools and narrow the achievement gap.

At present, 20 percent of students finish their undergraduate degree in 4 years. The CSU wants to get that rate up to 40% by the year 2025. Known as Graduation Initiative 2025 its goal is to graduate 500,000 more students by that year.

It’s not just the delay in time that has made the CSU 4-year graduation rate less than a quarter. Money has also played a role. Students placed in remedial courses have to pay for them and this had led to some dropping out of school. Other students left school due to pure frustration.

Under the new rules, all students will take college level courses from the beginning. The CSU hopes that it will spread the message that the system wants to do everything it can to help students succeed. Extra support on campuses will also be offered to make getting through college an easier process. CSU offers what is called an “early start” program. It allows entering freshman to take courses for college credit over the summer. The program will be continued and strengthened over the coming years as these new rulings take affect in 2019.

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