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Cal State will no longer require placement exams and remedial classes for freshmen

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,732 Senior Member
"Cal State plans to drop placement exams in math and English as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall — a radical move away from the way public universities traditionally support students who come to college less prepared than their peers.

In an executive order issued late Wednesday, Chancellor Timothy P. White directed the nation’s largest public university system to revamp its approach to remedial education and assess new freshmen for college readiness and course placement by using high school grades, ACT and SAT scores, previous classroom performance and other measures that administrators say provide a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of students’ knowledge." ...

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-remedial-requirements-20170803-story.html

Replies to: Cal State will no longer require placement exams and remedial classes for freshmen

  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    I foresaw this in 2015 when students in California began to be allowed to graduate without passing the high school exit exam. The exam tested English standards at the 10th grade level and math at the 7th and 8th grade level, but some students could not pass it even though they were given multiple attempts. The decision was made to get rid of the exam so that students who had offers with UC and Cal State could matriculate. High school diplomas were also retroactively granted to students who had been unable to pass the exit exam in previous years.
  • AMCdadAMCdad Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    The elimination of the High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) was due to a switch from California State Standards to Common Core Standards. The test was no longer aligned. Very few students who were A-G qualified were failing the Exit Exam. At the high school where I work the student population speaks 25 different languages, has no ethnicity above 25% and has 70% of the students on free/reduced lunch We typically had two or thee students who did not eventually pass the CAHSEE. That's out of graduating classes of more than 500 students. Almost every one of the non-passing students had an IEP or was a recent immigrant to the United States. Our first attempt pass rates in both Math and English were above 80%.

    Additionally, there was no real push to spend the money to revamp the CAHSEE because the new Common Core testing (SBAC) had built in college placement qualifiers in it. The CAHSEE had none of that, but cost a lot of money to write, maintain, and administer. It was kind of pointless because so many students passed it without it having any real evaluative capacity other than meeting minimal standards of literacy.

    Basically, I don't think there is much of a connection between dropping the CAHSEE and dropping remedial classes. Between SAT, ACT, and SBAC scores, colleges can still target students who are below the remediation threshold and provide support services in a different manner. The CAHSEE would have been useless in that regard.

  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    Between 2006 and 2015, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 students could not pass the test by the end of their senior year.

    https://edsource.org/2016/high-school-diplomas-at-last-for-students-who-failed-exit-exam/562146
    The elimination of the High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) was due to a switch from California State Standards to Common Core Standards. The test was no longer aligned.

    Aligned or not, surely students who graduate high school should be able to pass an exam that tests at the level of 10th grade English and 8th grade Math.
    Between SAT, ACT, and SBAC scores, colleges can still target students who are below the remediation threshold and provide support services in a different manner.

    Cal State is no longer targeting them for remediation.

  • AMCdadAMCdad Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    Your numbers support what I said. 40,000 students in ten years is about 4,000 students a year at more than 1,300 public high schools. There are nearly two million students in high school at a given time. Seniors will be about one quarter or one fifth of that. Call it 400,000.

    The article stated that remediation will be offered in a different manner. I'm just going by what it said.

    I'm not looking for an argument. Just pointing out that there probably isn't much connection between the elimination of the exit exam and the elimination of remedial courses. Not a big deal.
  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    Yes, but the 40,000 potential students were retroactively mailed their diplomas in 2016 despite not passing the CAHSEE. That's a pretty big group of people now eligible to apply to college. I see it more as a tipping point scenario. When you have a large enough group of students who need remediation and are holding up graduation rates the temptation is to drop standards to let them through. This is what we have seen with the LA Unified School district and their credit recovery online courses to raise graduation rates.
    I'm not looking for an argument either, one of the things I like about CC is that people can have different points of view and discuss them without rancor.
  • AMCdadAMCdad Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    Like I said previously, most students who didn't pass the CAHSEE were not A-G qualified anyway. They were not going to be applying to four year universities. I have no idea where to find that percentage, but I would be shocked if it were a double digit percentage. I teach in a school district with 60,000+ students. Nine traditional high schools, plus several continuation schools. If there were a large portion of kids missing out on college because they couldn't pass the CAHSEE, we would have heard about it. As it is, most schools only had a handful who couldn't pass. It was an easy test. Additionally, anyone who graduated before 2013 probably isn't going to suddenly apply to college using their high school transcript. They would be in their 20's and would either have already enrolled in CC classes or moved on to other job opportunities.

    The main point I'm making, really the only point, is that there is probably not much correlation between dropping the CAHSEE and dropping remedial classes. It's more coincidence than anything else.
  • tangentlinetangentline Registered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    Anyhow, this is good news. Remedial classes slowed everything down and in my opinion, make the CSUs look bad... (This is a good topic for discussion with others on social media but this is Collegeconfidential and CSU and remedial courses :P)
  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    I have no idea where to find that percentage

    I agree with this, however here is what we do know. At Cal State, about 40% of freshmen each year are considered not ready for college-level work. Obviously there must be schools in the state with significant grade inflation in their A-G courses. Previously students had an incentive to study in order to pass the CAHSEE but now this hurdle has been removed. Standardized tests are not filtering out students in need of remediation perhaps due to the eligibility in the local context admissions. Cal State has reached the tipping point where it's easier to lower the bar in order to achieve their commitment to double graduation rates by 2025. Remedial classes may "slow everything down" and make "CSUs look bad" but scrapping them to hide reality does not help the students.
  • tangentlinetangentline Registered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    At least the engineers still have to take Calculus and everyone still has to take two semesters of English and a writing intensive for my concerns. It's not like the standards are entirely lowered. Perhaps it's better to give the normal classes a shot and retake if necessary and put less resources on the remedial classes that don't push someone towards graduation.
  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    Perhaps it's better to give the normal classes a shot and retake if necessary
    The whole point of the remedial classes is to get students up to the standard to take the regular class. Having people take and retake the regular class does not speed them up towards graduation, but rather takes space from other students who are prepared for the work. Dropping standards in the regular class so that everyone can pass only devalues the degree for all.
  • AMCdadAMCdad Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    I don't think that the article was talking about dropping standards. It seemed that it was talking about doing things differently. Unfortunately, there were very few specifics about how and no guarantees that anything new will work.

    One thing they did mention was "stretch" classes. I'm assuming that the students would be in a class that offers both remediation AND credit by having the class be longer in either hours or in terms. We run something similar in high school. A student is concurrently enrolled in two classes, one of which is on the A-G graduation track and the other is scaffolding/support which is just general elective units. Each term the students gets half credit for one class and half for the other. They take it over four terms (Block Schedule) instead of two terms like regular A-G.

    That's just one idea. There are probably a dozen more. You're right in that you can't lower the standards without cheapening EVERYBODY'S degree. However, there is more than one way to skin the remediation cat. That's what I took from the article. Hopefully, they'll come up with something better sooner rather than later.
  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl Registered User Posts: 883 Member
    Hopefully, they'll come up with something better sooner rather than later.

    Honestly I hope so too. Having seen what LA Unified has done to increase graduation rates I'm not confident, but we'll have to wait and see if the Cal State system will be transparent about what they do. A sudden dramatic increase in graduation rates will raise a red flag IMO.
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 669 Member
    Georgia did the same thing: regarding graduation tests.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,843 Senior Member
    The general idea is to have students take a 3-credit class for 5 credits, with two credits for support. It also decreases the number of classes a student needs to be considered full time (2*5cr classes + one regular 3-credit class= full time / convert for quarter systems) so that they can fully focus on their points of weakness.
This discussion has been closed.