Regional Schools Successful at Improving College Readiness through Early Assessment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 04-23-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
530-898-4260
Sarah Pape, coordinator
Early Assessment Program
530-898-4865

With funds from the statewide Early Assessment Program, the EAP program at California State University, Chico has helped local and regional schools lower remediation rates of incoming freshmen in math and English. Nine Schools in CSU, Chico’s service area, which stretches from Yuba County to the Oregon border, are being recognized for their students’ improved achievement on the 2008 STAR test (the standard California achievement test administered to all juniors).

EAP is part of a statewide effort to prepare freshmen entering the CSUs to tackle college-level work. In a recently published five-year evaluation of the program, researchers from UC Davis and Sacramento State found a six-percentage point drop since 2004 in the number of entering Sacramento State freshmen who need remedial English, and a four-percentage point drop in those who need extra classes in math.

Similar gains for students have been posted in the Northern California region. A key component of EAP is 15 extra questions and an essay that augment the STAR test in the junior year. A student’s performance on the test allows EAP staff and teachers to gauge the college readiness of the student. The information either grants individual students an exemption from the ELM/EPT upon entry into the CSU or indicates if a student needs additional guidance in the senior year.

“The Early Assessment Program works to bridge the disconnect between high school and college expectations,” said Sarah Pape, program coordinator. “Our program hinges on communication between all those invested in student success—administrators, counselors, teachers, students and their parents. It’s not just about a test; it’s what we do with that information to support a college-ready culture within each school.”

While the EAP is voluntary, in spring 2008, 79 percent of all California high school juniors took the EAP in English and 70 percent took the EAP in mathematics. That participation gives the clearest picture of a school’s EAP performance. All juniors are eligible to take the English portion of the test, and all students enrolled in Algebra 2 or above can take the math portion.

Another way to evaluate a high school’s college-going culture is to look at how many seniors are graduating having met the UC “a-g” subject requirements. The “a-g” subjects are history/social science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English, visual and performing arts, and college-preparatory electives. The statewide target is that 33 percent of graduating seniors should fulfill this requirement.

EAP is recognizing the following schools for the following areas of achievement.

Highest Overall

• Pleasant Valley High School: highest exemption rate in math: 78%. PVHS sent 55 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Shasta High School: highest exemption rate in English: 37%. SHS sent 32 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Foothill High School: highest participation rate in math, 95%. FHS sent 32 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Yuba High School: highest participation rate in English, 100%. YHS sent 62 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Chico High School: highest percentage of graduating seniors fulfilling “a-g” requirements, 45%. CHS sent 76 students to the CSU in 2007.

Most Improved

• Live Oak High School: most improved exemption rate in English, from 6% to 12%. LOHS sent 12 students to the CSU in 2007. Live Oak also was the most improved in the number of seniors fulfilling “a-g” requirements, from 23% to 31%.

• Orland High School: most improved exemption rate in math, from 38% to 60%. OHS sent 29 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Las Plumas High School: most improved participation rate in English, from 44% to 93%. LPHS sent 28 students to the CSU in 2007.

• Red Bluff High School: most improved participation rate in math, from 75% to 89%. RBHS sent 37 students to the CSU in 2007.

If you have any questions about these numbers or would like to know how another school in your area is doing, please contact Sarah Pape, EAP coordinator, at (530) 898-4865 or spape@csuchico.edu, or Mark Wilpolt, EAP math coordinator, at (530) 898-5789 or mwilpolt@csuchico.edu.

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