CSU, Chico News

University’s Early Assessment Program Gearing Up for North State’s STAR Testing

Date: 03-13-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

For local high schools, spring brings STAR (Standardized Reporting and Testing). One program at California State University, Chico is especially concerned with students’ testing participation. The Early Assessment Program (EAP), a collaborative effort among the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education and the California State University (CSU), was established to provide opportunities for students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their junior year of high school by adding an augmented portion to the STAR test.

This year, the essay portion of the test will be administered throughout March, a month earlier than in previous years. Students, parents and site testing coordinators should be made aware of this change in order to ensure student participation.

The junior who takes the extra test questions and essay and scores high enough will earn an "exemption," which translates to bypassing the CSU’s entry-level proficiency tests: the Entry Level Mathematics test and the English Placement Test.

The first step in earning an exemption is simply to fill in the bubble indicating the choice to take the extra questions. This is the first message that the EAP relays to school counselors, teachers and administrators-fill in the bubble, take a little extra time and the outcome might save the student from additional tests and possible remediation once at the CSU. The English portion is offered to all juniors, and the math is offered to those who are taking Algebra II and above.

Students who do not earn an exemption can take these results, not as a failure, but as an indicator of the need for further college preparation in the senior year. In English, this comes in the form of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), curriculum that was designed to prepare students for college-level English and is aligned with the California English-Language Arts Content Standards.

Mark Wilpolt, mathematics coordinator for the EAP, says, "Students are strongly encouraged to continue studying mathematics in their senior year. Extensive research shows that those high school students who take a math class past Algebra II more than double their chances of succeeding in college."

If you are a parent, teacher or administrator interested in knowing more about the Early Assessment Program, contact Mark Wilpolt, EAP mathematics coordinator, at 898-5063, or Sarah Pape, EAP English coordinator at 898-4494, or visit the Web site.