California State University set to scrap placement tests




California State University’s placement tests are set to become a thing of the past.

The chancellor’s office wants to evaluate whether students are ready for college by using markers like high school grades and SAT or ACT scores instead of the English and math placement tests that have long been the standard. The central office sent the draft executive order, obtained by the Bay Area News Group, to presidents of the system’s 23 campuses this week for feedback.

The move might thrill high schoolers but it worries some faculty who are concerned it could lower standards and bog down ongoing efforts to graduate more students in four years if they struggle to succeed in credit-bearing courses.

But the chancellor’s office says the opposite is true. Right now, almost 40 percent of admitted freshmen have to take remedial classes that cost money but don’t count toward a college degree. If more students can go directly into courses for credit, they can graduate in less time.

By 2025, the system wants 40 percent of freshmen to earn a degree in four years, but only about 20 percent currently graduate on time, meaning there’s a long way to go.

The executive order would direct campuses to create so-called “stretch” courses for such students, which would give them credit but also more time with instructors and extra support. It would also expand a summer prep course for students who aren’t ready for college English and math.

That prep course already exists at San Jose…

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