Chancellor’s executive order brings change to remedial classes


Kelly Smiley

Anthropology senior Ricardo Betancourt studies in the library.

by Will Fritz, News Editor

The California State University system will be making sweeping changes to the way it handles incoming freshmen who do not meet college-level English and math standards.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White signed an executive order Aug. 2 mandating that the 23-campus system do away with non-credit remedial coursework and stop offering English and math placement tests.

CSU students who are assigned to Early Start or remedial classes based on Early Assessment Program test results – taken during a student’s junior year of high school – will get credit for the courses, which will be college-level and supplemented by support services to help students succeed, CSU public affairs manager Elizabeth Chapin said in an email.

Students in need of academic support in English or math will be offered a one-unit remedial class, to be taken alongside a general education course. The Early Start Program, which offers remedial classes during the summer prior to a student’s first semester, will also begin offering credit-based classes concurrently with general education classes.

Changes to ordinary remedial classes will be implemented fall 2018, while changes to the Early Start Program will be complete by fall 2019, but universities may offer “pilot” credit-bearing classes before that.

Campuses will be required to offer enough credit-bearing remedial courses to meet demand.

The chancellor’s office said the purpose of the order is to ensure all students have a shot at graduating on schedule. Often, students who are forced to take non-credit remedial classes need extra time to finish school.

“Statistics show that being assigned to remedial courses based on placement exams has a negative impact on a student’s credit accumulation in the first year, decreasing the likelihood that they persevere through college and earn a degree,” Chapin said. “Instead, students’ preparation in these areas will be assessed using a more holistic approach including high school GPA and test scores.”

The changes will increase the credits students earn in the first year and ultimately make college more affordable, Chapin said.

“The California State University is committed to helping all students admitted to a CSU campus achieve their academic goals by allowing them to earn college credit beginning their very first day of class,” said Loren Blanchard, CSU’s executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. “This suite of changes maintains the quality and rigor of the CSU while enabling tens of thousands of students to get needed academic support while progressing toward their degree.”