Camarillo, Calif., Jan. 27, 2011 – As part of a concerted effort to create an academically college-ready population, CSU Channel Islands (CI) has implemented a number of programs to help students get up to speed academically by the time they start classes their freshman year.  The two key components are the Early Start Program and the CSU’s ground breaking Early Assessment Program, both of which have the potential to dramatically decrease the need for remediation during a student’s university experience. 

In March 2010, CSU trustees adopted the “Early Start” policy to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter the CSU as incoming freshmen.  Remediation at the college level is not only extremely costly but often results in students falling behind their classmates as they attempt to complete degree requirements. Since its adoption by the trustees, each of the 23 CSU campuses has been working to develop individual Early Start campus plans.

Dr. Renny Christopher, Associate Provost, said, “As a new campus, CI had an opportunity to develop some extremely innovative programs for freshman writing that have greatly helped new students reach desired levels in language skills, so we’ve been successful in our efforts in this area since even before this new initiative.” 

Dr. Robert Bleicher, Professor of Education and Director of CI’s Early Assessment Program (EAP), stated that in the eight years that the program has been in place, both math and English tests have shown overall, countywide improvement. The EAP is a voluntary part of the California Standards Test (CST). “We give the assessment test to students in the 11th grade to determine where they stand academically in both math and English.”

Students who are not college ready in English can take the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), developed by the CSU, their senior year in high school, which qualifies as an A to G college preparatory course. Those not ready in math can take during their senior year the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) online module to enhance their math skills.  Last year, three high schools and this year 12 of the 26 high schools in the CI early assessment service area adopted the course in English or math or both. 

Bleicher also mentioned that CI offers professional development programs in both English and math to high school teachers and other educators, on a district by district basis, to inform them about college readiness and strategies designed to prepare students for success in college. 

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.