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Points of Interest

College-Ready Students in Developmental Math

This Points of Interest shows that despite successfully completing a supplemental math section of the CST, signaling college readiness, students were placed in developmental math courses in community college.
June 17, 2020
Vilan Odekar
Tags: Accurate Placement, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., Transfer and Course Applicability

One indicator of a high school student’s college readiness in math is state standardized math tests. The California State University (CSU) developed the Early Assessment Program (EAP) for that purpose. If an applicant successfully completes the supplemental EAP math section of the California Standards Test (CST) and enrolls in CSU, the student receives a developmental math waiver and can enroll directly in a gateway math course. The EAP results are also accepted by some California community colleges.

A study of 100,000 high school graduates in California who had completed the supplemental EAP math section of the CST shows that not all of them avoided developmental math courses once enrolled in community college. A full 25% of the students were placed in developmental math courses – arithmetic, pre-algebra, and algebra 1 - in community college. The study’s authors note that “[h]ad these students chosen to attend a CSU instead of a community college, they would have been exempt from developmental education courses and bypassed those lower-level math courses altogether.” This Points of Interest shows that despite successfully completing a supplemental math section of the CST, signaling college readiness, students were placed in developmental math courses in community college.