English Remediation Program To Be Cut
December 2, 2004 8:45 PM
On Monday, Nov. 29 the SF State Counsel for Academic Affairs had a meeting that consisted of its typical members: the deans of each college and the university provost. But this meeting was not typical. On this day English professors Helen Gillotte-Tropp and Sugie Goen also attended to present their ideas for saving the university’s remediation program, a set of classes assisting incoming freshmen in gaining proficient English course skills. The program now stands to be eliminated by fall 2006.
In 2003 approximately 49 percent of incoming freshman required remediation, far from the goal set by the California State University trustees to have 78 percent of incoming freshman proficient in English by 2004. By 2007 the goal set by the CSU is to have a 90 percent proficiency rate.
Depending on how poorly students score on the university’s English Placement Test (EPT) determines how many remedial courses they need to take before entering English 114, 214 and potentially English 414, depending upon the results of their JEPET exam.
Students who score in the lowest segment of the EPT are required to take English 48 and 51, both three-unit courses, and English 118 and 121, both one-unit courses, before they can enroll in English 114.
“There is a mandate that’s been given by the California State University Chancellor’s office that by 2007 there will no longer be remediation on the campus,” said Gillotte-Tropp.
Beginning in Fall 2006, the remediation program will no longer receive money from the campus general fund. According to Enrique Riveros-Schafer, associate vice president of academic affairs, the campus remediation program costs approximately $883,000 for the 2004/2005 fiscal year – and came entirely from general funds.
The money saved by eliminating the program will not, however, be a lost resource to the campus. The current plan is to redistribute the money to each of the colleges, potentially making up for deficiencies created by hard-hitting budget cuts, said Riveros-Schafer. Since new sources of funding for the remediation program are unlikely, English teachers, university officials and college deans are now discussing a number of alternatives to the program itself.
Gillotte-Tropp and Goen also expressed concern that remediation courses are comprised mainly of minorities and removal of the program would directly affect those students.
“If you look at the demographics of those classes,” said Daniel Smith, English composition masters student and coordinator of the English Tutoring Center, “it’s not uncommon for some of them to be composed entirely of minorities.”
Goen agreed. “If we remove remediation,” she said, “we’re removing a whole profile of students that the university professes to have a vested interest in and commitment to.”
One of the most significant alternatives to the complete removal of the remediation program is the one Gillotte-Tropp and Goen presented Nov. 29.
In 1999 Gillotte-Tropp and Goen independently arranged for a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education, part of the federal governments Department of Education. The fund provided SF State with money to help begin a program of specialized “accelerated English” courses.
“Students get through three semesters of work in two semesters and they are passing English 214 at a rate of 95 percent after two semesters (after taking the remedial courses),” said Gillotte-Tropp.
Approximately 50 percent of students requiring remediation choose to enroll in the accelerated English program. Amy Love, an English professor who teaches accelerated English courses, said that the retention rate for students in the accelerated program is much higher, and that about 70 percent complete the year of education with a grade of a B- or better.
By completing the courses at that grade level, students also qualify for completion credit for English 114, which, "puts students right on target with their peers that they started with," Love said.
Goen added that the system also saves the university money.
“What we have is a demonstrated program that if we took all students into an accelerated model we could reduce the cost (of the current remediation program) by half,” said Goen.
Riveros-Schafer added that, “We don’t know exactly how much we are going to save, but the preliminary indication is that the accelerated English program could save $200,000 to $300,000.”
But this leaves approximately $600,000 that would still need to be obtained for the program.
“We are also going to try to find out if community colleges can offer equivalent courses to the ones we have here, to provide alternatives,” Riveros-Schafer said. “It’s a plan. It’s something that has not been worked out yet.”
There is the still unanswered question of whether remedial students taking classes at a community college will be admitted to SF State to begin the rest of their curriculum before having completed those remedial courses.
“It’s clearly going to make it more difficult, and in effect impossible, for students to enroll at SF State in their freshman year,” said Smith. “As I understand it, they’ll have to make up comparable classes before they can start attending classes here.”
A third option being discussed is to have all remediation courses provided by the College of Extended Learning, said Riveros-Schafer. The concern here is that courses taken through the CEL program are typically much more expensive.
"Of course we would be concerned about the students being able to pay for it,” said CEL Dean Gail Whitaker. “So we would investigate what we might have to charge so it would be as affordable as possible for students."
If the standard fees for CEL were not significantly lowered for remediation courses, however, this option could disproportionately affect minorities at SF State.
Efforts to ease the remediation problem have also been taken by CSU in collaboration with the California State Board of Education and the California Department of Education. In Spring 2004, the university system began two new programs to address the issue at the high school level. One of the programs, titled the Early Assessment Program (EAP), assists 11th grade students by incorporating college level standards for English into tests at the high school level.
This program will assess which students need further education to meet CSU entry-level English standards. Those that require further assistance will be given specialized activities during their senior year of high school. The program also provides professional development for teachers at the high schools.
According to JoAnn Aguirre, Associate Director of Academic Outreach for the CSU, each campus received a total of $100,000 for the 03/04 academic year to fund that program. Most of that funding supports salary and benefits for a program coordinator and $20,000 of it supports administrative costs to work with local high schools.
Kathy Munderloh, Program coordinator at SF State, was unavailable for comment before deadline.
Gillotte-Tropp and Goen will meet next with SF State’s Academic Senate, and a final plan is expected in Spring 2005.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University