Opposition to Impending Implementation of Mandatory
Early Start Programs


RESOLVED: The Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) recognizes the value of diverse campus approaches to moving fully qualified first-time freshmen (FTF) who require additional skill acquisition (remediation) in English or mathematics to achieve proficiency either prior to, or during, their first year of enrollment; and be it further,

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU oppose the implementation of “early start” programs as a pre-condition for enrollment at any CSU campus until such time as a number of concerns, including but not limited to:

  • the (1) unilateral implementation by campuses which are “already moving toward requiring”1 FTF to engage in remediation and (2) doing so prior to Fall 2009 enrollment;
  • the legality of denying admission to fully qualified FTF;
  • the limitation of access to economically disadvantaged students;
  • the financial aid implications for students;
  • the potential hardship for out-of-area students;
  • the shift of mandatory instruction to a non-traditional instructional session;
  • the presumed desirability of identifying a single or limited number of “early start” programs for the CSU system;
  • the paucity of evidence-based, longitudinal data on the effectiveness and social impact of “early start” programs;

are addressed in the context of shared governance at both the local and systemwide levels; and be it further,

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the CSU Board of Trustees, the CSU Office of the Chancellor, and campuses of the CSU, to explore other means to improve FTF proficiency, including but not limited to Directed Self Placement and credit-bearing stretch courses; and be it further,

RESOLVED: That this resolution be sent to the following CSU entities: the Board of Trustees, the Office of the Chancellor, campus Presidents, Provosts and Senate Chairs, the Chair of the English Council of the CSU, and the Chair of the Mathematics Council of the CSU.

1 Committee on Educational Policy. “Proficiency in English and Mathematics Before the First Year.” Board of Trustees Agenda Item 3, May 12-13, 2009: p. 2 of 2.

RATIONALE: The Board of Trustees of the CSU has an on-going commitment to require all fully eligible and admitted First Time Freshmen (FTF) to demonstrate college level proficiency in both English and mathematics no later than the end of their freshman year. The CSU has achieved this goal to a roughly 85% compliance rate but continues to seek more efficient approaches and identify best practices to assist students in their efforts.

Faculty leadership has led campuses to invest in a number of “early start” programs to assist students in their efforts to demonstrate proficiency before the start of their freshman year. However, Agenda Item 3 of the Committee on Education Policy for the Board of Trustees’ May 12-13, 2009 meeting features a resolution focusing on “Proficiency in English and Mathematics Before the First Year.” The resolution authorizes the pilot testing of “early start” programs, including those considering mandatory involvement of FTF students anticipating matriculation in the fall of 2009, who have not demonstrated readiness for college work in either mathematics or English, or both. The resolution requires the CSU, by March of 2010, to use the reported results of these pilot tests to establish policies requiring a full-scale implementation of such pre-matriculation programs with a timetable throughout the CSU.


Approved – May 7-8, 2009

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