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California's Eleventh Graders Demonstrate Significant Increases in
Math and English Proficiency

Review of six years of data reveals sizeable increases in proficiency

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(September 12, 2011) – California's high school juniors have made marked increases in their level of proficiency in both math and English based on a cumulative review of Early Assessment Program (EAP) testing results, the California State University announced today. 

With six years (2006-2011) of complete testing data available, analysis of results led to key findings including:

  • A 10 percentage-point increase in the number of students who have completed Algebra II or higher (a requirement to take the EAP), as well as an increase in the pool of proficient students.
  • An increase of 70,000 students participating in the English portion of the test with a 7 percentage-point increase in proficiency.

Both participation rates and proficiency have increased since the EAP was first administered.  The number of students participating in the voluntary assessment has increased by 68,000 to more than 385,000 statewide.  That represents 81% of all juniors enrolled in public high schools in the state. 

Overall, the number of students participating in the math portion increased from just over 137,000 to almost 191,000.  Although the math proficiency rate remains relatively low (15%, up from 12%), the significance is in the number of students who are eligible to take the EAP in math.  Students must be enrolled or have completed Algebra II or higher to even qualify to sit for the test.

"These results indicate that students are hearing the message about the importance of taking algebra since it is the critical link to college readiness," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

In English, the number of students participating rose from 312,167 to almost 383,000 (a participation rate of 86% of all juniors), while the number of students gauged as college ready increased from 48,072 (15%) to 85,506 (22%).

"The EAP testing is a tremendous tool for high school juniors to give them a signal about whether they are ready for college level courses," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.  "The gains made in both math and English are very encouraging, and reflect the hard work of students, teachers and administrators."

Traditionally, students whose EAP scores deem them ready for college place in the upper eighth of graduating seniors who enroll at the University of California or other more selective universities.  As the pool of proficient students grow, CSU anticipates more will begin to enroll as first-time freshmen at CSU campuses starting in fall 2012. 

"We know that the better prepared students are when they come to our campuses, the more successful they will be in achieving their goal of a college degree," added Reed.

EAP Math
The number of public high school juniors completing Algebra II or above increased from 44% in 2006 to 54% in 2011.  Enrollment in or completion of Algebra II is necessary for students to participate in EAP math testing.  While the proficiency rate has increased by a modest 3 percentage-points, the number of students ready for college-level math has increased from 16,120 to 29,525. 

EAP English
Participation in EAP English testing is up to 86% statewide.  Proficiency rates are up to 22%, and there were 85,506 students demonstrating college readiness in 2011.

Background
The EAP is a collaborative effort between the CSU, California Department of Education, and the California State Board of Education. The goal is to ensure that the state's college-bound high school seniors are college ready and have mastered the content skills in English and mathematics taught by California's K-12 teachers. Administered as a voluntary assessment of college readiness as part of the California Standards Test (CST), EAP tests help high school students determine if they are on track for college level math and English. By receiving results prior to their final year of high school, students can make better use of their senior year to prepare them for college. English testing is optional for 11th graders and math testing is optional for those students who are enrolled in Algebra II.

In addition, a key component of the Early Assessment Program focuses on facilitating professional development for K-12 teachers by preparing them to teach expository reading and writing.  It also prepares teachers to align 12th grade math instruction with CSU's expectations for entry-level students.

To view 2011 EAP results, go here

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 412,000 students and 43,000 faculty and staff.  The CSU awards about 90,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.6 million.  Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces.  The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California.  With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

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