Math Pre-Remediation Becomes Mandatory Requirement Starting Summer 2012

April 24, 2012

The Early Start or Math Pre-Remediation Program will undergo a huge change this summer as the once strictly voluntary program will transform into a mandatory requirement for all incoming CSU students in need of developmental mathematics course work.

In an effort to improve CSU admitted freshmen’s entry-level proficiencies in mathematics, the CSU’s Board of Trustees made the decision in an executive order in June 2010 requiring all incoming students who scored below 50 on the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) exam to take a Pre-Remediation mathematics course at a CSU of their choosing in the summer before they matriculate. This statewide decision extends to admitted freshmen requiring developmental work in English as well.

Since Summer 2009, the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Developmental Mathematics Program has helped students meet their remedial math requirements through the voluntary summer program CHAMPS (Choose A Math Path to Success), a personalized tutoring program that can help students place out of or reduce their need for developmental mathematics courses.

Approximately 300 students voluntarily participated in the Summer 2011 program with nearly one quarter of those students successfully improving their placement in Developmental and GE Mathematics.

With the decision for the developmental math courses to become mandatory, both students and faculty may be faced with challenges. Students must now enroll in the summer term and pay tuition for the one unit course prior to officially starting school in fall. Faculty are additionally challenged to anticipate the number of how many students will enroll this summer, which can be anywhere from 300 to 5,000 students as local students enrolled in other CSU’s like Humboldt or Bakersfield can choose to complete the course at CSUN.

Understanding the difficulties that may arise ahead, the Developmental Mathematics Program Director Dr. Katherine Stevenson has designed the online hybrid course that will be flexible enough to accommodate any incoming freshman’s schedule, providing eight, six, four and two week sessions that students to choose from. Students will also have the opportunity to complete both Math 092 and Math 093 courses in one unit.

“Not everyone can anticipate what kind of time investment it’s going to be,” said Stevenson. “Between students’ jobs, social life and the fact that they have just finished high school, completing a mandatory course in the summer can be difficult for them. That’s why I have designed a program to make sure their needs are met at a pace they are comfortable with.”

Stevenson adds that despite these challenges, it is important for incoming students to understand the importance of completing these remedial math courses prior to beginning college.

“Investing the time to complete remedial courses early can prevent students from delaying their degree and save them money in the long run,” said Stevenson. “It’s important for faculty to educate incoming students about the overall benefits of improving their placement in developmental math.”