Starting fall 2018, freshmen entering California State University schools will no longer be required to take math and English placement exams, and they will no longer have to take noncredit remedial classes.
Chancellor Timothy P. White issued an executive order late Wednesday, in an effort to revamp Cal State's approach to assessing college readiness and course placement.
Administrators say high school grades, ACT and SAT scores, and prior classroom performance show a more accurate understanding of students' knowledge.
Cal State will no longer make students who might need help take the standardized entry-level mathematics test (ELM) and the English placement test (EPT).
Chancellor White wrote to the system's 23 presidents, saying the new rule:
"Facilitates equitable opportunity for first-year students to succeed through existing and redesigned education models."
Cal State's hope is that the changes help students get their degrees faster, as its vowed to double its 4-year graduation rate from 19% to 25% by 2025.
Right now students who go into Cal State without demonstrating readiness in English and/or math must take 3 remedial classes before they're allowed to take classes that count toward their degree.
One of the problems with this system is that the remedial courses cost students more money and time, making some get frustrated and drop out. A recent study from the Public Policy Institute of California found that remedial classes mostly fail at helping students complete their schooling.
With the new system, students can take courses that count toward their degree on day 1. Students who might need extra help could take "stretch" classes, which simultaneously give them remedial help and let them finish general English and math credits needed for graduation.