The California State University Board of Trustees has adopted an “early start” initiative to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter California State University, Fresno and other CSU schools as freshmen.

Under the program taking effect for freshmen entering in fall 2012, high school students will learn at the beginning of their senior year whether results on the Early Assessment Program (EAP) test make them CSU-ready in math and English. Students not CSU-ready can then choose from various options to help them toward proficiency before they begin classes at the start of the fall semester.

“The goal is that more of our students will be completely prepared for college coursework, or they will at least have begun working toward full proficiency,” said Jeri Echeverria, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer and former Fresno State provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

The program is the result of work by a system-wide task force co-chaired by Dr. Paul Oliaro, vice president for Student Affairs at Fresno State, and Dr. Sue Rosser, the provost at San Francisco State University.

Oliaro said the program will allow students to get a jump on any necessary remediation. They would not be required to achieve proficiency before starting their college classes. He said one benefit of Early Start should be an enhanced ability of the student to stay on track for graduation.

Like other CSU campuses, Fresno State reports about 60 percent of first-time freshmen enrolling each year don’t demonstrate college entry-level proficiency in English or math or both and must attend remedial classes. That can delay or impede progress toward graduation for the student and adds expense for the university.

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