Connecticut State Universities Raising Admission Standards
GRACE E. MERRITT
March 13, 2009
Concerned that many freshmen arrive on campus poorly prepared for college classes, Connecticut State University System trustees voted Thursday to raise academic admission standards for students starting in 2015.
Currently four in every 10 freshmen at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut state universities must take a remedial math class and 25 percent must take remedial English once they arrive on campus before they are ready for college-level work, university officials said.
"If you've not been taught Algebra II, you are not going to be ready for college-level math," explained trustee John A. Doyle, chairman of the academic affairs committee.
The new admissions standards are more specific and demanding. Freshmen will be required to have taken four years of mathematics rather than the current minimum of three. They also will have to have taken three years of science, rather than the current two-course requirement, and an English composition class, among other changes.
The higher admissions standards won't kick in until 2015 at the earliest, to give high schools enough time to make sure they are providing the necessary preparatory courses.
Essentially, the new standards will affect today's sixth-graders, who will be freshmen in 2015, said Bernard Kavaler, CSU's assistant vice chancellor for public affairs.
The timing dovetails with a bill that would raise high school graduation standards statewide. The bill is based on a plan developed by the state Department of Education for middle and high school students and adopted by the State Board of Education in October.
"This is really part of an ongoing effort across the state to work with educators at every level to set new standards," Kavaler said.
Western Connecticut State University has already started an innovative program designed to better align area high schools with the college curriculum. Since it started three years ago, the number of freshmen in remedial classes has dropped dramatically, and retention rates have improved, Kavaler said. The program is now being developed at the other CSU campuses in collaboration with area school districts.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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