By Tabitha Carranza
Cal Poly Pomona faculty were left perplexed and worried about the future of the Cal State after the Chancellor’s Office announced the decision to drop remedial classes and loosen math requirements.
Chancellor Timothy P. White announced the controversial decision in a memo to CSU staff.
The change will alter the general education policy in an attempt to double the four-year graduation rate to 40 percent by 2025.
According to the memo, students will be able to complete the general math/quantitative reasoning requirement by enrolling in courses that do not require the intermediate algebra prerequisite.
These courses included personal finance, game theory, statistics and computer science.
In a separate executive order, White also dropped placement exams in math and English along with non-credit remedial courses freshmen are required to take each fall before they can enroll in classes that count toward their degrees.
White left faculty responsible for determining the relevant prerequisites for math and quantitative reasoning courses, as well as coming up with new and creative curriculum and course models for first-year students.
These changes will be implemented by next fall.
According to Mon Yee, a member of the Cal Poly chapter of the California Faculty Association, the decision was a mistake that will grossly affect the faculty and students alike.
“If we lower the bar and pass them regardless if they deserve to be passed or not, then we’re really putting a handicap on students when they get out there, and they can’t hit the ground running,” said Yee.
According to Yee, some professors have already received letters from the dean to make it easier for students to pass their classes, whether they deserve it or not.
“The quality of education that we’re providing the students will be diminished if we continue to lower the standards,” said Yee.
Yee stated that many of his colleagues share his apprehension for the new changes in Cal States’ education requirements.
Many other members of faculty in other Cal States spoke out in September against the decisions in a resolution by the Academic Senate.
The changes are meant to increase the graduation rate, many question the reasoning behind the decisions.
Although many faculty members share the same sentiments, some do not believe the executive order will greatly affect the school.
According to John Edlund, the former president of the CSU English Council, Cal Poly Pomona had already been implementing these changes some time ago.
Along with the English Placement Test, CPP implemented a process called “Directed Self Placement.”
Students take a survey and look at other variables, such as exam scores, in order to determine how to design their composition course.
Students who struggle in the subject have the option of the stretch program.
They can take a two or three course stretch depending on their needs.
For example, the two course stretch includes ENG 108 and ENG 109.
According to Edlund, this system works better than just relying on EPT scores because doing so was problematic.
“I think it was a pretty good placement exam, but I don’t think it should’ve ever been the one measure.”
When it comes to getting rid of non-credit remedial courses, CPP is ahead of the executive order by forming the Early Start Program.
In this program, students take English and math courses during the summer to help them progress in completing developmental course work.
“We kind of knew that this was the direction this was going in; that’s why we designed the stretch program,” said Edlund.
Amid the negative reactions to the executive order, Edlund stated he had other concerns about it.
“I don’t have a problem with getting rid of non-credit courses. What’s more problematic is having the Chancellor’s Office tell all the campuses what they can do and what they can’t do.”
One reason why the executive order has come under fire is because of how soon the changes must be implemented.
The school’s curriculum must follow the new guidelines by fall of 2018.
According to Edlund, the main issue with the order is it’s vague.
“We had a video conference about it, and I must say that no one’s quite sure exactly what this executive order means.”
Edlund also stated he doesn’t believe the chancellor should receive all of the backlash from this order, but the Chancellor’s Office should give campuses more autonomy because of the constant changes it implements on the schools.
The CFA sent a letter to the Chancellor’s Office to express their concerns about the executive order, but they have not received a response.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
The Chancellor’s Office announced the decision to drop remedial classes and loosen math requirements
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