COLLEGE ADDS REMEDIAL MATH CLASSES TO PROGRAM.
Rushing to reduce the number of unprepared college freshmen, CSUN administrators this year added remedial math to its summer college preparatory program in English and doubled the number of participants.
The change is just one effort to bring the majority of graduating high school seniors up to speed and ready to take California State University freshman courses.
According to initial estimates, about two-thirds of this year's 2,284 freshmen will need remediation in either English or math, said Lorraine Newlon, director of admissions at California State University, Northridge.
``Remedial instruction is costly and it delays the students' graduation. If you have four (remedial) courses that you take that don't count toward graduation it adds almost a year,'' Newlon said. ``It's in everyone's best interest to get students in who are ready for college work.''
English remediation courses help students with developmental reading or writing and math classes hone geometry and algebra skills.
This year, CSUN's Summer Bridge Program started offering a remedial math workshop. The program is usually limited to students from low-income families.
But this year, with additional funding from the office of undergraduate studies, it welcomed more students who needed remediation.
The free college preparatory program enrolled about 300 students this summer, more than double past years.
CSUN senior Santos Bocanegra, 20, of Pacoima said the university should have offered the math course years ago.
Bocanegra took a remedial English course to strengthen essay writing skills in Summer Bridge before he started CSUN, but had to take a remedial math workshop during his freshman year.
He said high schools should be held accountable for preparing students for college.
``First of all, it does need to start in high schools, that's when they need to learn it,'' he said. ``But you face overcrowding and neglect and some teachers aren't qualified to teach at all.''
Remediation courses, he said, ``are a plus and minus. You get a fresh review, but once again you're taking a class you shouldn't need to be taking, so it's also a setback.''
In March, a CSU systemwide report showed an increase in the number of freshmen tested for remediation and those needing remediation.
In 1997, the percent of students tested in math increased to 90 percent, from 76 percent the year before; those tested in English increased to 89 percent from 76 percent.
Students needing remediation increased from 53 percent to 54 percent in math and 43 percent to 47 percent in English.
In 1997, 62 percent of all CSUN freshmen needed remediation in English, and 67 percent needed it in math.
The system's goal is to reduce the number of new freshmen needing remediation by 10 percent by 2001. It also looks to reduce the total number of students in remediation to 10 percent in both English and math by 2007.