In his State of the CSU address on January 29, 2014 Chancellor Timothy P. White announced that he will devote an additional 50 million dollars to degree completion initiatives, including an expansion of Early Start. Early Start uses the the English Placement Test (EPT), a timed-writing and multiple-choice exam, to place students in a 1 unit “remedial” writing course that students must complete the summer before they begin classes at a CSU and that they must pay the increased summer fee for. Although the Chancellor’s speech claims his office will focus on “data-driven decisions to improve program quality and advance student success,” the California Legislative Analyst’s Office has recently come out with a report critiquing Early Start for its complete lack of any data showing that it has a positive effect on student success. The CSU English Council and the CSU Academic Senate created positions statements against Early Start on the grounds that it unfairly targets a socioeconomically disadvantaged population, that it uses an invalid writing assessment, and that it conflicts with the movement away from remediation throughout the CSU as reflected in stretch courses and Directed-Self Placement.
A summary and full video of the address can be found