English Articulation Between the San Francisco Unified School District and the City College of San Francisco
The Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive to examine the relationship between SFUSD high school students' English performance and their performance on CCSF's English placement test for incoming students. Previous research by CCSF and others has highlighted the importance of the initial placement test, as students who place below college-level courses are less likely to advance through the sequence of remedial courses needed to complete a two-year or four-year degree. This analysis found that common measures of students' academic preparation in high school, such as GPA, CST proficiency levels (e.g. Proficient or Advanced), and EAP results, did not accurately predict placement into college-level English at CCSF. A key issue is that misalignment between CCSF's English placement exam and the CST, which tests high school state standards, can leave high school students unclear as to whether they are on-track for college-level coursework. These results raise the question of the appropriateness of the cutoff levels on the CST ELA exam and the CCSF English placement test. Solutions to this problem are not clear cut, and state and local policymakers must work together to identify what standards determine whether a student is prepared for college-level English, whether at CCSF or any postsecondary institution.