Writing and Learning

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Academic Preparation and Transitions

Academic Preparation

The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is a collaborative effort among the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education and the California State University (CSU). The program was established to provide opportunities for students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their junior year of high school and to facilitate opportunities for them to improve their skills during their senior year. The goal of the EAP program is to help California high school graduates enter the CSU fully prepared to begin college-level study.

For more information, click here.

Academic Placement and Transitions

The CSU has established procedures regarding first-year enrollment in General Education written communication and mathematics courses, including the assessments used to inform academic placement and support. First-year written communication and math placement at Cal Poly is based on multiple measures of academic preparation and proficiency, including junior-level CAASPP scores; high school grade point averages; high school and college coursework; Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and/or ACT/SAT exam scores. 


Any first-time, first-year student identified through CSU placement measures as ready for success with support in English and/or Math will be invited to participate in supplemental learning opportunities throughout the academic year, including summer. More information on the Supportive Pathways for First-Year Students Program will be available soon.


Resources for Teachers


ERWC is a college preparatory course (A-G) rhetoric-based English Language Arts course for grades 11 and 12 designed to develop academic literacy (advanced proficiency in rhetorical and analytical reading, writing, and thinking). 

Check ERWC’s website to register for a free training. 

Additionally, be sure to stay in the loop through the ERWC Online Community, which includes modules, high impact strategies, discussion forums, and other resources to support ERWC educators. 

Interested in adopting ERWC in your school for the first time? Contact Shayna Citrenbaum, the EAP Coordinator for Cal Poly at scitrenb@calpoly.edu. Click here to learn more about the adoption process. 

CSU Mathematics Bridge Courses 

The CSU offers a variety of 12th grade bridge courses focused on supporting mathematics and quantitative reasoning readiness. For example, the Quantitative Reasoning With Advanced Math Topics (QRAT) Course is being offered at high schools in San Luis Obispo County. This innovative course is designed for students who are not ready for an AP level course and may not have chosen to take senior year math. It is an alternative to the Pre-Calculus/Calculus pathway. For more information or to consider adoption, click here.  

In addition to the QRAT course, there are a variety of other 4th year mathematics options to consider, such as Mathematical Reasoning with Connections (MRWC) and Transition to College Level Mathematics (TCLM). 

Resources for Students

What do I need to attend a CSU? 


Why is the CAASPP important and how should I prepare? 

The CAASPP test is one of the multiple measures that the CSU uses to determine your EAP results and therefore, which courses you will need to take. You will take the CAASPP test your Junior year. 

The best strategy to prepare for your test is to consistently do your best work in your English and Math classes. If you would like to take a practice test, click here.  

Why should I take a senior year math course? 

Taking a fourth year of math is positively correlated with college enrollment and persistence and students who take a fourth year are more likely to earn a degree

What do my EAP results mean? 

You will have one of three possible outcomes for both English and math: fulfilled requirement, enroll in GE course, or enroll in supported GE course with supported pathways. 

See this placement estimator for more information. 

Resources for Counselors and Administrators

This brochure explains placement and preparation. 

Interested in adopting ERWC in your school for the first time? Contact Shayna Citrenbaum, the EAP Coordinator for Cal Poly at scitrenb@calpoly.edu. Click here to learn more. 



Related Content

Big News!

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We look forward to supporting your learning!

Academic Preparation and Transitions

The Academic Preparation and Transitions Department plays an integral role in help incoming first-year students prepare for a successful college experience through the Early Assessment Program and the Supportive Pathways for First-Year Students program. More information is available on the Academic Preparation and Transitions webpage

Learning Support Programs

The Learning Support Programs department offers a comprehensive menu of programs and resources designed to help you navigate course expectations and achieve your learning goals: free tutoring for subjects across the curriculum, peer-led supplemental workshops and study sessions for STEM-specific courses, and an online study strategies library. More information is available on the Learning Support Programs webpage. 

Graduation Writing Requirement

All undergraduate students who are seeking a Cal Poly degree must fulfill the GWR before a diploma can be awarded. Students must have upp division standing (completed 90 units) before they can attempt to fulfill the requirement and should do so before the senior year. The two pathways to GWR completion are 1) in an approved upper-division course and 2) via the GWR Portfolio. More information is available on the GWR webpage