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Margaret Mia

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CSU Trustees Plan to Drop Proposed Math Requirement | Inside Higher Ed


The California State University Board of Trustees indicated plans to abandon a proposal requiring a fourth year of high school math for admissions at a meeting Tuesday, EdSource reported. The proposal for a quantitative reasoning coursework requirement has been under consideration since 2019 in hopes of better ensuring CSU freshmen come prepared for college math.

The CSU system currently requires three years of high school math.

Critics of the proposal have argued that the requirement would pose an obstacle to students of color and low-income students because of inequities in STEM education at K-12 schools that disproportionately enroll these students.

“We see this as a major win and applaud the CSU for deciding not to create yet another barrier to college access and success,” Denise Castro, a policy analyst at the Education Trust–West, a research and advocacy organization focused on education in California told EdSource.

An independent study of the proposal conducted by the research firm MDRC found that the majority of students who met A-G requirements, the courses currently required for Cal State and University of California admission, had successfully taken and passed an extra quantitative reasoning course that would fulfill the proposed requirement. But 40 percent of high school graduates in the state don’t meet A-G requirements, and two-thirds of those students specifically don’t meet the math and science requirement.

Interviews MDRC conducted with staff at K-12 schools also show that they worry about whether schools have the resources for students to meet the additional requirement.

The study concludes that the additional requirement is unlikely to exacerbate inequities but also may not be the most fruitful tactic.

“This study suggests that the biggest value added for students may not be in the formalization into policy of an elevated admissions standard that is already being attained by most applicants, but in the intentional collaboration between the K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions to authentically improve the preparation of students to ensure a more seamless transition into postsecondary education,” the analysis reads.

Trustees plan to vote on the issue in January.



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