California State University trustees are poised to abandon a proposal to require a fourth year of math-related coursework for admission, ending a plan introduced six years ago that touched off fierce criticism among many who said it would create barriers for students trying to enter the system.
Administrators are recommending the board of trustees reject the proposed requirement in January, citing new research showing that nearly all CSU applicants and enrollees already take four years of math. They also raised concerns that the new requirement would hurt students whose high schools are underresourced or still struggling with the effects of the pandemic on education.
“The CSU does not plan to pursue a change to our admissions requirements,” said Nathan Evans, the system’s associate vice chancellor of academic and student affairs during a Nov. 15 meeting.
First introduced in 2016, the proposal called for students to take an additional year of math, science or other quantitative reasoning coursework such as computer science or personal finance to qualify for admission into the country’s largest four-year system of public higher education.
The plan was enthusiastically supported by then-Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White as a way to increase rigor and boost college graduation rates, close achievement equity gaps and better prepare students for the workforce.
But dozens of social justice groups, education advocates, school districts and lawmakers from across the state campaigned against the proposal. They argued that it would unfairly prevent Black and Latino students, and those from low-income families, from enrolling in the system because of disparities in access to such classes and the lack of qualified teachers.
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