February 2023

New Report: Lengthy Calculus Prerequisites Pose Barriers

Inside Higher Ed
New Report: Lengthy Calculus Prerequisites Pose Barriers

Just Equations’ new report, Staying the Course: Examining College Students’ Paths to Calculus was covered in this Inside Higher Ed piece highlighting how lengthy Calculus prerequisites could contribute to student attrition on the pathway to STEM.

A new report suggests that calculus prerequisite sequences across the California State University system are too lengthy and could pose a barrier to students who need to complete calculus as a stepping-stone to earning STEM degrees.

The report, released today by Just Equations, an organization focused on equitable math education, analyzes prerequisites in the 23-campus system and draws on interviews with math leaders from eight CSU campuses. It found that, while calculus prerequisite sequences vary by campus, students face “long on-ramps” to calculus courses. For example, one campus required students to take up to four semesters of math before taking calculus. Some campuses also offer multiple prerequisite pathways to calculus courses, which can confuse students and cause them to take less efficient routes, according to the report.

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