September 2022

Just Equations’ new report, *Calculating the Odds, *was covered in this Education Week piece highlighting how selective-college admissions practices affect K–12 math opportunities and student success in math.

In recent years, math educators and advocates have pushed to diversify high school course offerings, introducing new pathways that culminate in statistics or data analysis. But new research suggests that one course still reigns supreme when it comes to college admissions: calculus.

New surveys of college counselors working in competitive admissions find that the vast majority—93 percent—say calculus gives students an “edge” in the college application process. Almost three in four of those surveyed say that not taking the course narrows students’ options.

The results underscore the importance of college admissions practices—or even perceptions thereof—in shaping high school coursetaking. And they shed light on the anxieties that some parents and school system leaders feel about the introduction of nontraditional math pathways into high school classrooms.

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