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California state universities, community colleges need better online tools to steer students to optimal math courses

CAL MATTERS – College students are savvy tech users, navigating “smart” websites like Amazon, YouTube and Netflix that point them to options consistent with their past purchasing or viewing history. 

But what happens when they need to make decisions using less sophisticated college websites? When it comes to math courses, our recent study found that California colleges are doing a middling job of directing students toward optimal and up-to-date options. 

This pattern could undermine recent reforms designed to modernize mathematics offerings and accelerate students’ progress toward degrees. Since students’ math experiences send powerful signals to them about their academic potential and self-worth, it’s important that the course enrollment process be transparent and not discourage students from pursuing math-intensive fields or from taking a math course needed to graduate. 

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