Just as the perceived health of the population could decline overnight if health officials were to change the definition of “high cholesterol,” changes in definitions and measures of proficiency at the postsecondary school level can radically alter the perceived quantitative reasoning levels of students.
California’s education systems need to revamp their math policies, according to the Quantitative Leap policy brief by Just Equations founder, Pamela Burdman. Better coordinated policies will ensure that students face fewer arbitrary barriers to success. Focused on ways of ensuring that more students can take required college-level math courses upon college enrollment, the brief homes in on three obstacles – dueling definitions of quantitative reasoning proficiency, inaccurate measures of quantitative reasoning, and insufficient opportunities to attain quantitative reasoning – and presents concrete recommendations for how the education systems can work together to devise better policies and more opportunities for students to attain the quantitative reasoning skills they need for college and for life. The year following the report’s publication, both the California Community College and California State University systems began implementing policy changes aligned with Quantitative Leap’s recommendations.