Cultivating a talented and diverse STEM workforce requires addressing issues of attrition in students’ pathways to STEM, attrition that disproportionately affects women and minoritized students. It is no secret that calculus often acts as a stumbling block, rather than a stepping stone, on that very path.
Staying the Course: Examining College Students’ Paths to Calculus, a new report by Just Equations, analyzes how the California State University (CSU) system structures its Calculus prerequisite sequences across 23 campuses and the impact of these courses on student attrition.
Through an in-depth analysis of CSU prerequisite sequences and interviews with math leaders at eight CSU campuses, Staying the Course uncovers long on-ramps to Calculus, confusing pathways, a heavy reliance on placement testing, and varying systems of student support. The report calls for further research and action from education system leaders and policymakers to ensure college opportunity for all students and to cut down on the waste of student time and resources on lengthy prerequisite sequences.
For more insights on the role of math in ensuring educational equity, subscribe to Just Equations’ newsletter.