RATIONALE: The Quantitative Reasoning Task Force Report (2016) has been distributed. At its September 2016 meeting, the ASCSU passed a resolution advocating that the Office of the Chancellor, in collaboration with the ASCSU, start work on implementing those elements of the QRTF report that the ASCSU had previously endorsed (namely, a fourth year of mathematics/quantitative reasoning as a CSU admissions requirement for entering freshman and establishing a Center for the Advancement of Instruction in Mathematics AS-3265-16/APEP). This resolution asks that the remaining ecommendations in the QRTF report also be implemented1.
The recommendations of the QRTF report, from the executive summary, are:
“Recommendation I: Formulate an updated quantitative reasoning definition based on CSU best practices and reflecting national standards.
Current policy relies on the phrase “intermediate algebra” as shorthand for full college preparation through high school, and defines baccalaureate-level quantitative reasoning as the math that builds on this level. The Task Force recommends updating this definition to include other kinds of quantitative reasoning.
Recommendation II: Revise CSU quantitative reasoning requirements and adopt equitable, feasible requirements that articulate with the other segments.
The Task Force found that CSU policies with respect to admission, transfer, and graduation are unduly constrained by treating foundational quantitative reasoning as necessary for success in all kinds of baccalaureate-level quantitative reasoning. Better policies would recognize that quantitative reasoning is valuable at both levels in ways that aren’t always sequential. The Task Force proposes flexible and appropriately rigorous definitions of quantitative reasoning at the
foundational and baccalaureate levels to inform separate requirements at entry and at graduation. The general expectation is that California’s current State Standards in Mathematics, which follow closely the national Common Core Standards, will improve quantitative reasoning proficiency in students entering CSU, the University of California (UC) and the California Community Colleges (CCC) system. It is the hope of the Task Force that in future most students will easily surpass the Foundational Quantitative Reasoning threshold.
Recommendation III: Ensure equitable access and opportunity to all CSU students.
The Task Force recommends policy revisions to provide equitable treatment of community college transfer and native CSU students; improve access to quantitative reasoning classes relevant to a student’s major, interests and career; and raise the CSU system-wide expectation for quantitative reasoning in high school from three to four years of coursework.
In each of its recommendations, the Task Force has sought equity through a balance of access and opportunity. For example, the recommendation to raise the CSU’s system-wide expectation of quantitative reasoning in high school to four years of coursework stipulates that the fourth year of instruction could reinforce practice and application of prior learning in quantitative reasoning rather than
broach new topics in math. (In operational terms this means the fourth year of high school quantitative reasoning might not be in Area c of the UC a–g curriculum of college preparatory courses.)
Recommendation IV: Create a CSU ‘Center for Advancement of Instruction in Quantitative Reasoning’
The Task Force appreciates the rapidly changing contexts of high school instruction, best practices in postsecondary education, and the skills in quantitative reasoning that CSU students will rely on after graduation. This report supports a recent resolution of the Academic Senate of the CSU calling for creation of a dedicated Center, whose task it would be to implement these and subsequent findings and to support much needed development of high-quality instruction and curricula in quantitative reasoning throughout the state’s high school, community college and public university systems.
Although presented separately here, the four recommendations are interdependent. The policy proposals in Recommendation III depend on the definitions and distinctions of Recommendations I and II. The Center for Advancement of Instruction in Quantitative Reasoning (Recommendation IV)
would provide a venue for the consultation and collaboration necessary for
success in Recommendations I–III. Members of the Task Force expressed reservations about reducing the emphasis on algebra unless rigor could be assured in other ways. The Center, to be modeled on the CSU’s successful Center for the Advancement of Reading, would provide the sustained system-level
attention to pedagogy, evidence of learning at entry for both freshmen and
transfer students, and support for high schools offering 12th grade courses in quantitative reasoning.”
Approved Without Dissent – November 3-4, 2016