Academic Preparation

Supporting Quantitative, Scientific and Data Literacy

“Recognizing the pandemic’s disproportionately adverse impacts on our state’s most underserved students…our Academic and Student Affairs team discussed with university leaders our need and desire to re-envision the ways we support students in their transition from high school to college.”
– Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester, September 2022 Board of Trustees

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social and economic distress and unfinished PK-12 learning have changed the educational landscape for prospective CSU students, especially for those in historically underserved communities. In response, the CSU is pursuing a new path in providing incoming students of all backgrounds with equitable opportunities to succeed in a full range of majors and professions. As part of its ongoing commitment to academic preparation, a key priority of Graduation Initiative 2025, the CSU is partnering with PK-12 partners to reinforce the importance of quantitative reasoning, scientific and data literacy skills in college and career success. This collaboration can be seen through a range of activities including encouraging – but not requiring – high school students to take an additional math or science course, supporting PK-12 teacher preparation, fostering more dual enrollment opportunities and designing PK-12 curricular development to expand quantitative reasoning course availability.


Academic Preparation Resources

Quantitative reasoning preparation expands opportunities for all students— especially underrepresented minority students. Learn more about how the CSU is helping to prepare students to succeed.


Independent Study Findings

MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization selected through a public competitive bidding process to conduct an independent analysis of a proposed implementation of an additional course requirement for CSU admissions and its potential impact on CSU applicants. Among the study’s major findings completed this fall:

  • 60% of all California public high school graduates currently meet “a-g” requirements for CSU admission 
  • Of those students, 94% would currently meet the proposed additional quantitative reasoning requirement 
  • Taking an additional quantitative reasoning course is associated with some better short-term college outcomes, including first-year retention, units completed and higher GPA 
  • Taking the course during senior year is associated with better long-term college outcomes 
  • However, the study found no evidence that the proposed additional requirement would have an effect on existing disparities 
  • And both staff and students who were interviewed felt the proposed requirement could improve college success but negatively impact equitable college access 

Review the Novem​ber 2022 report


Quantitative Reasoning Proposal History

Originally proposed by CSU faculty, the CSU had considered a change to “a-g” admissions criteria requiring one additional course in mathematics, science or an elective course with a quantitative reasoning foundation for entering freshman by 2027. Learn more about the proposal and discussions.