Frequently Asked Questions

What was the quantitative reasoning requirement proposal?

The CSU Board of Trustees passed a resolution in January 2020 articulating possible guidelines to include an additional course in quantitative reasoning as part of current “a-g" admission requirements. The guidelines provided a set of criteria that would need to be met prior to the approval of changing the existing “a-g" requirements, which determine minimum eligibility for admission to a CSU campus.

Is the CSU changing admissions requirement to include an additional course in quantitative reasoning?

The CSU will not pursue a change in admission requirements but will instead strongly recommend that high school students take an additional course that improves quantitative, scientific or data literacy skills.

While research, as well as CSU data, has shown that academic preparation supports greater student success, the CSU recognizes and is responding to the disproportionately adverse impact the pandemic has had on students and is re-envisioning the ways it can support students in their transition from high school to college.

What were the Board of Trustees set of criteria regarding this requirement?

They were:

  • A third-party independent analysis of the planned implementation and potential impact of the proposed requirement on high school students' application to the CSU;
  • The progress of doubling STEM qualified teachers annually prepared by the CSU;
  • Clarity of the charge, role and composition of a steering committee that reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs;
  • Clarity on exemptions for students whose public schools do not provide sufficient courses; and
  • The progress on increasing outreach and awareness of the proposed requirement with schools, counselors

What were the results of the independent analysis?

The MDRC report was published in November 2022 and presented to the CSU Board of Trustees. Among its 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

The full report is available for review online.

What has the CSU done with these findings?

The CSU will use the MDRC study findings to inform its interventions and partnerships and build upon and amplify existing successful initiatives that help prepare incoming students with the skills they need for success. For example, the CSU will work with its PK-12 partners to:

  • Build and diversify the teacher workforce, especially in STEM
  • Provide professional development to current teachers
  • Expand access to quantitative reasoning curriculum, including through dual enrollment and
  • Reimagine summer bridge programs to provide year-round support to first-year students

Who did the CSU consult regarding this proposal?

The CSU consulted with a wide range of stakeholders since the Academic Senate of the CSU – the official faculty voice in the CSU in matters of curriculum – convened a Quantitative Reasoning Task Force in 2016. After the Academic Senate released a report in August 2016 recommending an additional course in high school quantitative reasoning, the CSU was in continuous conversations with individuals and organizations representing a diverse group of educational, government and community partners. View the proposal timeline​.