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CSU Board of Trustees continues discussion about proposed high school STEM requirement, Tuesday

The California State University Board of Trustees reviewed proposed changes to first-year CSU admission requirements, Tuesday.

Board members discussed adding a new quantitative reasoning requirement for high school students planning to attend a CSU. While this was not the first discussion of the issue, an overall decision has yet to be determined. 

CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Strategist James Minor explained the benefits of the new requirement and that it would increase students’ readiness for college. 

“Quantitative reasoning is not necessarily synonymous with mathematics. It confluences critical thinking, mathematics and real-world applications,” Minor said. “These skills are necessary.”

The courses that would be acceptable for the requirement would range from personal finance, coding, statistics, engineering, game development and several others.

If the quantitative reasoning requirement is approved, it would not be fully implemented until 2026. 

During public comment, many opposed the change.

“To expand the admission requirements to include a fourth-year of quantitative reasoning will have serious consequences,” said Charles Toombs, a San Diego State University professor. “The proposal will create barriers to the CSU and exacerbate disparities that already exist in California communities.”

Several board members also shared their concerns about the proposed requirements. However, many said this was the right decision to ensure students are prepared for CSU curriculum.

“It is clear that there is a problem and it’s so vast that you can barely wrap your arms around it,” Trustee Rebecca Eisen said. “We’re trying to make an impact on that problem to make sure that our students have full opportunities.”

One of the concerns raised was that not every California K-12 offers quantitative reasoning courses. Minor said that no student will be denied entrance into a CSU because their school does not provide the necessary courses.

There was also apprehension about the rush to add the requirements. Trustee Romey Sabalius said during the meeting that this is a well-researched topic and it would help the CSUs remain competitive.

“The trustees are not rushing anything. Input has been seen for the last half-year,” Sabalius said. “I want to remind everybody again that the implementation is not until six and a half years from now. Overall, it is a process that will take 10 and a half years.”

The new requirement would add one additional course to required 15 courses. Minor also said that most senior students have already completed the quantitative reasoning requirement.

The board wants to answer all remaining questions about the quantitative reasoning requirement before it votes in November. 

The next CSU Board of Trustees meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach.

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