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CSU to Lower Math Requirements for Some Majors

Intermediate algebra will be replaced with prerequisites for non-STEM majors.

Mac Walby, Managing Editor

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After a long summer of back-and-forth opinion pieces and complaints about the importance of math in higher education, the Cal State University system announces intermediate algebra will be removed as a graduation requirement for non-STEM majors.

“We’re not eliminating the math requirements in the CSU,” Christine Mallon, assistant vice chancellor of academic programs and faculty development at CSU told EdSource. “We are removing the explicit intermediate algebra prerequisite from CSU (general education) math.”

The move, which will take effect starting in Fall 2018, is the start of a bigger conversation going on around the country while educators and administrators try to find a way to prepare students for the workforce. Only 48 percent of students who enter the California Community College system leave with a degree, according to a report released last month by the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Some have placed blame on these math requirements as a cause.

Lowering the requirement could not only help students at city colleges make their way to the CSU system, but enable them to finish their degrees more consistently.

Requirements will still include three years of Common Core math classes, two of which must be in algebra. The change will make it so students don’t have to retake these math classes at the CSU level.

“What this does is gives students more flexibility, more choices about a particular GE course they want to take so that they can take a course that fits their major and their career aspirations,”  said Christine Mallon, assistant vice chancellor of academic programs and faculty development at CSU.

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