Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Thing Hidden Since the Foundation of the World by Rene Girard.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Admissions and Math: Yes, but...

The LA Times has an op-ed criticizing the CSU (California State University) system for instituting a requirement that all students who want admission take 4 years of high school math or other classes with heavy quantitative reasoning (e.g. physics, economics).  I actually agree with this part:
The proposal raises some big questions about what a college education ought to encompass in changing times. Are extra math classes in high school really necessary for all Cal State applicants — including those who want to major in, say, English literature, philosophy or theater?
Indeed. Andrew Hacker made much the same point in his book The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions.  However, we then come to this part:
It might make more sense, for example, for Cal State to require extra quantitative reasoning courses only of students who plan to major in STEM-related fields. They already are more likely to have taken a fourth-year math course before college. The university also should introduce any changes incrementally, checking to see whether the extra requirement makes enough of a difference to be worthwhile and considering other steps that might be at least as effective at raising graduation rates.
If we are going to admit people who are not ready to major in quantitative STEM fields then we should not be held accountable if they change their minds, decide to major in quantitative STEM fields, and then struggle to succeed.