Mismatch of math course expectations for college admissions persists

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Diving brief:

  • A majority – 93% – of high school counselors surveyed said numeracy gives students an edge in college admissions, according to a report released on Wednesday by the math education equity organization, Just Equations, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. However, a previous survey found that only 53% of college admissions officers agreed on the same.
  • On top of that, 73% of high school counselors said not taking calculations would hamper students’ college options, but only 34% of admissions officers said the same. When reviewing statistics courses, 5% of advisors said they recommend statistics on par with calculus to help students gain admission to college.
  • The report recommends schools include rigorous, student-relevant math course offerings that match their budding college majors and careers. College and academic counseling should also be offered as early as college, according to the report.

Overview of the dive:

There’s a disconnect between the math courses students are encouraged to take in high school for college admission and what they’re interested in and actually considering going to college, said co-author Veronica Anderson. of the report. A previous study found that admissions counselors believe AP Statistics carries the least weight in college admissions compared to other advanced math courses.

“Some states are trying to address math pathways in K-12 education to create more options, but again, those beliefs are firmly ingrained and it’s a little hard to do,” said said Anderson.

The report also recommends schools focus on student well-being as students prepare for college, adding that high schools may limit the number of AP courses offered or the number of courses students are allowed to take. .

“High schools are just really stressful now, and a lot of that is just driven by kids trying to do what they need to do to get into those colleges that they want to go to,” Anderson said. “If you like math and want to get into STEM, that’s perfect. Take it. If the kids don’t even care about it, is that something we really want to force them to do, or make them feel like they have to?”

The report recommends that students interested in the social sciences should also be encouraged to take courses in statistics or data science.

The percentage of students taking statistics and probability classes have increased over the past three decades, from 1% of public and private high school students in 1990 to 25% of 12th graders reporting in 2019 that they took this course in middle school or high school.

The Just Equations and NACAC report compiled the results of a survey of 323 high school counselors at private, public, and charter schools.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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