These students, about a thousand juniors and seniors, are collecting, analyzing and interpreting sets of data from their own lives. In the process, they are learning basic statistics and computer programming. “Big data” is not just transforming the way we live and conduct business; it also offers approaches to learning math that can engage students and open doors.

The students are taking a new course, Introduction to Data Science, that UCLA researchers found is fostering critical thinking skills, data awareness, and positive attitudes.

These new approaches have the potential to improve equity and ensure that quantitative literacy is a right, not a privilege.

Traditional courses like Algebra 2 that students have needed to get into college too often are taught in ways that leave course-takers feeling discouraged and left out. That, in turn, contributes to the lack of racial and gender diversity in many technical fields. New course offerings in areas like statistics, computer science and even social justice mathematics present new ways to engage students.

Read the full article about reshaping the pathway to college by Paula Burdman at EdSource.