A quiet revolt reshaping the pathway to college – Introduction to Data Science

Pamela Burdman  |  EdSource

They make up less than one percent of Los Angeles Unified’s high school students, but one day they may discover they helped break through a long-standing barrier to educational opportunity for students in Los Angeles and beyond.

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, not to mention gaining insights into things like their stress levels and snacking habits. “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. The course rests at the vanguard of a quiet revolt against the dominance of algebra in the high school curriculum, a revolt that could reshape the pathway to college for years to come.

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