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ERIC Number: ED497754
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 148
Abstractor: ERIC
Advanced Mathematics and Science Coursetaking in the Spring High School Senior Classes of 1982, 1992, and 2004. Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 2007-312
Dalton, Ben; Ingels, Steven J.; Downing, Jane; Bozick, Robert
National Center for Education Statistics
While increased academic requirements for high school graduation have long been advocated, current research shows a mixed record in mathematics and science achievement among American middle and high school students relative to some of their international peers. In response to these concerns and other calls for reform, states have increased the number of courses required for a high school diploma. Research using high school transcripts collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates that states have been successful in encouraging students to take more courses in science and mathematics before graduation; however, important questions remain about trends in mathematics and science coursetaking. Are more students taking higher level courses in mathematics and science, in addition to increasing the number of courses taken? Have upward trends in coursetaking been sustained in recent years? And have disparities among student subgroups in coursetaking experiences changed over time? This report uses in-depth information on the coursetaking patterns of high school graduates in 1982, 1992, and 2004 to answer these questions. The data show that high school graduates' completion of mathematics courses clearly increased across the three cohorts studied in this report. Graduates came much closer to taking 4 full years of academic coursework in mathematics, moving from, on average, 2.7 total credits in mathematics in 1982 to 3.6 total credits in 2004. In addition, graduates shifted from taking lower level mathematics courses to taking more advanced courses. Accompanying the increase in advanced-level mathematics coursetaking was a significant drop in the percentage finishing high school with one of the two lowest levels of mathematics courses completed. Clear trends were also evident for science coursetaking. The average number of science credits increased from 2.2 total credits in 1982 to 3.3 total credits in 2004. Further, graduates shifted in significant proportions from taking lower level science courses to taking upper level ones. In addition to these overall trends in coursetaking, the number and level of courses taken in mathematics and science increased for all student subgroups examined. Across categories of sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES) background, educational expectations, and school sector, graduates in 2004 took more and higher levels of mathematics and science than their peers in 1992 and 1982. The following are appended: (1) Technical Notes and Methodology; (2) Standard Error Tables; (3) Sample Size Tables for Select Subgroups; and (4) Course-Specific Completion Percentages. (Contains 32 figures, 38 tables, and 29 footnotes.)
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED), Washington, DC.
IES Funded: Yes