Education News

Science, Math Play Key Roles in High School Coursework

Apr 13, 2011

You'll see that more students, including minority students, are taking more challenging curriculum sequences, and accumulating more credits, though ethnic and racial gaps persist. The portion of students taking what the NAEP folks consider a "midlevel" curriculum—four years of English; three of social studies; one of foreign language; three years of math, including Algebra I and geometry; and three years of science, including at least two courses in biology, chemistry, or physics—has risen from one-quarter in 1990 to just under half in 2009. Scores on the 12th grade NAEP correlate with the level of rigor in students' high school coursetaking. Still, one-quarter of graduating students fall short of even a "standard" curriculum (four years of English and three each of science, math, and social studies, with no particular course requirements in those categories).

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