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2007 Spotlight

High School Coursetaking

Coursetaking Patterns: Trends in Advanced Coursetaking

English and Foreign Language

Since the early 1980s, the percentage of high school graduates completing honors English and advanced foreign language courses has also increased (see figures 6 and 7 and tables SA-9 and SA-10). In 1982, about 13 percent of high school graduates had completed some advanced English coursework classified as “honors”; by 2004, this percentage had risen to 33 percent. Moreover, during this period, the percentage who had completed 75–100 percent of their English courses at the honors level increased from 4 to 16 percent.

The percentage of high school graduates who had completed advanced foreign language study (i.e., year 3 or higher of a foreign language) was greater in 2004 than in 1982. In 1982, about 15 percent of graduates had completed some advanced foreign language study; by 2004, this percentage had more than doubled to 35 percent. In addition, over this period, the percentage of graduates who had not completed any foreign language study decreased markedly (from 46 to 15 percent).

As was the case in 1998 and 2000 (data not shown), in 2004, female graduates were more likely than male graduates to have completed advanced English and foreign language study (see tables SA-11 and SA-12). In 1998 and 2000 (data not shown), no racial/ethnic group of graduates completed advanced courses in English or foreign language study at higher rates than those for all other racial/ethnic groups. However, in 2004, Asian/Pacific Islanders completed advanced courses in English and in advanced foreign language study at higher rates than those for all other racial/ethnic groups. In all 3 years, Black graduates were less likely than Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and White graduates to have completed advanced foreign language courses.

In 1998, 2000, and 2004, private school graduates were also more likely than public school graduates to have completed advanced courses in foreign language study; however, apparent differences in the rates at which they completed advanced English courses were not significant (1998 and 2000 data not shown).

Figures and Tables

Figure 6: Percentage of high school graduates who completed regular and advanced levels of English, by highest course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Figure 7: Percentage of high school graduates who completed low and advanced foreign language courses, by highest course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Table SA-9: Percentage distribution of high school graduates, by type of English course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Table SA-10: Percentage distribution of high school graduates, by highest level of foreign language course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Table SA-11: Percentage distribution of high school graduates, by type of English course taken and selected characteristics: 2004

Table SA-12: Percentage distribution of high school graduates, by highest level of foreign language course completed and selected characteristics: 2004

Table SSA-9: Standard errors for the percentage distribution of high school graduates, by type of English course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Table SSA-10: Standard errors for the percentage distribution of high school graduates, by highest level of foreign language course completed: Selected years, 1982-2004

Table SSA-11: Standard errors for the percentage distribution of high school graduates, by type of English course taken and selected characteristics: 2004

Table SSA-12: Standard errors for the percentage distribution of high school graduates, by highest level of foreign language course completed and selected characteristics: 2004

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education