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Table 179. Percentage of public and private high school graduates taking selected mathematics and science courses in high school, by sex and race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1982 through 2009
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Course (Carnegie units) 1982 1990 1994 1998 2000 2005 2009
Total Sex Race/ethnicity
Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian/
Pacific Islander
American Indian/
Alaska Native
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Mathematics1                                                           
Any mathematics (=1.0) 98.5 (0.21) 99.6 (0.07) 99.5 (0.07) 99.9 (0.05) 99.8 (0.05) 99.9 (0.02) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0   (†)
Algebra I (=1.0)2 55.2 (1.01) 64.5 (1.55) 66.9 (1.33) 63.4 (1.44) 66.5 (1.75) 68.4 (0.99) 68.9 (0.94) 68.5 (0.98) 69.3 (1.01) 67.0 (1.09) 77.2 (1.26) 75.4 (1.60) 53.3 (3.52) 74.8   (5.85)
Geometry (=1.0) 47.1 (0.99) 64.1 (1.33) 70.6 (1.25) 75.3 (1.06) 78.3 (1.08) 83.8 (0.63) 88.3 (0.53) 86.6 (0.75) 89.9 (0.54) 88.8 (0.73) 88.4 (1.07) 87.0 (0.96) 86.1 (1.47) 81.6   (4.09)
Algebra II (=0.5)3 39.9 (0.93) 48.8 (1.39) 61.5 (1.38) 61.7 (1.77) 67.6 (1.43) 70.3 (1.01) 75.5 (0.92) 73.5 (1.09) 77.6 (0.91) 77.1 (1.09) 70.5 (1.68) 71.1 (1.83) 82.8 (2.57) 66.3   (4.12)
Trigonometry (=0.5) 8.1 (0.54) 18.2 (1.28) 11.8 (1.16) 8.9 (1.06) 7.9 (1.33) 8.4 (0.88) 6.1 (0.77) 5.8 (0.78) 6.4 (0.81) 7.1 (1.01) 3.2 (0.55) 3.6 (0.69) 8.5 (1.96) 6.5   (1.84)
Analysis/pre-
calculus (=0.5)
6.2 (0.46) 13.4 (0.95) 17.4 (0.87) 23.2 (1.44) 26.6 (1.40) 29.4 (0.98) 35.3 (0.84) 33.8 (1.02) 36.6 (0.89) 37.9 (0.98) 22.7 (1.29) 26.5 (1.36) 60.5 (2.88) 18.5   (2.98)
Statistics/probability (=0.5) 1.0 (0.16) 1.0 (0.21) 2.0 (0.33) 3.7 (0.54) 5.7 (0.85) 7.7 (0.53) 10.8 (0.49) 10.7 (0.51) 10.9 (0.58) 11.6 (0.64) 7.9 (1.04) 7.5 (0.77) 17.6 (1.69) 5.9 ! (2.07)
Calculus (=1.0) 5.0 (0.43) 6.5 (0.46) 9.4 (0.56) 11.0 (0.85) 11.6 (0.72) 13.6 (0.53) 15.9 (0.66) 16.1 (0.75) 15.7 (0.69) 17.5 (0.69) 6.1 (0.59) 8.6 (0.64) 42.2 (3.11) 6.3   (1.60)
AP/honors calculus (=1.0)4 1.6 (0.26) 4.2 (0.44) 7.0 (0.54) 6.8 (0.49) 7.8 (0.58) 9.2 (0.44) 11.0 (0.55) 11.3 (0.65) 10.7 (0.54) 11.5 (0.52) 4.0 (0.37) 6.3 (0.46) 34.8 (2.77) 4.9   (1.44)
                                                           
Science1                                                           
Any science (=1.0) 96.4 (0.39) 99.4 (0.13) 99.5 (0.09) 99.5 (0.10) 99.4 (0.12) 99.7 (0.05) 99.9 (0.02) 99.8 (0.04) 99.9 (0.02) 99.9 (0.03) 99.9 (0.04) 99.8 (0.06) 100.0 (†) 100.0   (†)
Biology (=1.0) 77.4 (0.87) 91.3 (0.98) 93.7 (0.98) 92.9 (0.68) 91.1 (1.01) 92.5 (0.60) 95.6 (0.40) 94.9 (0.45) 96.2 (0.43) 95.6 (0.51) 96.3 (0.56) 94.8 (0.67) 95.8 (0.95) 94.5   (1.64)
AP/honors biology (=1.0)4 10.0 (0.64) 5.0 (0.76) 12.0 (0.93) 16.3 (1.32) 16.3 (1.45) 16.0 (0.83) 22.4 (0.78) 19.7 (0.76) 25.0 (0.89) 24.2 (0.88) 14.1 (0.80) 16.1 (0.88) 39.7 (3.58) 15.4   (3.38)
Chemistry (=1.0) 32.1 (0.84) 49.2 (1.22) 56.1 (1.01) 60.5 (1.29) 61.8 (1.48) 66.4 (0.94) 70.4 (0.75) 67.4 (0.95) 73.4 (0.76) 71.5 (0.87) 65.3 (1.80) 65.7 (1.41) 84.8 (1.72) 44.5   (4.78)
AP/honors chemistry (=1.0)4 3.0 (0.33) 3.5 (0.47) 3.9 (0.53) 4.8 (0.50) 5.7 (0.84) 7.6 (0.53) 5.9 (0.43) 6.1 (0.52) 5.8 (0.39) 6.5 (0.47) 2.5 (0.46) 2.6 (0.35) 17.0 (2.36) 3.4 ! (1.39)
Physics (=1.0) 15.0 (0.62) 21.3 (0.84) 24.8 (0.86) 28.8 (1.49) 31.3 (1.16) 32.9 (0.91) 36.1 (1.01) 39.2 (1.29) 33.0 (0.92) 37.6 (1.24) 26.9 (1.72) 28.6 (1.33) 61.1 (2.35) 19.8   (3.89)
AP/honors physics (=1.0)4 1.2 (0.17) 2.0 (0.38) 2.7 (0.34) 3.0 (0.37) 3.9 (0.60) 5.3 (0.33) 5.7 (0.46) 7.7 (0.63) 3.7 (0.38) 6.1 (0.54) 2.5 (0.39) 3.4 (0.39) 15.1 (2.51)   (†)
Engineering (=1.0) 1.2 (0.21) 0.1 (0.04) 4.5 (0.80) 6.7 (1.76) 4.1 (0.98) 4.8 (0.56) 8.2 (0.93) 9.0 (1.02) 7.4 (0.93) 8.2 (1.18) 10.1 (1.75) 7.1 (1.06) 6.4 (1.17) 9.0 ! (3.15)
Astronomy (=0.5) 1.2 (0.24) 1.2 (0.31) 1.7 (0.50) 1.9 (0.46) 2.8 (0.59) 2.8 (0.37) 3.3 (0.40) 3.9 (0.51) 2.7 (0.33) 4.0 (0.57) 1.8 (0.38) 2.0 (0.36) 1.9 (0.43) 5.3 ! (2.51)
Geology/earth science (=0.5) 13.6 (1.04) 25.3 (2.47) 23.1 (2.44) 20.9 (2.35) 18.5 (1.92) 24.7 (1.43) 27.7 (1.70) 28.9 (1.88) 26.5 (1.66) 28.2 (2.04) 30.1 (2.57) 27.1 (2.15) 19.1 (2.38) 26.0   (5.25)
Biology and chemistry (=2.0)5 29.3 (0.83) 47.8 (1.23) 53.8 (1.18) 59.1 (1.22) 59.2 (1.50) 64.3 (0.97) 68.3 (0.77) 65.0 (0.91) 71.4 (0.84) 68.9 (0.93) 64.3 (1.74) 64.2 (1.45) 82.7 (1.93) 43.9   (4.77)
Biology, chemistry, and                                                          
physics (=3.0)5 11.2 (0.51) 18.7 (0.71) 21.4 (0.83) 25.6 (1.34) 25.0 (1.10) 27.4 (0.89) 30.1 (0.87) 31.9 (1.08) 28.3 (0.85) 31.4 (1.04) 21.9 (1.48) 22.7 (1.19) 54.4 (2.77) 13.6   (2.87)
†Not applicable.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
1 For each course category, percentages include only students who earned at least the number of credits shown in parentheses.
2 Excludes pre-algebra.
3 Includes courses where trigonometry or geometry has been combined with algebra II.
4 For 2000 and later years, includes International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in addition to Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses.
5 Percentages include only students who earned at least one credit in each of the indicated courses.
NOTE: For a transcript to be included in the analyses, it had to meet three requirements: (1) the student graduated with either a standard or honors diploma, (2) the student’s transcript contained 16 or more Carnegie units, and (3) the student’s transcript contained more than 0 Carnegie units in English courses. The Carnegie unit is a standard of measurement that represents one credit for the completion of a 1-year course (0.5 = one semester; 1.0 = one academic year). Data differ slightly from figures appearing in other National Center for Education Statistics reports because of differences in taxonomies and case exclusion criteria. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Totals include other racial/ethnic groups not separately shown. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 Sophomores (HS&B-So:80/82), "High School Transcript Study"; and 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2005, and 2009 High School Transcript Study (HSTS). (This table was prepared October 2012.)
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