Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Indicator 12: Advanced Coursetaking in High School

This indicator examines the percentage of high school graduates who completed advanced academic level coursework in mathematics, science, English, and foreign language study using data from 1998, 2000, and 2004 high school graduates' transcripts. For detailed descriptions of advanced coursework, see Appendix B: Supplemental Notes.

A higher percentage of students took advanced academic level courses in 2004 than in 1998. In 2004, half of high school graduates (50 percent) had taken at least one advanced academic level mathematics course (defined as a course above Algebra II) while in high school, a higher percentage than in 1998 (41 percent). In science, 68 percent of all high school graduates in 2004 had taken a physics, chemistry, or advanced biology course while in high school, a higher percentage than in 1998 when 61 percent had done so. In English, 33 percent of all high school graduates in 2004 had completed some advanced academic level English coursework, classified as "honors," a higher percentage than in 1998 when 29 percent had done so. In foreign languages, 35 percent of all high school graduates in 2004 had completed some advanced academic level foreign language study (defined as a Year 3 foreign language course or higher), a higher percentage than in 1998 when 30 percent had done so.

View Table View Table 12a

A higher percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander graduates than graduates of any other race/ethnicity had completed advanced academic level science and mathematics courses in 1998, 2000, and 2004. For example, in 2004, 33 percent of Asians/Pacific Islander graduates had completed a calculus-level course, compared with 16 percent of White, 7 percent of Hispanic, 6 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native, and 5 percent of Black graduates. In science, 39 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander graduates had completed chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology in 2004, compared with 20 percent of White, 11 percent of Black, 9 percent of Hispanic, and 7 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native graduates. Following Asians/Pacific Islanders, a higher percentage of Whites than Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives had completed advanced academic level mathematics courses in each of these three years. This same pattern was true for advanced academic level science coursetaking in 1998 and 2004, but in 2000 there was no measurable difference in the percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic graduates who had completed advanced academic level science courses.

View Table View Figure 12a

In 2004, Asian/Pacific Islander graduates had completed advanced academic level courses in English and had completed Year 3 or higher of a foreign language at higher rates than those for all other racial/ethnic groups. In addition, a larger percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander graduates than graduates of other racial/ethnic groups had completed advanced academic level courses in English in 2000. In all three surveyed years, White graduates completed advanced academic level courses in English at higher rates than Hispanics. Also, in each of these years, Black graduates completed Year 3 or higher of a foreign language at lower rates than White, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander graduates.

In general, higher percentages of graduates had completed advanced academic level coursework in mathematics, science, English, and foreign languages in 2004 compared with 1998. However, there were several exceptions. For both Black and Hispanic graduates, there were no measurable differences between 1998 and 2004 in the percentages who had completed advanced academic level English coursework or in the percentage who had completed Year 3 or higher of a foreign language. Also, among American Indian/Alaska Native graduates, there were no measurable differences between 1998 and 2004 in the percentages who had taken advanced academic level coursework in any of the four subject areas. Large standard errors resulting from the small size of this subsample may be partially responsible for no measurable differences.

View Table View Table 12b
View Table View Figure 12b
View Table View Table 12c
View Table View Figure 12c
View Table View Table 12d
View Table View Figure 12d

Top


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education