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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Core Academic Coursework


American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates completed more academic high school coursework in 2005 than in 1982. However, the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates who completed a core academic track in 2005 was smaller than the percentage of White, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander graduates who did so.

Figure 4.6. Percentage of public high school graduates who had completed a core academic track, by race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1982 to 2005
Percentage of public high school graduates who had completed a core academic track, by
race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1982 to 2005
NOTE: A core academic track is defined as at least 4 year-long courses in English; 3 each in social studies, science, and mathematics; and 2 in foreign languages. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 Sophomores (HS&B-So:80); National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88/90), "First Follow-up, 1990"; and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), High School Transcript Study (HSTS), selected years, 1982 to 2005.

The National Commission on Excellence in Education recommended that a core academic track for high school students include at least four courses in English, three in social studies, three in science, three in mathematics, and two in a foreign language (National Commission on Excellence in Education 1983).1 The percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates who completed this level of academic coursework increased from 3 percent in 1982 to 36 percent in 2005.

The percentage of high school graduates who completed a core academic track changed for other racial/ ethnic groups, as well. The percentage of White high school graduates who completed a core academic track for high school graduates was higher in 2005 (53 percent) than in 1982 (11 percent). Similarly, higher percentages of Black, Hispanic, and Asian/ Pacific Islander students completed a core academic track in 2005 than in 1982.

The percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates who completed a core academic track in 2005 was smaller than the percentage of White, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander graduates who did so.

View Table View Table 4.6

1 The commission also recommended one-half year of computer science. This indicator focuses on a core academic track coursework that does not include computer science.

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