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

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Advanced Coursetaking in High School


In 2004, a smaller percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates completed advanced science, mathematics, or English courses than their White or Asian/Pacific Islander peers.

Figure 4.7. Percentage of high school graduates who completed advanced academic courses, by school subject and race/ethnicity: 2004
Percentage of high school graduates who completed advanced academic courses, by
school subject and race/ethnicity: 2004
! Interpret data with caution.
1 Includes students who completed courses in chemistry I, physics I, chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology.
2 Includes students who completed precalculus, calculus, or other courses labeled as "advanced," such as trigonometry.
3 Includes students who completed more honors courses than "below grade level" courses.
4 Foreign language coursetaking based upon classes in Amharic (Ethiopian), Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek (Classical or Modern), Hawaiian, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norse (Norwegian), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, or Yiddish. Some graduates also studied more than one foreign language. Graduates who had completed courses in different languages were counted according to the highest level course completed.
NOTE: Students classified at any particular level need not have taken courses at a lower level and may have taken more than one course at that level. For more detailed descriptions of these categories, see supplemental note 12 in The Condition of Education, 2007. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, The Condition of Education, 2007 (NCES 2007-064), based on U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002/04), "High School Transcript Study."

In 2004, a smaller percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates (48 percent) completed advanced science courses1 than White (71 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (84 percent) students. No measurable differences were observed among the percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students completing these courses.

Twenty-two percent of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates completed advanced mathematics courses. 2 This percentage was lower than the percentages of White (54 percent), Black (42 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islander (69 percent) students, but not statistically different from the percentage of Hispanic (34 percent) students completing advanced mathematics courses.

Twenty-one percent of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates completed advanced English courses 3 in 2004. The percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students completing advanced English courses was lower than that of White (35 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (43 percent) students. No differences were detected between the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students (21 percent) and the percentage of Black (24 percent) and Hispanic (25 percent) students completing advanced English courses.

Higher percentages of Asian/Pacific Islander (50 percent), White (37 percent), and Hispanic (33 percent) students completed either 3 or more years of foreign language courses or an advanced course in a foreign language than did American Indian/Alaska Native students (15 percent). 4 However, the percentage for American Indian/Alaska Native students did not differ significantly from that of Black students (20 percent).

View Table View Table 4.7

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1 Advanced science courses include chemistry I, physics I, chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology.
2 Advanced mathematics courses include precalculus, calculus, or other courses labeled as "advanced," such as trigonometry.
3 Completion of advanced English courses indicates that students completed more honors courses than "below grade level" courses.
4 Foreign language coursetaking based upon classes in Amharic (Ethiopian), Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek (Classical or Modern), Hawaiian, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norse (Norwegian), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, or Yiddish. Some graduates also studied more than one foreign language. Graduates who had completed courses in different languages were counted according to the highest level course completed.

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