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Highlights from the Status and Trends in the Education of Hispanics - Advanced Coursetaking in High School

Executive Summary
Elementary & Secondary School Enrollment
Grade Retention, Suspension, & Expulsion
Dropout Rates
High School Completion
Student Performance in Reading
Student Performance in Mathematics
Student Performance in Science
Trends in Credit Earning & Coursetaking in High School
Advanced Coursetaking in High School
Advanced Placement Examinations
Language Spoken at Home
Enrollment in Colleges & Universities
Degrees Conferred by Colleges & Universities
Adult Education
PDF File of Complete Report Acrobat PDF File - Highlights from the Status and Trends in the Education of Hispanics

Hispanic students are less likely than White students to complete advanced mathematics, some advanced science, and advanced English coursework, but are more likely than White and Black students to complete advanced foreign language classes.

The highest level of coursework that students complete by high school graduation is one measure of their efforts to perform and achieve at high academic levels. Rigorous academic coursework can also improve students' standardized test scores and enhance their preparation for college-level classes.11

In 1998, about one-quarter of Hispanic, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native students (26, 30 and 27 percent, respectively) completed advanced mathematics courses, whereas about one-half of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students (45 and 56 percent, respectively) did so. Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics completed middle-level mathematics courses, 8 percent took low-level courses, and 7 percent completed nonacademic or no mathematics courses (supplemental table 4.6a).

Chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology was the highest science course completed by about 1 in 10 Hispanics and Blacks (11 and 10 percent, respectively). Chemistry I and physics I was the highest level of science coursework completed by 11 to 12 percent of Hispanic, Black, and American Indian/ Alaska Native graduates and by 18 percent of White graduates (supplemental table 4.6b).

Differences among racial and ethnic groups also exist in patterns of English and foreign language coursetaking. In 1998, for example, Hispanic high school graduates were less likely than their White peers to have completed advanced English classes; no differences were detected between Hispanic and Black students or between Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native students who have done so (supplemental table 4.6c).

In 1998, about one-third of all Hispanic (as well as White and Asian/Pacific Islander) students completed advanced foreign language courses (range from 31 to 34 percent), compared to about one-fifth of Black students (21 percent). About the same proportion of Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander students (8 and 6 percent, respectively) completed Advanced Placement (AP) foreign language courses. More Hispanic students completed such courses than students from the other racial/ ethnic groups (range from 0 to 4 percent) (supplemental table 4.6d).

11  B. Chaney, K. Burgdorf, and N. Atash, "Influencing Achievement through High School Graduation Requirements," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (Fall 1997), 19(3): 229-244.