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ED3.B High school academic coursetaking: Percentage of high school graduates who took selected science courses in high school, selected years 1982–2009

excel icon ED3B Excel Table
excel icon ED3B Standard Error Excel Table

Course (Carnegie units) 1982 1987 1990 1994 1998 2000 2005 2009
Total Gender Race and Hispanic origina
Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander American Indian/Alaska Native
Any science (1.0) 96.4 97.8 99.4 99.5 99.5 99.4 99.7 99.9 99.8 99.9 99.9 99.9 99.8 100.0 100.0
Biology (1.0) 77.4 86.1 91.3 93.7 92.9 91.1 92.5 95.6 94.9 96.2 95.6 96.3 94.8 95.8 94.5
AP/IB/honors biology (1.0) 10.0 9.4 5.0 12.0 16.3 16.3 16.0 22.4 19.7 25.0 24.2 14.1 16.1 39.7 15.4
Chemistry (1.0) 32.1 44.2 49.2 56.1 60.5 61.8 66.4 70.4 67.4 73.4 71.5 65.3 65.7 84.8 44.5
AP/IB/honors chemistry (1.0) 3.0 3.5 3.5 3.9 4.8 5.7 7.6 5.9 6.1 5.8 6.5 2.5 2.6 17.0 3.4 !
Physics (1.0) 15.0 20.0 21.3 24.8 28.8 31.3 32.9 36.1 39.2 33.0 37.6 26.9 28.6 61.1 19.8
AP/IB/honors physics (1.0) 1.2 1.8 2.0 2.7 3.0 3.9 5.3 5.7 7.7 3.7 6.1 2.5 3.4 15.1
Engineering (1.0) 1.2 2.6 0.1 ! 4.5 6.7 4.1 4.8 8.2 9.0 7.4 8.2 10.1 7.1 6.4 9 !
Astronomy (0.5) 1.2 1.0 1.2 1.7 1.9 2.8 2.8 3.3 3.9 2.7 4.0 1.8 2.0 1.9 5.3 !
Geology/earth science (0.5) 13.6 13.4 25.3 23.1 20.9 18.5 24.7 27.7 28.9 26.5 28.2 30.1 27.1 19.1 26.0
Biology and chemistry (2.0) 29.3 41.4 47.8 53.8 59.1 59.2 64.3 68.3 65.0 71.4 68.9 64.3 64.2 82.7 43.9
Biology, chemistry, and physics (3.0) 11.2 16.5 18.7 21.4 25.6 25.0 27.4 30.1 31.9 28.3 31.4 21.9 22.7 54.4 13.6
! 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.
a Under the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards for Data on Race and Ethnicity, persons could select one or more of five racial groups: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Those reporting more than one race were classified as “Two or more races." Included in the 2009 total but not shown separately are respondents reporting "Two or more races." Although separate reporting was possible in 2009, respondents who reported being Asian or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander were combined for continuity purposes. Those in a given racial category represent those reporting only that race. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
NOTE: The Carnegie unit is a standard of measurement that represents one credit for the completion of a 1-year course. For a transcript to be included in the analysis, 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. For each course category, percentages include only students who earned at least the number of credits shown in parentheses (e.g., 0.5 = one semester; 1.0 = one academic year) in each course while in high school and do not count those students who took these courses prior to entering high school. Some estimates have been revised from previous publications.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Transcript Studies: High School and Beyond Study of 1980 Sophomores and National Assessment of Educational Progress Transcript Study.