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Academic Pathways, Preparation, and Performance: A Descriptive Overview of the Transcripts from the High School Graduating Class of 2003-04

Abstract

"This report uses transcript data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) to provide nationally representative information about the level of academic preparation the high school graduating class of 2003-04 had when leaving high school. The report supplies a brief examination of the coursetaking patterns of 2003-04 graduates, with a focus on their participation in mathematics, science, and Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses. Additionally, the report links these coursetaking patterns with test achievement in mathematics, grade point average, and expectations for future educational attainment. Major findings in the report are that: the high school graduating class of 2003-04 earned an average of 25.8 course credits (measured in Carnegie units), 19.0 in academic subjects. Overall, about 30 percent of the class earned at least a credit in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. Among the graduates, 5 percent got no further than basic math or pre-algebra courses, 45 percent completed at least algebra I or II, 36 percent completed at least one trigonometry, statistics, or precalculus course, and 14 percent calculus, as their highest level mathematics in high school. Ninety one percent of graduates who completed an academic curriculum and 46 percent of students who completed an occupational curriculum demonstrated mastery at proficiency level 3 on the ELS:2002 12th grade mathematics assessment, which is simple problem-solving, requiring low-level mathematical concepts."

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