Elementary and secondary mathematics and science education
National and state education policies continue to focus on improving learning by U.S. students. Policy goals include increasing student achievement overall, reducing disparities in performance among key subgroups of students, and moving the international ranking of U.S. students from the middle to the top over the next decade (The White House n.d.). STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have been a strong focus of recent reform efforts, including developing common core standards across states, strengthening curricula, promoting advanced coursetaking, enhancing teacher quality, raising graduation requirements, and expanding technology use in education.
This chapter presents indicators of elementary and secondary mathematics and science education in the United States, drawing mainly on data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education. Table 1-1 presents an overview of the topics covered in this chapter and the indicators used to illuminate the topics.
The chapter begins by summarizing the most recent data on student achievement in mathematics and science, focusing on recent trends in student performance, changes in performance gaps, and the relative international standing of U.S. students.1 It also includes new indicators of mathematics and science performance by students in charter schools, trends in mathematics achievement among very high-scoring students, and the results of an algebra assessment of ninth graders.