This chapter examines recent trends in student achievement and factors influencing the quality of U.S. mathematics and science education at the elementary and secondary levels. Public concern about the achievement of American students in mathematics and science has intensified in recent years. In response, the education community has developed and implemented various approaches to improving K–12 education (NSB forthcoming). Targets of reform include standards and curriculum, knowledge assessments, teacher qualification, professional development, and working conditions.
The chapter begins by summarizing the most recent data on U.S. student learning in mathematics and science. New indicators of achievement include changes during the first 6 years of schooling, focusing on whether gaps between groups grew over that time. Another new topic is learning from 10th to 12th grades. The achievement section also puts U.S. student performance in mathematics and science in an international context.
The chapter next examines high school coursetaking in mathematics and science. This edition includes new data on coursetaking in environmental science, engineering, and engineering/science technologies. It also discusses the latest information on state academic course requirements for high school graduation and the status of statewide assessments.