Report Highlights Shifts in the High School Experience
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released its annual analysis of the significant developments and trends in U.S. education. As always, The Condition of Education report addresses all aspects and all levels of education, but this year's version includes a special focus on the changes in the nation's high schools over the past 20 years.
According to the NCES report, high school students today are less likely to be employed while attending school. The percentage of those age 16 and older holding jobs while in high school dropped from 32 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2010, and while the economic recession contributed to the decline, the data indicate a steady downward trend since 2000. At the same time, however, the percentage of 12th graders planning to graduate from a four-year college increased from 48 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2010. Other key findings include
- More than 1.3 million students participating in distance education, such as online courses, during the 2009–10 school year—a dramatic increase of more than 1 million students over the 2002–03 total.
- Increases in the number of students taking math and science in all subject areas (geometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) except for the number taking Algebra I, which likely decreased as a result of more students taking the course before high school.
- A slight increase in the high school graduation rate for students receiving their diploma in four years from the class of 1991 (73.7 percent) to 2009 (75.5 percent).
- A decrease in the percentage of high school dropouts from 12 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2010.
In addition to the changes taking place in high schools, the report points to an overall growth in college enrollment, which increased from 7 million students in 1970 to 18 million in 2010, and is expected to reach 21 million over the next 10 years. A video on the NCES website highlights these and other significant findings and provides further information on the Condition of Education report.
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