Skip all navigation and go to page content

Chapter 1. Elementary and Secondary Mathematics and Science Education


This chapter describes both inputs and outcomes related to K–12 mathematics and science education in the United States. The first section focuses on student achievement, including student achievement growth over time and achievement gaps among groups of students. The second section focuses on a key determinant of student learning: teachers' qualifications and working conditions. It examines fifth and eighth grade teachers' education, licensure, and working conditions. New data permit analysis of how the characteristics of students and their teachers are related, providing greater context for understanding students' achievement. This section also presents data on teacher salaries and recent research comparing teacher salaries with the salaries of other workers.

The third section describes student access to instructional technology, including data on student access to the Internet and eighth graders' use of computers in mathematics and science classes. The section also reports on student participation in distance education, a subject new to this volume.

The fourth and final section describes students' transitions from secondary to postsecondary education—the subject of chapter 2 in this volume. The section begins with an update on high school graduation rates and a comparison of U.S. high school graduation rates with those in other countries. It next presents data on student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) examinations and addresses information on high school graduates' immediate enrollment in postsecondary education. New to this section are data on the relationship between students' high school coursetaking and achievement in mathematics and science and enrollment and remediation in postsecondary education.

Table 1-1 presents an overview of the topics discussed in this chapter and the indicators used to illuminate and flesh out the concepts. Whenever a difference or change over time is cited in this chapter, it is statistically significant at the 0.05 probability level.[1]


[1] Differences between two estimates were tested using Student's t-test statistic to minimize the chances of concluding that a difference exists based on the sample when no true difference exists in the population from which the sample was drawn. These tests were done with a significance level of 0.05, which means that a reported difference would occur by chance no more than once in 20 samples when there was no actual difference between the population means.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2010   Arlington, VA (NSB 10-01) | January 2010