In 1990, only 49 percent of high school graduates had taken chemistry and only 21 percent had taken physics. But, by 2009, the number of high school graduates with a chemistry class on their transcript had jumped to 70 percent, and 36 had taken physics. Most encouraging of all, in 2009, 30 percent of high school graduates had taken biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, up from only 19 percent taking all three in 1990.
There was also a slight increase when it came to advanced math classes. In 1990, only 7 percent of grads had taken a calculus class, and a mere 1 percent had taken statistics. By 2009, 16 percent of seniors had taken calculus and 11 percent had taken statistics. The rigorous coursework is helping to ensure that today’s students are prepared to go to college immediately after graduation. In 1979, only 49 percent of students headed to either a two-year or four-year college right after high school, but that jumped to a high of 70 percent in 2009.