Black High School Students Are Increasingly Taking the Challenging Mathematics Courses Necessary for Them to Compete for Places at Top Colleges

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education shows that there has been substantial progress in the number of black students who are taking challenging mathematics courses in high school. The report, Trends Among High School Seniors, 1972-2004, shows that in 1982 only 3.8 percent of black high school seniors were taking an advanced mathematics course such as precalculus or calculus. By 2004 nearly 15 percent of black high school seniors were taking advanced mathematics. Thus, over the period, the percentage of black seniors taking advanced mathematics nearly quadrupled.

In 1982 more than half of all black high school seniors did not take any mathematics class whatsoever. By 2004 this percentage had been nearly cut in half.