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For Immediate Release
Monday, April 1, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo 781-338-3105

Nationwide Report Shows Massachusetts Improving in Math and Science

MALDEN - The increase in the number of African American and Hispanic students choosing to take high level math and science courses rose more in Massachusetts than in any other state, according to a new report released by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

The report, which studied numbers and results from the 1999–2000 school year, shows that Massachusetts had the highest increase of African American and Hispanic students taking chemistry and algebra 2/integrated math 3 courses by graduation from 1996–2000.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll, a member of the board of directors for CCSSO, said this report represents a step in the right direction for math and science instruction in the Commonwealth.

"I am pleased to see increases in the percent of minority students taking advanced level math and science courses," said Commissioner Driscoll. "Participation these courses will allow students to perform better in school and encourage them to continue their education and pursue careers in the areas of math and science."

Statewide, 72% of African American students took chemistry by the time they graduated in 2000, an increase of 27% from 1996. Also, 71% of African American students took algebra 2/integrated math 3 before graduating in 2000, an increase of 17% from 1996.

Among Hispanics, 48% took chemistry by graduation in 2000, an increase of 11% from 1996; and 53% took algebra 2/integrated math 3 by graduation in 2000, an increase of 14% from 1996. Participation by Asian students in these courses also increased since by 10% for chemistry and 6% for algebra 2/integrated math 3.

Massachusetts was consistently in the top five states with the percent of all students taking higher level math courses by graduation with high percentages taking Algebra 1 and 2, Trigonometry and Calculus/AP Calculus. Students in the state were among the highest taking advanced level science courses by graduation in Chemistry and Biology, and the highest in the percentage of students taking Physics by graduation.

The biennial State Indicators of Science and Mathematics Education: 2001 is published by the CCSSO with cooperation from the state departments of education, federal agencies and professional organizations. The report presents state indicators of the quality of science and math education in public schools

The report also examines student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grade 4 and 8 math and grade 8 science exams, and looks at the number of certified math and science teachers.

Massachusetts is among the top five states with the percent of students scoring at the proficient level on the grade 8 math NAEP with 32%, second only to Minnesota with 40%. For proficiency on the grade 4 math NAEP, Massachusetts was again second only to Minnesota, with 33% as compared to Minnesota's 34%. For the grade 8 science NAEP, Massachusetts was second with 42% of students scoring at the proficient level. Montana had the highest with 46%.

At the high school level, from 1990–2000, Massachusetts had large increases in the number of biology (+482), chemistry (+290) and physics (+204) teachers, while suffering losses in math (-533) and earth science (-49). The state saw increases in the number of math (+849) and science (+832) teachers at the grade 7 –8 level from 1994–2000.

The report also looks at participation and performance of high school students on the Advanced Placement exams, middle school students' participation in higher level math and science courses and other indicators regarding educators such as age and education.

To view the entire report, visit the CCSSO web site www.ccsso.org.



Last Updated: April 1, 2002
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