Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Percentage of U.S. Students Taking High School Physics Reaches All-Time High

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Percentage of U.S. Students Taking High School Physics Reaches All-Time High

Article excerpt

SEATTLE

A leading scientific association reports that a record number of U.S. high school students are currently enrolled in physics courses. According to data from the American Institute of Physics, more than 30 percent of high school seniors have taken a physics class, the highest mark ever attained by U.S. students. The percentages have been on the rise since the 1980s. Michael Neuschatz, a senior research associate at AlP, made the announcement during a joint January meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Astronomical Society.

In 1930, just 15 percent of 18-year-olds had taken physics. In 2005, the figure stood at 25 percent, Neuschatz said.

Underrepresented minorities and women have also enrolled in high school physics classes at increasing rates, according to AIR Girls comprised 39 percent of high school physics students in 1987, but that number has grown to 47 percent today. Blacks and Hispanics each represented 10 percent of physics students in 1990. The percentages for both groups have since more than doubled to 23 percent and 24 percent respectively.

"Good physics education is the backbone of a first-class work force in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," says Dr. …

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