Magazine article USA TODAY

More Difficult Courses Pay Off

Magazine article USA TODAY

More Difficult Courses Pay Off

Article excerpt

U.S. Education Secretary Richard W. Riley emphasizes that students who take algebra, trigonometry, literature, and other advanced courses are more likely to make the grade in college or in life. Strong evidence--higher SAT scores, significant educational gains by minorities, and lower dropout rates--suggests that emphasizing high standards and taking more difficult classes pays off.

He advises parents to urge their offspring to take tougher courses if they want to score higher on tests and be better prepared for college and the future. "This was the key recommendation in `A Nation at Risk,' the report that sounded the education alarm bell in 1983. Parents should check with the school and make sure [their] children are signed up for classes in core subjects and advanced studies." (Core subjects generally are defined as English, math, science, and social studies.)

Riley applauds community and state efforts to provide more challenging college preparatory courses and tech-prep courses that help students get ready for careers and one to two years of community college. …

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