While more high school students in the US are taking science and math classes, a new report from the US Department of Education says that scores on assessment tests have stayed about the same, reports the Associated Press. According to the Condition of Education report, the percentage of high school graduates who took math and science classes increased between 1990 and 2009. In 1990, 91 percent of high school graduates had taken biology, 49 percent had taken chemistry, and 21 percent had taken physics. By 2009, those percentages rose to 96 percent, 70 percent, and 36 percent, respectively. The report also notes that the percentage of high-performing US students on an international assessment test that were scientifically literate did not change between 2006 and 2009.
At Science 2.0, Hank Campbell writes that such a score stagnation is not a bad thing. "It's actually a good thing that scores have stagnated; it means that no one has artificially lowered the standard to impress their bosses and create a veneer of 'success,'" he says, later adding that "the upside to 'stagnant' scores, percentage wise, is that if you want to lead the world in science, the best people have to be doing it."