Mathematics and science education is gaining increasing recognition as key for the well-being of individuals and society. Accordingly, the transition from high school to college is particularly important to ensure that students are prepared for college mathematics and science. The goal of this study was to understand how high school mathematics and science course-taking related to performance in college. Specifically, the study employed a nonparametric regression method to examine the relationship between high school mathematics and science courses, and academic performance in college mathematics and science courses. The results provide some evidence pertaining to the positive benefits from high school course-taking. Namely, students who completed high school trigonometry and lab-based chemistry tended to earn higher grades in college algebra and general chemistry, respectively. However, there was also evidence that high school coursework in biology and physics did not improve course performance in general biology and college physics beyond standardized test scores. Interestingly, students who completed high school calculus earned better grades in general biology. The implications of the findings are discussed for high school curriculum and alignment in standards between high schools and colleges.
© Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Culpepper, S. A.; Basile, C.; Ferguson, C. A.; Lanning, J. A.; and Perkins, M. A.
"Understanding the Transition between High School and College Mathematics and Science,"
Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 12:
1, Article 16.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jmsce_vamsc/vol12/iss1/16