(Press-News.org) WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2014 ─ Raising state-mandated math and science course graduation requirements (CGRs) may increase high school dropout rates without a meaningful effect on college enrollment or degree attainment, according to new research published in Educational Researcher (ER), a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.
VIDEO: Co-authors Andrew D. Plunk and William F. Tate discuss key findings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwxh1gj-T1M&feature=youtu.be
"Intended and Unintended Effects of State-Mandated High School Science and Mathematics Course Graduation Requirements on Educational Attainment," by Andrew D. Plunk, William F. Tate, Laura J. Bierut, and Richard A. Grucza of Washington University in St. Louis, is the first study to examine the effects of state-mandated math and science CGRs together, and one of only a few that have looked at these policies more generally. http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/RecentAERAResearch/IntendedandUnintendedEffectsofState-MandatedHighSchoolScienceandMathematicsCourseGraduationRequirementsonEducationalAttainment/tabid/15579/Default.aspx
Overall, high school dropout rates increased as states mandated more math and science coursework, reaching 11.41 percent when students were required to take six math and science courses, compared to 8.6 percent for students without a requirement. Results also varied by gender, race, and ethnicity, with the dropout rate for some groups increasing by as much as 5 percentage points. (See Table 2 on page 7 of the full article for demographic breakdowns.)
"Our research suggests that many students were ill-prepared for the tougher standards, and ultimately failed to graduate," said William F. Tate. "Going forward, state policymakers must understand that you can't do math and science courses if you are not in school."
For students exposed to higher math and science graduation requirements who do graduate, there was no across-the-board boost in college enrollment or degree attainment, at least in the short term.
While researchers did not find any overall association between higher CGRs and subsequent college enrollment and degree attainment, they did find some differences in subgroups based on sex and race/ethnicity.
Specifically, higher CGRs were associated with a decrease in the likelihood that black women and Hispanic men and women would enroll in college after graduating from high school. However, higher CGRs were associated with an increase in the likelihood that Hispanics and non-migrant black women who enrolled in college would earn a degree. (In this case, non-migrants refers to students who were born in the state in which they attended high school.)
To examine the effects of state-mandated CGRs on educational attainment, researchers looked at student outcomes in 44 states where CGRs were mandated in the 1980s and 1990s, utilizing data from the U.S. Census, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Education Commission of the States. The researchers used individual-level data to examine how factors such as sex, race/ethnicity, and interstate migration might influence how CGRs affect educational attainment.
"Policymakers must anticipate unintended consequences from more demanding content and more rigorous requirements," said Andrew D. Plunk. "We should also rethink what it means to be an at-risk student. To be effective, these measures will likely require academic and social support for a broad range of students, as well as change at the K-8 level."
Support for the study was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Washington University Institute for Public Health.
About the Authors
Andrew D. Plunk is a postdoctoral research fellow in psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
William F. Tate is the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis.
Laura J. Bierut is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.
Richard A. Grucza is an associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national professional organization devoted to the scientific study of education. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook and Twitter.
Tony Pals, firstname.lastname@example.org
office: (202) 238-3235
cell: (202) 288-9333
Bridget Jameson, email@example.com
office: (202) 238-3233
Study finds unintended consequences of raising state math, science graduation requirements
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
BUSM study: Obesity may be impacted by stress
Using experimental models, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) showed that adenosine, a metabolite released when the body is under stress or during an inflammatory response, stops the process of adipogenesis, when adipose (fat) stem cells differentiate into adult fat cells. Previous studies have indicated adipogenesis plays a central role in maintaining healthy fat homeostasis by properly storing fat within cells so that it does not accumulate at high levels in the bloodstream. The current findings indicate that the body's response to stress, potentially ...
Team studies immune response of Asian elephants infected with a human disease
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes tuberculosis in humans, also afflicts Asian (and occasionally other) elephants. Diagnosing and treating elephants with TB is a challenge, however, as little is known about how their immune systems respond to the infection. A new study begins to address this knowledge gap, and offers new tools for detecting and monitoring TB in captive elephants. The study, reported in the journal Tuberculosis, is the work of researchers at the University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP), a division of ...
Protein's 'hands' enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds
MANHATTAN — When it comes to infecting humans and animals, bacteria need a helping hand. Kansas State University biochemists have found the helping hand: groups of tiny protein loops on the surface of cells. These loops are similar to the fingers of a hand, and by observing seven individual loops on the surface of E. coli bacterial cells, the researchers found that the loops can open or close to grab iron in the environment. "These structures are like small hands on the surface of bacterial cells," said Phillip Klebba, principal investigator and professor and head of ...
4 lessons for effective, efficient research in health care settings
Thousands of studies take place every year in healthcare settings. A report published recently in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine describes how to do many of these studies more rapidly. By taking into account the real-world constraints of the systems in which providers deliver care and patients receive it, researchers can help speed results, cut costs, and increase chances that recommendations from their findings will be implemented. The lessons come from the My Own Health Report project, a collaboration between seven research institutions with the goal ...
Mormon pioneer mortality rate calculated at 3.5 percent
The final stanza of the Mormon pioneer anthem "Come, Come Ye Saints" directly confronts the prospect of dying on the trail: "And should we die, before our journey's through…" Now new research shows that pioneer mortality rates were not much greater than national averages at the time. This may come as a surprise to modern Mormon youth who've participated in handcart treks. "The youth go out and learn that a lot of people died and they push the handcart and after three days they think they are practically dead," said retired historian Mel Bashore. "But most people traveled ...
Saltier intravenous fluids reduce complications from surgery
(PHILADELPHIA) -- Adequate hydration via a saline drip is essential during surgery, but recent reports suggest that getting the balance of salt and water just right could have an important impact on patient recovery. In the largest study of its kind researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that a slightly saltier intravenous drip (hypertonic saline), and lower total volume of fluid received, reduced the overall rate of complications by 25 percent after the complex Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer. "This relatively minor change in intravenous fluids has ...
Defects in fatty acid transport proteins linked to schizophrenia and autism
Using diverse methodologies, neuroscientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute report that defects in Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs) may help to explain the pathology in some cases of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. After identifying mutations in FABPs from patients, the group led by Senior Team Leader Takeo Yoshikawa determined that the genetic disruption of Fabps in mice mimics disease behaviors seen in patients. This work suggests that disruption of FABPs could be a common link underlying some forms of these two prevalent mental disorders. Published ...
Smarter ads for smartphones: When they do and don't work
NEW YORK — Brands spent $8.4 billion on mobile advertising in 2013, and that number is expected to quadruple to $36 billion by 2017, according to eMarketer. But do mobile display ads — those tiny banner ads that pop up in your smartphone's web browser — actually work? Researchers at Columbia Business School have found that, despite their size, mobile ads can have a big effect on consumers who are in the market for certain types of products. "Digital advertising in mobile channels is experiencing explosive growth," said Miklos Sarvary, co-director of the Media Program ...
NASA sees Typhoon Rammasun's eye staring at Visayas, Philippines
Early on July 15, Typhoon Rammasun began making landfall in the eastern part of the central Philippines and NASA's Aqua and TRMM satellites spotted the 20 nautical-mile-wide (23 mile/37 km) eye of the storm close to landfall. Typhoon Rammasun was making landfall in the Visayas region. Visayas is located in the central Philippines. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite passed over Rammasun on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 04:10 UTC (12:10 a.m. EDT) and measured rainfall occurring throughout the storm. TRMM found moderate rainfall (about 35 mm)/1.4 inches ...
Scientists gear up to fight deadly snake fungal disease
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have developed a faster and more accurate way to test for infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is killing snakes in the Midwest and eastern United States. The test also allows scientists to monitor the progression of the infection in living snakes. The researchers reported on the test at the 2014 Mycological Society of America Annual Meeting. "We need people to know that they don't have to anesthetize an animal to collect a biopsy sample or, worse yet, euthanize snakes in order to test for the infection," said University ...