Vol. 20 No. 1 (2010)

Secondary Mathematics: Four Credits, Block Schedules, Continuous Enrollment? What Maximizes College Readiness?

Published 2015-05-01


This paper posits the position that if higher education and secondary schools wish to increase students’ college readiness, specifically in mathematics and critical thinking skills, continuous enrollment in secondary mathematics is one avenue worth exploring as opposed to increasing mathematics graduation requirements only in terms of Carnegie credits. NAEP-HSTS 2005 and NELS:88 data indicate, respectively, non-continuous enrollment in secondary mathematics results in lower mathematics achievement and decreases the odds of completing a bachelor’s degree. Nationally, schools following 4×4 block schedules (90-minute classes that meet daily for only one semester) were found to have mathematics achievement scores two thirds of one grade-level lower than schools following a 50-minute year-long mathematics courses. Typical college-bound students who do not take mathematics all four years of high school likely diminish their odds of bachelor degree completion by about 20%.