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ED3.C High school academic coursetaking: Percentage distribution of high school graduates by the highest level of foreign language courses taken, selected years 1982–2009

excel icon ED3C Excel Table

Course (Carnegie units) 1982 1987 1990 1994 1998 2000 2005 2009
Total Gender Race and Hispanic origina
Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander American Indian/Alaska Native
Any foreign language (0.25) 54.4 66.7 73.1 77.7 80.6 82.6 83.6 86.4 83.0 89.7 87.1 85.2 82.3 93.3 69.5
Year 1 or less 20.4 22.6 21.2 19.8 19.2 18.0 13.0 11.2 12.8 9.6 10.6 16.1 10.9 6.4 16.7
Year 2 19.5 24.9 30.2 32.1 31.5 34.9 37.1 35.3 35.4 35.3 34.7 45.4 33.0 24.5 36.9
Year 3 or higher 14.6 19.2 21.7 25.9 30.1 29.7 33.4 39.9 34.8 44.8 41.8 23.7 38.5 62.4 15.9
Year 3 8.9 11.9 12.9 15.0 17.4 16.5 18.6 22.2 20.9 23.5 22.5 17.8 19.9 35.2 11.1
Year 4 4.5 5.4 5.6 7.8 8.6 7.8 8.9 9.7 8.0 11.4 12.0 3.7 4.8 13.1 3.4
AP/IB/honors foreign language (0.25) 1.2 1.9 3.2 3.1 4.1 5.4 5.9 8.0 6.0 10.0 7.3 2.2 13.7 14.1 1.4
a For data before 2003, the 1977 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards for data on race and ethnicity were used to classify persons into one of the following four racial groups: White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. The revised 1997 OMB standards were used for data for 2003 and later years. Under these standards, persons could select one or more of five racial groups: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Those reporting more than one race were classified as “Two or more races.” Included in the 2009 total but not shown separately are respondents reporting "Two or more races." For 2003 and after, when separate reporting was possible, respondents who reported being Asian or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander were combined for continuity purposes. Also, beginning in 2003, those in a given racial category represent those reporting only that race. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
NOTE: For a transcript to be included in the analysis, it had to meet three requirements: (1) the student had to have graduated with either a standard or honors diploma, (2) the student's transcript had to have contained 16 or more Carnegie units, and (3) the student's transcript had to have contained more than 0 Carnegie units in English. For each course category, percentages include only graduates who earned at least the number of credits shown in parentheses (e.g., 0.5 = one semester; 1.0 = one academic year) while in high school and do not count those graduates who took these courses prior to entering high school. Foreign language coursetaking is based upon classes in Spanish, French, Latin, or German, unless noted otherwise for data from 1982 through 2000. In these years, less than 1 percent of students studied only a foreign language other than Spanish, French, Latin, or German. For data from 2005 and 2009, expanded foreign language coursetaking is based upon classes in Amharic (Ethiopian), Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek (Classical or Modern), Hawaiian, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norse (Norwegian), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, or Yiddish. The distribution of graduates among the various levels of foreign language courses was determined by the level of the most academically advanced course they completed. Graduates who had completed courses in different languages were counted according to the highest level course completed. Graduates may have completed advanced levels of courses without having taken courses at lower levels while in high school. Some estimates have been revised from previous publication in America's Children.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Transcript Studies: High School and Beyond Study of 1980 Sophomores (1982) and National Assessment of Educational Progress Transcript Study (1987, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2005, and 2009).