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High school students are taking more academic courses than their counterparts did a generation ago, rebounding nearly to the level of the late 1920's, a University of Michigan survey shows.

Student enrollment in academic courses--English, mathematics, science, foreign language, and social studies--dropped from 67 percent in the 1920's to a low of 57 percent in 1961. Enrollment in non-academic courses--industrial arts, home economics, health and physical education, and music--increased from 33 percent to 43 percent in 1961.

For 1990, figures show that high school students earned 66 percent of their credits in academic courses and 34 percent in non-academic courses.

The statistics suggest that efforts over the past 20 years to raise education standards are having an effect, said David L. Angus, a professor of educational history at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Angus and Jeffrey Mirel, an associate professor at Northern Illinois University, based the survey on high school course registration, which the federal government has tracked since the late 19th century.

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