Nearly half of all high school students living in rural areas or small towns in the United States attend schools that offer just one to three advanced mathematics courses beyond Algebra 2 or geometry, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire in Durham found that urban and suburban schools, on average, offer three to four times as many higher-level math courses as their rural counterparts do. In suburban high schools, in comparison, just 15 percent of high school students attend schools with as few advanced math courses. The comparable figure for urban schools is 11 percent.
The study also finds that 58 percent of high school students in urban areas and 41 percent of their suburban counterparts can choose from seven or more advanced math courses—an opportunity afforded to only 10 percent of rural high school students. Author Suzanne Graham said her findings have implications for ongoing efforts to expand the pipeline of students pursuing studies in the science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, fields at the college level.
A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2010 edition of Education Week as Rural Students