Science

Interest in Physics Growing Steadily at Secondary Level

By Sean Cavanagh — January 23, 2007 1 min read

The number of students taking high school physics continues to climb, and that growth is occurring across a broad spectrum of courses with different levels of rigor, new research shows.

About 1.1 million students in 2005 took at least one physics course before they graduated, an 18 percent increase from four years earlier, according to estimates collected by the American Institute of Physics. In addition, 31 percent of seniors in public schools took or were enrolled in a physics course, compared with 28 percent four years before, according to the AIP, located in College Park, Md.

Enrollment in Physics Courses in U.S. High Schools

*Click image to see the full chart.

20tl c1s

SOURCE: American Institute of Physics

The biggest growth is occuring in “conceptual” physics courses, or classes that rely on less advanced mathematics, said Michael Neuschatz, a senior research associate at the AIP’s statistical-research center. The percentage of students taking a conceptual-physics course rose from 11 percent to 14 percent from 2001 to 2005. But the proportion of students enrolled in both honors and advanced classes in the subject also climbed during that period, Mr. Neuschatz said.

“It’s not being done at the expense of more advanced physics,” he said in an interview, referring to the growth in conceptual courses. “There has been a broadening of the curriculum.”

He presented the research at a joint meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Astronomical Society, held in Seattle this month.

The growth in conceptual physics, Mr. Neuschatz added, is taking place among students throughout high school, not just freshmen. Only a small percentage of the overall 9th grade population—about 5 percent combined in public and private schools—takes physics first, he noted.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Superintendent, Mount Pleasant CSD
Thornwood, New York
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
Instructional Designer Level 2
United States
K12 Inc.
Director of Headstart
New Haven, CT, US
New Haven Public Schools
Director of Headstart
New Haven, CT, US
New Haven Public Schools

Read Next

Science Opinion Ten Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies for the Science Classroom
Four teachers share how they implement culturally responsive instruction in their science classrooms.
13 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Science Remembering Challenger, 35 Years After Space Shuttle Tragedy
The launch had a lasting impact on a generation of teachers and children who watched.
3 min read
In this Sept. 13, 1985 file photo, Christa McAuliffe tries out the commander's seat on the flight deck of a shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
In this Sept. 13, 1985 file photo, Christa McAuliffe tries out the commander's seat on the flight deck of a shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
AP
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Whitepaper
How to promote equity using analogous phenomena
Having real-world connections promotes equity and enhances sensemaking for all students.
Content provided by Carolina Biological
Science Opinion How to Make Science Class Relevant During the Pandemic
COVID-19 and climate change prove why science standards can't ignore real-world concerns, write Andrew Zucker and Pendred Noyce.
Andrew Zucker & Pendred Noyce
5 min read
07Zucker IMG
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty