Precollege mathematics and science education provides a foundation for subsequent higher education and employment in science and engineering. Although gains have been made by females and underrepresented minorities (i.e., blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians) in mathematics and science coursetaking and achievementas measured by elementary and secondary assessment test scores and college entrance examination scoressome differences remain when compared to male and white students. Differences in mathematics and science coursetaking and achievement also exist between students with disabilities and those without. These differences by sex, race/ethnicity, and disability status in coursetaking and achievement can become a basis for unequal technological, mathematics, and science literacy as well as unequal participation in further mathematics and science education and subsequent S&E employment.
This chapter examines differences in mathematics and science coursetaking and achievement among women, minorities, and students with disabilities; discusses factors related to elementary and secondary school coursetaking in mathematics and science; and presents high school completion rates.