For the 2017-18 school year, Seminole and Brevard Counties are again ranked first and second in Florida for how well they prepare students for college majors in STEM fields.
The STEM Career Prep Index accounts for the rates at which high school students enroll in chemistry, physics, precalculus and calculus courses. For each subject, an enrollment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of course enrollments for grades 9-12 in a district by the number of 12th graders and multiplying by 100. The STEM Career Prep Index is the sum of enrollment rates for the four subjects.
The rankings for the STEM Career Prep Index and the enrollment rates for the four subjects are shown in plots at the end of this post.
The enrollment rates were calculated using fall course enrollment figures supplied by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) and fall school membership numbers available on the FLDOE’s EdStats system. The FLDOE said that the course enrollment numbers are still considered preliminary and subject to revision. The school membership numbers are final.
Dual enrollment courses are not counted here because FLDOE does not include those courses in its enrollment reports.
The two traditional Florida powerhouses – Brevard and Seminole – separate themselves from the rest of the state by steering large segments of their high school populations into physics classes. Seminole County high school students enroll in physics classes at nearly twice the rate of the third place district – Leon County. And Brevard’s enrollment rate in physics is even higher than Seminole’s.
But Seminole County edges ahead of Brevard by enrolling larger numbers of students in higher level math classes – Precalculus and Calculus.
A national study of high school physics enrollment rates performed in the summer of 2015 showed that Florida is in the lower tier of states in that subject. Among the 31 jurisdictions (30 states plus the District of Columbia) that responded to that survey, the physics enrollment rate was 39 enrollments per 100 12th graders. Only Brevard and Seminole Counties have physics enrollment rates higher than that national rate; even third place Leon comes in below the national standard.