The Florida Department of Education was already the best in the nation for reporting on K-12 course enrollments at the state, district and school levels. This spring they even improved upon that by adding dual enrollment courses to their course enrollment spreadsheets.
But adding dual enrollment courses into the now-traditional Bridge to Tomorrow analysis of district course enrollment rates for the high school subjects recommended by the American Society for Engineering Education (chemistry, physics, precalculus and calculus) didn’t change this – Seminole and Brevard Counties are still the best districts in Florida at preparing students for college STEM majors.
The course enrollment rate for a district in a particular subject (chemistry, physics, precalculus or calculus) is given by the number of students in all high school grades (9-12) enrolled in the subject divided by the number of 12th graders in the district, multiplied by 100. This way of calculating a course enrollment rate is intended to approximate the course-taking rate, which can only be determined by examining transcripts.
While the plots below use Spring 2019 course enrollments, the numbers of 12th graders (used as the denominator in calculating course enrollment rates) are those measured in the Fall of 2018.
The “STEM Career Prep Index” is the sum of the course enrollment rates for chemistry, physics, precalculus and calculus. Seminole and Brevard Counties top the STEM Career Prep Index ranking again for Spring 2019.
It’s worth noting that in 2015 we contacted state departments of education around the nation to determine physics enrollment rates for other states. Thirty-one jurisdictions (thirty states plus DC) responded. The “national” physics course enrollment rate determined in that survey was 40 enrollments per 100 12th graders, which was close to the national physics-taking rate of 39% determined by the American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Group for the national high school graduating class of 2013. Only three school districts in Florida – Brevard, Seminole and Monroe – have physics enrollment rates that exceed the “national” 40 students per 100 12th graders rate.