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High school math boosts college science

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on July 26, 2007

A Harvard press release details a new study showing that preparation in high school mathematics predicts better grades in college biology, chemistry, and physics. The study was conducted by Philip M. Sadler of Harvard and Robert H. Tai of the University of Virginia, and their journal article will be released in Science this week. Sadler and Tai surveyed 8,474 students taking “introductory science courses” at 63 colleges and universities and found interesting relationships between years of high school coursework and college grades. While the amount of high school background in each subject correlates with college performance for that same subject, only high school mathematics demonstrates the “halo effect” that improves college scores in other fields.

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