Math matters. The links between high school curriculum, college graduation, and earnings. (English)

Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, CA (ISBN 1-58213-029-9). 176 p. (2001).

The purpose of this report is to answer a series of broad questions: 1. What kind of math courses do which students take? Is there a link between the type of math courses that students take, the probability that students earn a college degree, and their future earnings? 2. If there is a link, does it reflect the effect that math courses have on students’ productivity and therefore earnings, or does it merely reflect other underlying factors, such as a student’s ability and motivation? (These other factors may determine both the level of math courses that a student takes and his or her future earnings.) 3. What are the policy implications of the study’s findings? This report focuses on the relationship between mathematics curriculum and earnings because a student’s earnings are arguably the ultimate measure of how well schools prepare students for the labor market, and because recent evidence indicates that math achievement is more strongly correlated with labor market success than other measures of student achievement. Despite the importance of math courses, the authors extend the analysis to other subjects as well.