Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3227 High School science way back when

Although I didn't know it until a few minutes ago, my high school science curriculum was similar to my grandmother's and was established by The Committee of Ten back in 1893. It seems I had a lot more science instruction than many students get today. Freshman: General Science; Sophomore: Biology; Junior: Physics; Senior: Chemistry. Even over 100 years ago, there was a debate on the amount of "hands-on" time and lab work a student needed for a good science education. The authors propose that biology has become so complex that it needs some understanding of physics and chemistry and needs a different spot in the sequence. However, they point out:

"The Committee of Ten report may be considered an "old document" by many contemporary players in education, but it holds an important place in science education history as a reform document that brought science teaching and learning to the forefront of education. More than 100 years after the report was issued, most of our schools still offer high school science courses in the sequence suggested by the Committee of Ten. Science education is still debating what criteria should define the coherence of our science curriculum to lead to scientific literacy for all. If there is one lesson to be learned from my argument, it is that the Committee of Ten did not anticipate that more than 100 years later its recommendations would continue to be a matter of dispute and that one of the subjects proposed to improve the learning experience of our high school students is still a subject of plasticity in the reform efforts during the twenty-first century."

This is a very interesting article in a great on-line journal, CBE Life Sciences Education. Browsing the 2006 issues, I see an article on best web sites for science in each issue, as well as great book reviews.

See the article about the Committee of 10 at High School Biology Today; What the committee of ten did not anticipate

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