Portage Public Schools 2004 High School Science Curriculum Revision
Dueweke, Thomas J.
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Portage Public Schools (PPS) is a moderately affluent school district that enjoys high levels of student achievement (see www.portageps.org). On November 24, 2003, the PPS Board of Education approved a proposal for revisions to their science curriculum. At the high school level, the revisions would require all students to take four sequential semesters of science as 9th and 10th graders – physics, chemistry, biology and earth science. Highly motivated students would be able to take honors versions of the four. The proposal was the culmination of a concerted planning effort that spanned the previous year, the work of a science curriculum review committee that consisted of 42 diverse members, including teachers, professors and parents. A well-organized group of parents voiced several concerns leading up to, and well after, approval of the proposal. Implementation will begin in the Fall of 2004. This report begins by addressing the impetus for the science curriculum revision, examining the trends in science education that support the PPS curriculum revision. A description of the PPS revision plan and its delivery to the public then follows, including the major concerns of vocal parents. Finally, a survey of approximately 120 students at Portage Central High School (PCHS, http://www.portageps.org/schools/high/chs/info/chs_ar_03-04.htm) was used to gather information on student views of science and the proposed revisions. Some of the data addresses how appropriate the proposed curriculum changes are for upcoming PCHS students. Discussion of the survey results and some conclusions regarding the prospects for successful implementation of the proposed science curriculum changes will conclude this work.
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