Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


INGERSOLL, Raymond V., Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 and VAN NORDEN, Wendy E., Science, Harvard-Westlake School, 3700 Coldwater Canyon, Studio City, CA 91604,

College-bound high-school students rarely have any exposure to Earth Science. Earth Science may be offered to middle-school students, but if it is offered in High School, it is usually a watered-down course offered to the weakest students. In contrast, our best and brightest students are steered toward biology, chemistry and physics, what many schools consider "real science". As a direct result, our population is not literate in Earth Science and few students choose to study Earth Science in college. One way to counteract this trend is to offer a rigorous capstone Earth Science or Geology course to high-school juniors and seniors. Offering a course does not guarantee enrollment, however, because top science students are commonly too busy taking Advanced Placement courses to consider non-AP courses. For that reason, the best way to lure top students into studying Earth Science or Geology is to create a duel-credit course, for which students receive both high-school and college credit. Collaboration between high-school teachers and college professors can result in a quality honors Earth Science or Geology course that bridges the gap between middle-school and college Earth Science or Geology. Harvard-Westlake School (HW) has successfully offered a duel-credit Honors Geology course with UCLA, and has created a model that can be used by other schools. Students receive Honors designation for this course (which provides an extra grade point for college admission) and a UCLA transcript with graded credit for a 5-quarter-unit Introduction to Earth Science. Enrollment in Honors Geology at HW has increased each year since the first offering in 2006-07, as students and their parents realized that this capstone course might actually be helping their college-admissions prospects, and satisfied students spread the word about this excellent science option.