Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM
CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL EARTH SCIENCE AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: A PROGRESS REPORT
Earth and Space Science classes offered in high school increase the potential numbers of students who will major in these fields in college. California high schools science curricula follow the fields specified in the "d" laboratory science admission requirement of the University of California (UC). The UC requirement specifies "biology, chemistry, and physics" as acceptable fields. Two years-long efforts to bring the UC admission criteria into conformance with the National Science Education Standards by adding the words "Earth and Space Sciences" included one spearheaded by myself in 2003-2007, and another in 2008-2010, spearheaded by UC Santa Barbara Earth Science Professor Bruce Luyendyk, aided by UCLA Earth Sciences Professor Ray Ingersoll, high school teachers Wendy Van Norden and Tom Traeger, and myself. These efforts had the support of many UC faculty including National Academy of Sciences members, most of the UC-wide Science Deans, two Presidents of the National Academy of Science Presidents, and hundreds of non-UC California Earth Science educators. These efforts were unsuccessful, owing in part to the steadfast opposition of the UC Academic Senate Board on Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS). BOARS argued that the "d" requirement addresses college preparation whereas the National Standards address science literacy (thus implying that UC students and graduates need not be wholly science-literate!). Subsequently, the BOARS Chair encouraged submission of an advanced course in Earth and Space Sciences to qualify for the "d" requirement. An Honors Earth Science course designed by Wendy Van Norden, and including prerequisites of algebra, biology and chemistry, successfully received UC's "d" certification, and is slowly spreading to California high schools as resources and qualified teachers permit (a few schools have adopted it so far). High schools that adopt this course give students an opportunity to receive UC "d" admission credit for it.