Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 9:50 AM


IVERSEN, Eve Helene, Sustainable Agriculture/Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, 731 Walnut St, Story City, IA 50248,

Earth Science is often the first discipline specific high school science class students take. As political pressure builds to increase the use of standardized tests beyond “...reading, writing, and [a]rithmatic…” science educators have been developing both state and national standards. Depending on the jurisdiction the standards can be goals, guidelines, or enforceable rules. The educators who write the frameworks try to set challenges that will stretch the minds of students while developing new skills that can be taken into succeeding classes.

The problems come when the basic academic skills the standards assume exist are weak, or nonexistent. I am presenting some specific cases I have dealt with in San Francisco Bay Area, California urban public high schools. Problems ranged from students with reading skills far below grade level, to those who had not had a science class in several years. A few were being tossed in a storm of gangs, violence, and economic stress. Other students did not speak English as their primary language.

My conclusion is that a remedial geoscience education program should be developed. It should cover a wide range of topics including ways to adapt an Earth Science class to fit the needs of physically or developmentally disabled students. The program must also represent the wide range of fields within Geoscience so that it can be useful in many parts of the country. At its core of the program should inspire students to think beyond “passing the test” and see a field where they can become important participants.