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Saturday, October 24, 2015

State universities up admission requirements

Photo: Gerry Tuoti
"New requirements for high school math and science are coming for students applying to state universities in Massachusetts." summarizes Gerry Tuoti, Regional Newsbank Editor for GateHouse Media New England  


Students entering a state university in fall 2016 will be required to have completed four years of high school math and must take a math course their senior year. Beginning in fall 2017, incoming students will also need to have finished three years of lab-based science, technology or engineering courses during high school.  

Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago said the new minimum admissions standards are an effort to increase students’ college readiness and meet the needs of the state economy’s growing high-tech sector.  The new standards have been in the works for approximately four years and will apply to state universities and the University of Massachusetts system. The new standards will not affect community college admissions.  

The Hamilton-Wenham Regional Public School District already mandates such coursework to graduate from the Hamilton Wenham Regional High School.  

Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School Principal Eric Tracy said students must take four years of mathematics courses as well as three years worth of lab science courses. 

 “Our guidance team really helps students and families to be sure they have at least what the State colleges want,”  Tracy said.  

District Superintendent Michael Harvey echoed Tracy’s comments. 

“Most, if not all, of our students were already taking four years of math and at least three, and in most cases four, years of science even before the state requirements,” he said. “The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education implemented the MASS Core graduation standards in 2007, so I would be surprised to see any public high schools in Massachusetts not already having students meet them.” 

In addition, those enrolled in the classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017 must complete a “Regional Exit Portfolio” as part of their coursework. Requirements for graduates in the class of 2018 will include individualized capstone projects as well as 50 hours of community service.  

The HWRSD may be prepping their students for the educational road ahead, but other districts are still attempting to keep pace.  

Many students entering public higher education, Santiago said, are not prepared for college-level math. They often end up in non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics courses.  

“There was a realization that upward of 40 percent of students who successfully complete the MCAS still have to remediate in college,” he said. “The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education moved forward the curriculum frameworks, a set of courses aligned with college, and we joined them and came up with the MassCore curriculum.”
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Source: Wicked Local Hamilton