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The Ongoing Educational Anomaly of Earth Science Placement
This paper examines the implications of an unplanned experiment in which a high-school level earth science curriculum was presented to college juniors and seniors. The study confirmed the difficulty of a science that has traditionally been viewed as one of the least challenging options at the college level. It showed that most people arrive at college with little or no prior knowledge in the geosciences, a failing of our current K-12 science requirements and sequencing. Furthermore, it suggests that Earth Science may be best suited for pre-college students who have mastered physical/biological science foundations, and have attained the ability to reason and think abstractly. The report concludes that Earth Science should not be relegated solely to earlier grades, or solely to under-achievers, but that it must be viewed as a culminating course, offering its students the ability to tie in prior knowledge with widely-observed everyday geoscience applications.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Graduate / Professional
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Journal article
  • Educational theory and practice
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
We encourage the reuse and dissemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is retained.
DLESE Catalog ID: EVAL-TLKT-000-000-000-128
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE)

Contributor: Paula Messina
Geology Department and Program in Science Education
San Jose State University

Contributor: Paul Speranza
Lafayette High School, Brooklyn, NY