Improving Rigor and Relevance in the High School CurriculumReportar como inadecuado

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Even a cursory review of the literature on secondary school reform makes a compelling case for why Iowa's secondary schools need to change. Experts agree that all youth will need to leave high school capable of taking advantage of post-secondary educational opportunities if they are to expect "economic success--even survival--in an economy where the exchange of information dominates the world of work" ("On Course for Success," 2004, p. 1). Information from the U.S. Department of Labor (2003) shows dramatic financial benefits gained through graduation from college, with college graduates earning nearly twice as much as those with only high school degrees and being much more likely to find employment and adapt to the changing workforce. Even those with associate degrees can expect to earn at least 20 percent more than their peers with only high school diplomas. Problems with engagement and post-secondary education point to a clear need to reconsider not only what is taught in Iowa's high schools, but also how it is taught. One response debated by many districts in Iowa is to increase graduation requirements. Efforts to improve teaching and learning in secondary schools are rife in the literature and have involved nearly all aspects of schooling. Three widely agreed upon principles have been demonstrated to create rigorous learning experiences: (1) good teaching is central to improving achievement; (2) teachers must identify rigorous, well-defined curriculum standards, benchmarks, and corresponding assessments; and (3) all stakeholders must hold high expectations for student performance. (Contains 3 graphics.)

Descriptors: High Schools, Secondary School Curriculum, Educational Quality, Educational Change, College Graduates, College Bound Students, Educational Improvement, Relevance (Education), Cooperative Learning, Faculty Development, Academic Standards, Education Work Relationship

Iowa Department of Education. Grimes State Office Building, 400 East 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0146. Tel: 515-281-5294; Fax: 515-242-5988; Web site:

Autor: Iowa Department of Education


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