University of Maryland Newsdesk. www.newsdesk.umd.edu
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2007
Contacts: David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or email@example.com
Maryland Education Professor Says HSA Senior Projects Can Work
The high school class of 2009 in Maryland must pass four High School Assessment (HSA) tests - in algebra; English; national, state and local government; and biology - in order to graduate. For those students who are unable to pass one or more of these tests, Maryland Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick is proposing an alternative way to graduate. Seniors would do projects based on the core area tests they were unable to pass. Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and Professor of Education Patricia Alexander (Human Development) says senior projects for students who have not passed HSA exams could work - provided they meet five criteria:
||Education Professor Patricia Alexander is a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland
- First, it would have to be a well-chosen problem or inquiry-based project that is sufficiently complex and relevant to the learner to merit investigation and that would require a level of thought, exploration and presentation that would reveal the knowledge, skills and strategies of the participant(s). In other words, the project must answer a meaningful and demanding question, requiring substantive research and performance on the part of the student or students.
- Second, the ability to adequately explore and address complex and relevant questions requires the availability of essential information from varied sources, as well as on-going support and guidance from knowledgeable and skilled advisers. Teachers may well require professional development in how to structure, support and guide such an experience.
- Third, the means must be in place to ascertain what the student has demonstrated through this experience, both in terms of the knowledge shown in the outcome, as well as the thinking, reasoning, and level of linguistic or mathematical performance displayed.
- Fourth, the complexity of the questions explored in such inquiry projects are often associated with group efforts or team collaboration over an extended period of time. Under such circumstances, it would be critical to ensure that the individual contributions of students can be effectively monitored or tracked.
- Fifth, if the senior project is rigorous enough to be considered an alternative to the HSA, then logically it should be available to those students who would likely pass their HSA's but would prefer the Senior Research Project experience.