Commemorate the arrival of Florida’s biology end-of-course exam with this from the National Academy of Education

From the academy’s 2009 white paper on science and mathematics education:

The most common course sequence in [high school] science is Biology followed by Chemistry and Physics. This sequence is “out of order” in scientific terms, however. In biology class, 9th graders are introduced to the complex molecules within cells and the structure of DNA even though they know little about atoms and next to nothing about the chemistry and physics that can help them make sense of these structures and their functions. Furthermore, because of the limited course requirements in most states, standard science course sequence often means in practice that many high school students never study physics at all…

…Efforts have been made to change the standard sequence of biology, chemistry, and physics. But the 10th-grade science test that most states require emphasizes biology and thereby reinforces the existing sequence. Alternatives such as teaching all areas of science every year, or reversing the sequence by putting a physics course first, have been tried but typically without investing in the curriculum and professional development required to realize the potential of such change.

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