A Note on Vertical Planning

Many teachers justify including Topic X and skill Y on a high school syllabus because colleges and universities expect students to have mastered topic X and skill Y for their courses. Not because Topic X is interesting or skill Y is necessary for success at the high school level, but because the next step expects it.

I wonder if the set of X and Y for high school teachers matches the set of X and Y for universities. I wonder how often university professors and high school teachers (and middle school or elementary teachers for that matter) get together to discuss this.

I wonder which of our assumptions about what the other thinks matches reality.



2 thoughts on “A Note on Vertical Planning

  1. You’ve hit the nail on the head. These last few years I’ve thought about this a lot as my own children have been in high school. I’m happy that I’ve found connections with both HS and college physics teachers, but this post reminds me that I could learn from non-physics teachers as well.

    I think I could both leverage X and Y better in my teaching and communicate more about the X’ and Y’ that I plan to teach, and learn more about the X” and Y” that HS teachers think would help HS students learn.

    My X’ and Y’: Differntial equations foundation of physics and design a lab from scratch to help learn about a standard (or learning objective).

    1. Thanks for this, Andy.

      I think we need people on both sides compiling their X and Y.

      I’ve met many teachers over my career that claim college preparation is the goal, but then use this as an excuse to teach like they think courses at university are taught (i.e. a focus on lecture and struggling blindly for hours until a solution is found). I don’t think this is actually the case at university either – that is why I love hearing from people like you that I know experiment with a number of models for effective use of class time. But I also don’t know what things are really like now. My university experience was a really great mix of different types of learning experiences.

      Thoughts like those linked here make me think we have a long way to go.

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