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New science requirements start with next year's freshmen

Dec. 23, 2013

More rigorous science requirements will kick off next year with the new class of freshmen, the Wauwatosa School Board clarified Dec. 9 when it amended its graduation requirement policy to reflect the changes. Students already in high school will not have to adhere to the new standards.

"I think this helps clarify so there is no confusion for any students who might think they have different requirements than when they started," School Board Member Anne Fee said.

All students who start high school in the 2013-14 school-year or later will have to take one more science credit, bringing the requirement to three. They will be required to take at least one year of biological science and one year of physical science.

The board also clarified that as a result of the extra science credit, students will be required to take one fewer elective credit, a total of eight during their four years. Students will still need 23 credits to graduate.

The requirement changes are part of a district push to boost science performance after an audit found a lack of connection in the curriculum, and ACT scores in the subject were weak. Last school-year, Wauwatosa's science scores on the college admission test were the lowest among nine area districts — Elmbrook, Whitefish Bay, Mequon-Thiensville, New Berlin, Shorewood, Nicolet, Pewaukee and Menomonee Falls.

The district has also proposed adding full-year advanced courses in science, which would be a step up from the base classes in each subject, but not as difficult as advanced placement courses for college credit. Advanced biology could be introduced in 2014-15, with advanced chemistry and physics coming the following year.

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