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Title: The interaction between high school curriculum and first year college courses: the case of computing
Authors: Yahya, Adnan
Issue Date: Jan-2010
Publisher: ResearchGate
Abstract: Many countries, including those in the developing world, have introduced mandatory Information Technology (IT) courses for high school (HS) students. This was motivated by the importance of IT skills for the general population in view of the widespread use of computers. The HS curriculum is frequently decided upon by university faculty, with university needs very much in mind. A steady shift of introductory college level material to HS curriculum is observed. With all the positive effects of IT HS education, the issue of how to modify the first year computing courses to account for the material transferred to HS had to be addressed. The problem is complicated by the nonuniform adoption of IT education in high schools even within a single country, the varying emphasis on theory vs. practice in HS courses and the differences in the availability of resources at high schools, inadequacy of testing procedures and, in the case of many developing countries, the language of instruction difference between HS and college. Ignoring the HS curriculum when designing college level courses is a waste of resources and may render the college classes boring for many students. Accounting for the HS computing education at the college level may require a suite of placement tests. Even then, it may not be straightforward to figure out how to modify each of the introductory college courses to account for the HS material. On the example of the completely revamped IT education in Palestinian schools, which introduced mandatory technology education for grades 5-12 for all HS students, we discuss the dilemma of how to account for the HS IT knowledge and skills at the college level, especially the way this should affect the first computing courses at the college level, which has been a topic of debate in the last years.
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