Want to Go to UMass? Get in the Lab

By Sarah Birnbaum

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June 20, 2012

test tubes

 
BOSTON — Massachusetts high school students will soon be required to take at least 3 years of lab-based science classes to get into the state's public universities. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education announced the new entry requirements on June 19.
 
Currently, students looking to get into a four-year university in Massachusetts have to take 3 years of high school science but only 2 of them need to be lab-based. And those classes have to be in biology, physics or chemistry.
 
Starting in 2017, high school seniors will need to have 3 years of lab-based science courses instead of 2. And classes in computers, engineering and technology will count.
 
Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville said the new entry requirements would better prepare Massachusetts college grads to compete in key industries.
 
“Engineering and technology should be a prominent part of our curriculum and part of our admissions requirements," he said. "Because that’s where the future is in terms of jobs that are coming to Massachusetts."
 
He added that the emphasis on experimentation and problem-solving would persuade more kids with scientific inclinations to stay in the sciences:
 
"We have what I call an 'inspiration gap' in Massachusetts. We do better than any other state on average in terms of student test scores in math and science. And yet when our students expressed what they’re interested in majoring in college, we are well below the national average in terms of interest expressed in STEM majors. Kids aren’t excited."
 
Reville said he worries traditional science education shuts out too many kids at a time when the state needs more scientists and lab technicians.
 

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