Making High School Course Registration Like College

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TrademarkTer, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I've always wondered why they don't make high school course registration more like college. That is, give students a list of classes and teachers, and have them make their own schedules. Let them switch around their schedules until after the first week or so of school. Of course, the program would notify students if they are missing a particular course needed for graduation. Guidance counselors could still review and advise as needed. Does anyone work in a school that does something like this?
     
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  3. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Having students choose their teachers at the HS level can be problematic.
     
  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Perhaps, but once the course is full, they'd have to find another one to register for.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My student are already able to choose their electives. That seems to be enough without it turning into a rush for the most popular teacher. Also, any class first or last period would be avoided like the plague.
     
  6. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    They’d have to know the anticipated numbers before kids even register. I don’t know what I’m teaching until after registration and there may or may not be enough numbers to run a class (which in turn can make me part time). What happens if only 5 kids register for a course at a specific time? They can’t run the course and the kids’ schedules are all messed up. I think now kids choose their courses and counselors put them in classes based on what period the courses run and availability . Seniors get first choice. I think it’s less chaotic that way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  7. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Or “easiest.”
     
  8. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I like the idea I just wonder how complicated it would be. If it was an ideal situation I feel like it would already be in place.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Most of the freshmen and sophomores still aren't able to make good decisions yet. They do well to choose their own electives.

    Our school offers dual-credit classes for juniors and seniors, so they are registering like college students at that point.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our students sit down with their teacher-advisor to register. We show them what they have to take and then use their list to see what else they want. We have the master schedule in front of us when we do that. It works really well, but for the most part there's only one teacher per course. Therefore, there's no real way to try to pick an "easy" or "favorite" teacher. We will also run a class with only 1-2 kids in it, so we don't deal with the low enrollment issue either. We schedule in batches and we input the numbers into a spreadsheet, so we can easily see when a class is full.
     
  11. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    In the public system I see several major reason not to schedule that way. First, budget is limited so most schools have students pick what they want for electives and then develop the timetable around those interests. Because there is a budget and only so many courses that can be run, they need to know how many kids want a specific course before they create the timetable. Second, its an equity issue. Who do you think would be best prepared for this first come/first serve system? I'd wager kids from advantaged homes.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Terrible idea. I actually didn't like the college system that much in college, so see it as the wrong tool when every student needs to meet the requirements for graduation in a set time frame. Mess it up in college, and you pay for more courses and take longer to earn your degree.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What value do you think would be added to the process by allowing high school students to select their courses, teachers, and periods/schedules?
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree about electives. For some students having to choose between mariachi, culinary, and Spanish induces enough anxiety. I can't imagine them having to figure out whether to take AP World History during 3rd or 4th period--and what would even be the difference there?
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Mariachi? Migod, your school sounds fantastic.

    Bear in mind, I absolutely give my advisory students a say over which subjects they take at which time, but with a great deal of guidance. Also, my school only has one teacher per core subject, so that takes out any popularity contests there.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I completely agree about the relationship between registration and scheduling. Our students register in the early spring, and it takes the counselors months to build a master schedule using that info.

    College is different because there is more flexibility in terms of class sizes. We've all been in college classes with 200 students, but you don't generally see that in high school. I'm sure that a college would still run a course even if only 140 students signed up, for example, whereas in high school they often won't run a course with fewer than XX number of students.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We have an amazing mariachi program. =)

    We also have a very small high school with one teacher per subject. It's a difficult balance sometimes, especially when it comes to higher level courses which will naturally have fewer students due to prerequisites and interests. Those courses will have fewer students, but they will still take up a valuable period of the teacher's schedule. If Mr. Mariachi is teaching Advanced Vihuela to 8 kids, that's one less section for the other students to pick from. This happens over and over again, with Mrs. Math and her small AP Stats class, Ms. Spanish and her advanced hispanohablantes class, Mrs. Computers and her advanced coding class, etc. Students have got a smaller range of courses to pick from, and they're limited by what they have taken already. Being tasked with selecting everything on their own would cause a lot of my students to get frustrated, honestly. At a larger school it might be different, but I still don't see much benefit.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I attended a school like that. It was a public residential school for gifted and talented students. We made our own schedules and got them approved by our faculty advisor. Then there was a drop/add period.
     
  19. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    My high school scheduling experience mimicked college, waaay back in the 1980s. Our school was pretty large, about 600 students per grade level. We filled out a course interest form so admin knew how many sections of a course were needed. I remember waiting in line to get a card for each course I wanted (no dangling chads). When I registered at college it was just the same, although the "pit", as it was called was on a much larger scale. Once waited 45 minutes for someone to drop a course I wanted. Met some of my best study group friends this way.

    Computers have taken this experience away.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    We had some choice in HS. We chose electives and which foreign language we wanted to take. As we got into junior and senior year, there were a lot more choices because there was more flexibility with the basic requirements out of the way. For example, I took 4 years of Spanish, but only 2 years of foreign language were required. My senior year, I didn't take a math class at all, since I hated math and had already completed the requirements needed for college (only 3 years needed, and I'd taken up through pre-calc already). For chemistry and physics, you could choose to take a half year course or a full year course. I chose full year for both. People that did the full year options were able to sign up for "chemistry 2" or "physics 2" senior year if they wanted; I chose to take an additional History class instead. For history/social studies, you could either take full year AP classes (world history junior year, government senior year) or choose half year classes with different topics offered. I took a half year ancient history class just because I liked the teacher and subject matter, even though I was also enrolled in the AP courses. The year after I graduated they also started offering AP psychology as an elective; I would have loved to take something like that!

    I think the way my school had it set up made sense. I think letting everyone make their own schedule just for the heck of it sounds like a logistical nightmare, and like a pp mentioned, many of those "choices" aren't really even all that important, like taking a class 3rd period vs. 4th period. I went to a small university, so I assume this isn't the same everywhere, but then again, my university was probably closer to the size of many high schools. When we registered, it wasn't a complete free for all. They had already decided which professors were teaching which classes at certain times. For example, Biology 101 might only be offered at 8 AM on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. There was no way to really build a class schedule just based on time preferences or professor preferences. Our classes were capped at 25 students and after the first semester of freshman year, the order in which you were allowed to register was determined by your GPA.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

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    I would like it if pre-requisites actually meant pre-requisites. At my school it is code for "the higher level science teachers want you have these courses before you take theirs, but since you're cute and your parents might make a fuss if you don't get what you want, it means you have to beg those teachers to teach you everything from the courses you skipped in 30-minute tutoring sessions after school."
     
  22. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    My high school just had too many people to make college-style registration anywhere near possible. We had too many choices as well. You chose if you were going to do honors math and science or regular, 6 or 7 classes, block, combo, or regular for history and ELA, and which foreign language you wanted. Starting junior year you could pick which PE (mandatory 4 years of gym), honors, regular or base level ELA, and you could start taking APs if you met the prerequisite number of credits. The counselors would come around to different classes and you'd all go to a tech lab and sign up together, then they'd figure out your schedules once everyone was in the system.

    I shake my fist at course book errors. I should have been allowed to take AP bio, but I wasn't because a teacher wouldn't waive an unrelated prerequisite. Physics was required before any AP science, but the course book said you could get around it if both the teacher of the course and the dept. head agreed. The AP teacher agreed; the dept. head pitched a fit at me for even asking. I was the best bio student they had and they knew it - I was on the varsity science team and was the regional bio champ at the time. Nope, I got yelled at plus an angry email to my mom for asking because the dept. head was unaware that the course book said you could get prerequisites waived and thought it was the height of hubris that I asked. I would never have tried if it weren't in the book and I hadn't already gotten waivers for another class.

    Then I almost didn't graduate college on time because there was an error in the course book and I didn't know I had to take a certain class. I had my gen. eds waived because I was in the honors program, but apparently I needed one of them for teaching and no one told me until I was in my student teaching semester. Mercifully, because it wasn't in the book, the let me substitute some of my honors research credits for that class. Registration itself was easy because I had honors early registration and bumping rights. It was only a mess the semester I had to be in three classes at the same time.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think the major issue is making sure that each student has the requirements they need to graduate and keep the doors open for college and that they attain this within 4 years. As long as the registration system required students to register for particular courses (English, Math, etc.) during certain parts of the quarter I don't think it would be an issue.

    In fact it would probably be the exact same thing as what we have now, just digitized, since kids already choose their electives and such in most schools.

    I guess another issue is determining who has priority registration? Seniors who need to get a particular course might have to have priority over a Freshman who is just looking to take an advanced class.

    Such digital systems can be easier to use for administrators and counselors especially if they can program in the requirements and such, but they also sometimes offer less flexibility to students in that a student transferring from a certain school may have a pre-requisite, but the system doesn't acknowledge it because of whatever reason, and so the student has to wait to meet with a counselor to straighten everything out, meanwhile, the spots in the class they want might be filling up.
     
  24. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    In our HS, students can choose their courses to a degree, but not the teacher. For example, on the minimum track they have to get Algebra 1 plus another math class (we offer many different ones such as accounting, etc) they can choose.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The reason I never took Algebra II in high school was that my schedule was such that I would have had the guy I'd had for geometry again, and that wasn't. going. to. happen. I could probably have put up with another year of my name being mangled, but another year of skirts being looked up, whether or not I was the one in them, was more than I could bear.
     
  26. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    I never took it either. I took Geometry and something called Math & Money (life skills math)...
     

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