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Relevent high school studies
September 04, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 1 comment

The authors conclude that policy efforts to increase the share of high school students taking advanced courses are unlikely to The reviewed studies included a wide variety of methods of college preparation, from . weekly series of new analyses of policy, research, and practice relevant to U.S. education.

Professor David Perkins likes to tell this story: Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was getting on a train. One of his sandals slipped off and fell to the ground. The train was moving, and there was no time to go back. Without hesitation, Gandhi took off his second sandal and threw it toward the first. Asked by his colleague why he did that, he said one sandal wouldn’t do him any good, but two would certainly help someone else.

As Perkins writes in his new book, Future Wise, “People cherish the story as a marvelous example of a charitable act. And so it is, on a small scale, seizing a singular moment.”

But as he also points out, and as he told an audience at the Future of Learning institute held this past summer at the Ed School, it was more than that: It was also a knowledgeable act. By throwing that sandal, Gandhi had two important insights: He knew what people in the world needed, and he knew what to let go of.

Educators, Perkins says, need to embrace these same insights. They need to start asking themselves what he considers to be one of the most important questions in education: What's worth learning in school?

What’s worth learning in school? It’s a question that students have been lobbing at teachers for years, in a slightly different form.

“In the back of the class, there’s that idly waving hand,” Perkins writes. “You’ve been teaching long enough to be pretty sure that hand is going to go up as soon as you got started on this topic, and so it does, with an annoying indolence. All right. You gesture toward the hand, Let’s hear it.

“The student: ‘Why do we need to know this?’”

As a teacher, Perkins says he hates that question. Teachers work hard at what they do, and the question is disrespectful. Yet, he admits, the question is actually a good one — an “uppity version” of what’s worth learning in school. (It’s also one he admits having asked once or twice himself.)

“When that ballistic missile comes from the back of the room, it’s a good reminder that the question doesn’t just belong to state school boards, authors of textbooks, writers of curriculum standards, and other elite,” he says. “It’s on the minds of our students.”

That’s why Perkins decided to devote an entire book, and many lectures and discussions, to how that question gets answered.

These days, he says we teach a lot that isn’t going to matter, in a significant way, in students’ lives. There’s also much we aren’t teaching that would be a better return on investment. As a result, as educators, “we have a somewhat quiet crisis of content,” Perkins writes, “quiet not for utter lack of voices but because other concerns in education tend to muffle them.” These other concerns are what he calls rival learning agendas: information, achievement, and expertise.


For starters, most education has become a mastery of a very large body of information, even if it’s not what Perkins calls lifeworthy — likely to matter, in any meaningful way, in the lives learners are expected to live.

“It’s nice to know things. I like to know things. You like to know things,” Perkins says. “But there are issues of balance, particularly in the digital age. The information in textbooks is not necessarily what you need or would like to have at your fingertips.” Instead, even though most people would say that education should prepare you for life, much of what is offered in schools doesn’t work in that direction, Perkins says. Educators are “fixated” on building up students’ reservoirs of knowledge, often because we default to what has always been done.

“Conventional curriculum is chained to the bicycle rack,” he says. “It sits solidly in the minds of parents: ‘I learned that. Why aren’t my children learning it?’ The enormous investment in textbooks and the cost of revising them gives familiar elements of the curriculum a longer life span than they might perhaps deserve. Curriculum suffers from something of a crowded garage effect: It generally seems safer and easier to keep the old bicycle around than to throw it out.”

As a result, “the lifeworthiness of the multitudinous facts and ideas in the typical curriculum is spotty,” he says. “It seems not to have been thought through very carefully.”

And simply having a vast reservoir of knowledge isn’t helpful if it’s not being used. “Knowledge is for going somewhere,” Perkins says, not just for accumulating. But too often, we tend to focus on short-term successes — scoring well on a quiz, acing a spelling test. Unfortunately all of that test knowledge, all of that accumulated knowledge we thought was worth knowing, becomes useless if not used.

“The hard fact is that our minds hold on only to knowledge we have occasion to use in some corner of our lives,” Perkins writes. “Overwhelmingly, knowledge unused is forgotten. It’s gone.”

Here’s where, during the Future of Learning session, Perkins asked the audience to think about something they learned during the first dozen years of schooling that really matters in their lives today, beyond basics like learning to read and not including specialty professional skills.

“The frightening thing when I have these conversations is how hard it is for people to answer,” he says. “I find that frightening. It also says a lot about the current state of education.”

Take mitosis, the process of cell division. During the Future session, he asked everyone in the audience — hundreds of people — to raise their hands if they had studied mitosis in high school. Pretty much every hand went up. He asked how many people remember, basically, what it is. About half went up. He then asked how many have used their knowledge of mitosis in the last 10 years. One hand went up.

Perkins acknowledged that he personally finds mitosis fascinating and stressed that with learning, there should always be room for passion, “but in terms of generalized education and what everyone should learn, something like mitosis doesn’t score well.”


Just as educators are pushing students to build a huge reservoir of knowledge, they are also focused on having students master material, sometimes at the expense of relevance. This happens, for example, with the achievement gap. While Perkins is quick to say that the achievement gap is a highly important problem that should be taken seriously, in general, he says, “achievement” is about mastering a topic and less about providing lifeworthy content. The achievement gap asks if students are achieving X. Instead, it might be more useful to look at the relevance gap, which asks if X is going to matter to the lives students are likely to lead.

“If X is a good mastery of reading and writing, both questions earn a big yes!” Perkins says. “Skilled, fluent, and engaged reading and writing mark both a challenging gap and a high-payoff attainment. That knowledge goes somewhere. However, if X is quadratic equations, the answers don’t match. Mastering quadratic equations is challenging, but those equations are not so lifeworthy.” Perkins says we can fill in X with thousands of topics that make up the typical curriculum, such as geography. Students are drilled to remember state capitals and major rivers and rewarded as “achieving” when they score well. And while it’s nice and sometimes useful to know those things, Perkins argues that instead, knowing how the location of rivers and harbors and other features of the land have been shaped and continue to shape the course of history offers more in terms of lifelong usefulness — more so than “a bag full of facts. All that talk about achievement leaves little room for discussing what’s being achieved.”


And then there’s what Perkins calls “the Holy Grail” of learning in school: becoming an expert. The typical math curriculum is a good example of how we want learners to move toward expertise in a subject, with little regard for usefulness. Arithmetic leads to algebra, including many “hardly used twists and turns” of advanced algebra, then to geometry and calculus, “an entire subject that hardly anyone ever uses,” Perkins writes.

Unfortunately, if someone questions whether this expertise serves students well and instead suggests more life-relevant topics, Perkins says the common reaction is: “We’re sacrificing rigor!” But that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead of building during the first 12 years of schooling toward expertise in an advanced topic like calculus that hardly ever comes up in our lives, Perkins says students can instead become “expert amateurs” in something like statistics — a rigorous topic that is also used in daily life. In fact, expert amateurism works great, he says, in most of what we do in our lives — raising children, filing taxes, appreciating art, understanding insurance rates, or dealing with our own health care.

Perkins is very clear that expertise in a specific field is not bad; in fact, he encourages it and assumes it will happen at the college or university level. But he advocates that in today’s world, younger students need to first master the fundamentals of key learning and then decide where they want to specialize.

So we come back to the question: What is worth learning? In his book, Perkins promises that he is not going to answer that question, at least not in a tidy way. There’s no list of 1,000 things we must know or teach. Perkins says there would be no way to create a definitive list because there are lots of things worth learning at any given time or for a specialized career or even simply because we enjoy learning.

Instead, he does know that the encyclopedic approach to learning that happens in most schools that focuses primarily on achievement and expertise doesn’t make sense.

“The fixation on the heap of information in the textbooks is itself part of the problem because the world we are educating learners for is something of a moving target,” he says.

Historically, the first 12 or so years of schooling have focused on educating for the known, “the tried and true, the established canon,” he writes. “This made very good sense in the many periods and places where most children’s lives were likely to be more or less like their parents’ lives. However, wagering that tomorrow will be pretty much like yesterday does not seem to be a very good bet today. Perhaps we need a different vision of education, a vision that foregrounds educating for the unknown as much as for the known.”

And to do that, Perkins says we need to rethink what’s worth learning and what’s worth letting go of — in a radical way.

“We do kind of need to blow up the system and start fresh,” he says. “Well, maybe not blow up the whole thing, but at least some corners.”

One of those corners is the drive to educate through high-stakes testing, he says.

“It’s clear that NCLB has not worked well,” with pressures on teachers and students, sometimes leading to instances of cheating and maneuvering. With high-stakes testing, he says, there’s a fixation on “summative” versus “formative” assessment — evaluating students’ mastery of material with exams and final projects (achievements) versus providing ongoing feedback that can improve learning. “You end up shooting for the Big contest, the Big test, at the end of the year,” he says. “It’s a distortion.” As a result, “students are asked to learn a great deal for the class and for the test that likely has no role in the lives they will live — that is, a great deal that simply is not likely to come up again for them in a meaningful way.”

Perkins stresses that he isn’t taking a stance against assessment, which he says is critical for learning. Instead, “it’s more about how assessment is made. This is a vote for a richer form of achievement.”

To be fair, he says, the assessment “game” as it’s usually played in education seems perfectly reasonable — at first. Tests “are socially pretty efficient. You can distribute them widely and score them efficiently,” he says. “We give those tests. We evaluate those tests. But that makes for shallow learning and understanding. … You cram to do well on the test but may not have the understanding. It unravels.”

Instead, we should be moving away from an understanding of something — the information on the test, the list of state capitals — to an understanding with something. With the latter, he says, students are able to then make connections to other things. For example, rather than just learning facts about the French Revolution, students should learn about the French Revolution as a way to understand issues like world conflict or poverty or the struggle between church and state. Without those connections, Perkins says he’s not surprised that so many people have trouble naming things they learned early on that still have meaning today or that disengaged students are raising their hands, asking why they need to know something.

“And students are completely right,” he says. “First-graders are very interested [in school], but over time, engagement slides and slides. There are often multiple reasons why, but one is that they don’t see the relevance of what they are learning. They don’t see how it serves their lives.”

Growing up in Farmington, Maine, a small town with just under 5,000 residents, Perkins remembers it feeling safe and peaceful, a great place to come of age. He also remembers being bored with school through eighth grade.

“I got excited in high school when I encountered a range of topics treated at a higher level,” he says. But, he acknowledges, he was probably unique. “I was lucky, I think, in that I’m not so much the kind of person that Future Wise was written for. I like a lot of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Algebra, history — I can really get into those things. I don’t have to ask myself how is this going to be enlightening my life.”

Still, despite his own experience, he says that in the bigger picture of learning, we need to remember Gandhi.

“As the train started up and Gandhi tossed down his second sandal, he showed wisdom about what to keep and what to let go of,” Perkins says. “Those are both central questions for education as we choose for today’s learners the sandals they need for tomorrow’s journey.”

Illustrations by Shaw Nielsen.

High schools in Australia offer a wide range of subjects, excellent teaching and In principle, a high school year in Australia and the relevant Australian school . worldwide, and entitle graduates to enter university studies in 80 countries.

Making Learning Relevant With Case Studies

relevent high school studies

When you are applying for jobs, employers want to see what skills you have even if you don’t have paid work experience. What kinds of skills can you include on your resume if you’re a high school student?

Here are examples of the different types of skills students can use on their resumes, as well as in cover letters and job interviews. You’ll also find tips on how to include these skills in your job materials.

Types of Skills High School Students Have

Your resume can include skills that you have learned in school, in extracurricular activities, in sports, and in volunteering. For example, if you have played football, soccer, basketball, or other sports, you have teamwork skills. Were you the captain? You have leadership skills.

Have you taken a computer class or taught yourself how to use software programs? You have computer skills. Almost everyone has some level of communication skills. If you can carry on a conversation, present in class, or write a paper for school, you are communicating.

When you have successfully juggled personal activities and schoolwork, you’re flexible and dependable. Did you work on a group project? You have collaboration skills. Do you babysit or mow a neighbor’s lawn? You are reliable and dependable.

Top High School Student Skills

Below are five skills that almost every high school student has, and that almost every employer is looking for. You’ll also find related keyword phrases that you can use in your resume and cover letter.


Communication is a skill that refers to your ability to both convey information to others and to listen. This skill includes oral and written communication.

Every student has some experience developing his or her communication skills. Have you given any class speeches or presentations? Then you have improved your oral communication skills. Have you taken any courses involving writing? Ditto. Employers are always looking for employees with strong written and oral communication skills, so be sure to emphasize your communication experiences.


Employers seek teenagers who are mature and whom they can rely on to show up on time and get the job done. Emphasize your responsible nature. Have there been times when you were given additional responsibilities (in work, school, or even sports) due to your dependable character? Include examples of these in your job application.

  • Flexible
  • Follow instructions
  • Hard-working
  • Multitasking
  • Organized
  • Punctual, reliable, responsible.

Quick Learner

Employers typically don’t expect high school students to know all the skills they need for a job right away. However, they will expect you to pick up new skills quickly. Emphasize times in the past that you picked up on a new skill or technique with ease.

  • Accuracy
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Fast worker
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Learn quickly
  • Research
  • Willing to learn


Many jobs for high school students involve working on a team, whether as part of the wait staff for a restaurant or as a co-counselor at a summer camp. Include in your resume examples of times that you worked well as part of a team, such as a sports team, club, or music group.

  • Cheerfulness
  • Collaboration
  • Courteous
  • Helpful
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Positive attitude
  • Role model


Employers are always happy to hire employees who are good with technology. Luckily, many high school students have that skill set. If you have any experience (either in school or through extracurricular activities) working on particular computer programs, or doing any other technology-related activities, include these. If you have a lot of these experiences, you might even create a “Technology Skills” section on your resume.

Match Your Skills to the Job

Make a list of what you have done in all your school and non-school activities, along with the skills you have learned or used in each of those roles. Include those that are the closest match for what the company is seeking on your resume.

For example, if you’re applying for a job in a retail store, the hiring manager will be interested in knowing that you are dependable, reliable, accurate, and have interpersonal and communication skills.

For a part-time job where the schedule varies, you will need to be flexible and able to work a variety of different hours.

For example, here’s a description for McDonald’s crew jobs:

Here are some of the skills you need to work at Starbucks:

  • Ability to learn quickly.
  • Ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions and request clarification when needed.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to build relationships.

Domino's Pizza is seeking:

  • Qualified customer service reps with personality and people skills.

You will find the required skills and qualifications listed in the job posting for most jobs listed online. If they aren’t listed, review the requirements for similar jobs to help generate a list of applicable skills. Highlight the skills that are the closest match to the job on your resume.

How to Include Skills in Your Resume

Your resume can include more than paid employment, so the best way to include your skills is to list your academic, school, and extra-curricular activities on your resume. Include the skills you have in the description of the position or activity, or in an “Interest/Skills” section at the bottom of your resume. For example:

Sample High School Student Resume

This is an example of how to include skills in a high schooler's resume. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Download the Word Template

Sample High School Student Resume (Text Version)

Leslie Lerner
7312 Owens Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44109
Cell: (123) 555-5555


Deeply responsible and dependable high school student positioned to excel in Summer Camp Counselor role requiring enthusiasm, creativity, teamwork, and a dedication to student welfare and success.

  • Sports / Athletics: Experienced in coaching and teaching the basics of basketball, swimming, and volleyball to children ages 5 through 13. Hold current First Aid, CPR, and Lifeguard certifications.
  • Communication and Teamwork: Engaging interpersonal skills in working with students to identify their strengths and challenges, motivate participation, and create positive learning environments.
  • Event Coordination: Display effective organizational and leadership skills in coordinating fundraising events, sports tournaments, and games.
  • Additional Skills: Quick learner, proactively observing processes to swiftly gain mastery of new skills and techniques. Technical proficiencies include MS Office Suite and social media.


Lincoln West High School, Cleveland, OH; 3.89 GPA
Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Captain, Girls Basketball Team; Band; Student Body Secretary; Beta Club; Jingle Bell Run Volunteer; Student Math Mentor

Experience Highlights

Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
Athletics Volunteer, September 2017 to Present
Serve as volunteer coach for boys’ and girls’ youth basketball and volleyball teams. Demonstrate gameplay and ball handling techniques, assign positions, and communicate with parents / caregivers. Officiate as needed at basketball games.

  • Helped to organize and publicize well-attended seasonal tournaments.
  • Suggested and implemented outreach program at public schools to attract new program participants.

Arthritis Foundation, Cleveland, OH
Jingle Bell Run Volunteer, Fall 2016 and 2017
Enthusiastically recruited over 100 fellow high school students to participate in annual 5K race fundraising event through both personal interactions and use of fundraising webpage.

  • Independently raised over $500 each year of participation.
  • Set up and manned registration and refreshment tables on race day.

Clark Recreation Center, Cleveland, OH
Swim Instructor/ Life Guard, Summer 2017
Taught basic swimming skills to children ages 5 through 13. Created fun swimming games and exercises; evaluated and conveyed student progress to parents.

You might also include some of your skills, and examples of times you demonstrated your skills, in your cover letter.

How Talk About Skills at an Interview

You may not be able to work all the skills you have into your resume, but keep a list of your top five skills related to the job for which you are applying in mind when you interview. You'll be able to mention them when you're answering interview questions about why you're qualified for the job.

Try to work those skills into the conversation. The closer a match you are to the job requirements, the better your chance of getting hired.

A good way to find the skills you need for a job is to review the job requirements listed in the job posting. In many cases, it will be easy to determine what skills you need to be considered for the job.

We're looking for hard-working, enthusiastic individuals who want to be a part of a winning team. If you enjoy working with people and love to learn new things, we want to meet you. We offer flexible schedules and the opportunity to advance within our restaurants.

Manatee High School Arts and Crafts Club, Manatee, Florida

Vice President

  • Recruited club members using school newspaper, website, Facebook, Twitter, and school Clubs Day.
  • Composed a weekly email newsletter to club members.
  • Designed and led weekly arts and crafts activities for 15 club members.

Interests and Skills

  • Hometown Soccer League
  • After-School Program Tutor
  • Proficient in Spanish
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Discuss Your Educational Background

relevent high school studies

Every state has different requirements for obtaining a high school diploma. And each school varies greatly in what type of classes they offer. There are, however, a number of classes that are available, and perhaps even mandatory, in most high schools.

The courses your teen takes will also vary depending on his plans beyond high school. Students who plan to go to college may be required to take more years of a foreign language. Or a student who plans to major in engineering may want to take more math and science classes to prepare for college.

Students in a vocational track may be able to gain some hands-on learning. Many of them are even able to gain certificates or licenses that will help them in their future careers. 

It's important to talk to your teen about her aspirations. Help her explore various career options. 

Also, talk about what courses she plans to take in high school. Discuss her interest areas and review her schedule together. In addition to the basic classes, there are usually plenty of opportunities for your teen to take electives in various areas of study. 

English or Language Arts

Studying the English language and literature is an important part of high school. In addition to studying important pieces of literature, English classes teach teens about writing and speaking. Most states require four years of English or Language Arts classes. 

The Main English Classes in High School Are:

  • Literature
  • Writing or Composition
  • Speech


In high school, students dig into several different types of math. Algebra and geometry are required at most high schools and students may choose to take advanced math classes. Most states require three or four years of Math coursework in high school. 

The Main Math Classes in High School Are:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • Trigonometry and/or Calculus
  • Statistics


Basic biology and chemistry are required at most high schools. They often include lab components that allow students to perform hands-on experiments. Most states require three or four years of Science coursework in high school. 

The Main Science Classes in High School Are:

  • Biology (typically has advanced classes)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced classes)
  • Physics (typically has advanced classes)
  • Earth or Space Sciences

Social Studies

Understanding how the world works is important for young adults. In high school, students will study history and government and learn about how social studies affects their lives. Most states require three or four years of Social Studies coursework in high school. 

The Main Social Studies Classes in High School Are:

  • U.S. History
  • U.S. Government
  • Economics
  • World History
  • Geography

Foreign Languages

Learning a second language is important in today's global world. High school students are often required to learn the basics of at least one foreign language and they can choose to take advanced classes to learn more.

The Most Common Languages Offered in High School Are:

Other common languages include Latin, American Sign Language, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Italian.

Other High School Classes

High schools offer a variety of other classes. Some may be required in the school's curriculum and some are electives that students may choose.

These Classes May Include:

  • Arts, such as music, photography, or pottery
  • Computer applications, graphic design, or web design
  • Physical education
  • Trade field studies such as auto mechanics or nursing classes
  • Psychology

College Credit

Many high schools offer opportunities to gain college credit. Students may take advanced placement classes and if they pass the exam, they may test out of a basic class in college.

Some high schools also have programs that allow students to take certain college classes that will also grant them high school credit. These programs help students gain some college credits free of charge. 

Thanks for your feedback!

The authors conclude that policy efforts to increase the share of high school students taking advanced courses are unlikely to The reviewed studies included a wide variety of methods of college preparation, from . weekly series of new analyses of policy, research, and practice relevant to U.S. education.

How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]

relevent high school studies

About half of students do not feel that what they learn in school will help them outside the classroom, according to a new survey.

Just 54 percent of middle schoolers and 46 percent of high schoolers think their studies are relevant, according to new data from the nonprofit YouthTruth. Relevance was rated lowest on the survey of various measures of student engagement: if students take pride in their work, if they enjoy going to school, if their schoolwork is relevant, if they try to do their best, and if their teachers’ expectations help them with that goal.

Still, the majority of students — 78 percent of elementary students and about 60 percent of middle and high school students — say they are engaged in school.

“It is disheartening to hear that less than half feel what they’re learning in school feels relevant,” said Jen Wilka, executive director at YouthTruth. “Our nation’s schools are under a lot of pressure with academic testing and standards, they are operating with fewer resources than they deserve, so there is a lot of pressure and not as much room for creativity as ideally there should be.”

If schools could show students how their learning applies in the real world, this would be a big boost to engagement numbers, Wilka said.

Girls are most likely to report taking pride in their work: 74 percent, compared with 66 percent of boys and 44 percent of students who identify their gender in another way.

Half of students say they enjoy going to school most of the time.

Engagement is higher in smaller schools, where 68 percent are engaged, compared with 57 percent at large schools.

Photo credit: YouthTruth

The data were collected from 233,982 students in grades 3 to 12 from 2012 to 2017. The survey is not nationally representative, as the data came only from schools that use YouthTruth for school climate survey research. Elementary students do not report race; the secondary students are 34 percent Latino, 22 percent white, 18 percent black, 10 percent multi-racial, and 5 percent Asian.

The data reflect past research that shows student engagement numbers are generally between 40 and 60 percent. A 2013 Gallup poll also found that engagement decreases as students continue through school. Eight in 10 elementary students reported that they were engaged, compared with 6 in 10 middle schoolers and 4 in 10 high schoolers.

According to a 2011 report on the literature surrounding student engagement, interest in the field has been developing over the past two decades as policymakers and educators look for solutions to low achievement and the dropout rate. “For many students, dropping out of high school is the last step in a long process of disengagement,” the authors wrote. Terms like project- or place-based learning have become solutions for some schools to bring the real world into the classroom.

“We know from the existing and growing body of research that student engagement is one really important component of creating a positive school culture, and we know creating positive school culture is relevant for student success academically and in life,” Wilka said.

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Longitudinal studies of CLP participants revealed that, among those who went on to take high school physics, over 90 percent thought science was relevant to.

relevent high school studies
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