New science course requirements for KS Regents colleges

The six Kansas Regents colleges now require students graduating after 2014 to pass Chemistry and/or Physics.

Natasha Vyhovsky, Writer

The science course requirements to get into any one of the state universities in Kansas have recently changed, now requiring all students except for current seniors to take either Chemistry or Physics in order to be eligible for admission.

Counselor Bob Thesman explained that the science course requirements to graduate from Blue Valley high schools have stayed the same, but to be eligible for admission to any of the six state schools, which include: The University of Kansas (KU), Kansas State University (KSU), Wichita State University (WSU), Fort Hayes State University (FHSU), Pittsburg State University (PSU), and Emporia State University (ESU), students must now pass either Chemistry or Physics.

“What has changed is the Kansas Qualified Admissions curriculum,” Thesman said. “In the past, you didn’t have to follow the [Board of Regents] curriculum, but now you do…The biggest change is [within] science [courses]. In the Regents curriculum, one of those must be either Chemistry or Physics….You can still graduate without chemistry or physics from [a Blue Valley High School], but to be admitted to any of the state schools within Kansas, you would have to take Chemistry or Physics.”

Sophomore Trevor Acord, currently enrolled in Earth Space Science, said he now plans on taking both Chemistry and Physics prior to graduating. Initially, Acord was deterred from talking Chemistry after hearing many of his friends talk about the difficulty of the tests involved in the course.

“I have heard from people that are in [Chemistry] now that it is insanely hard, and I’ve heard from other people that the masteries are what kill you,” Acord said. “…I was planning on taking [Chemistry and Physics] anyway and getting them out of the way… [but] at the start of sophomore year I wasn’t planning on taking Chemistry…I have heard from other people that it was very difficult, but then I saw some of the work [students] were doing, and I changed my mind.”

Initially, to be admitted into a Regents school, students were required to obtain either a score of 21 on the ACT, pass Chemistry or Physics, or be in the top third of their class. The new requirements will hold students accountable for passing Chemistry or Physics, as well as one of the other two listed requirements.

“I think it actually makes students a little more accountable,” Science teacher D’ette Swanson said. “They learn the rigor of chemistry and/or physics, and they find that chemistry is a pretty difficult course in the respect that it gets them prepared for college, and I think it is a good option to get students prepared for what is going to happen in college.”