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How to spot an American Massachusetts State Curriculum student

 Tue, 09 May 2017   -   Tue, 09 May 2017
 Aldar Academies

It's simple. The American Massachusetts State Curriculum is the most highly regarded and successful curriculum in the United States.

There are many reasons why: Massachusetts is home to Harvard University and MIT, the state regularly records the highest exam scores in the country, and other states look to Massachusetts as the benchmark of quality.

Impressive, but what sort of student does this prestigious curriculum actually create?

Allow Casey Cosgray, incoming Principal of Aldar Academies West Yas Academy – Yas Island's only American Massachusetts State Curriculum school, to explain.

They tackle real-world problems, together

With a strong focus on what's called 'inquiry-based learning', students grow by applying new theory to real-world challenges. The point is to engage them in something they've shown an interest in, which sparks a curiosity to learn.

In practice, this involves finding a common line of inquiry such as 'are all deserts the same?', before planning learning experiences and tasks around answering it. Alongside research and school trips, pupils would present what they've learned and what interests them to their parents and peers.

Students tackle these tasks by collaborating and swapping ideas, which encourages them to take an active role in learning. The end result? They expand their knowledge, discover which unique skills they bring to a team, and learn how to apply them in the real-world. That's a valuable skill to take into their careers.

They're a confident, critical, independent thinker

Alongside confident collaborators, the curriculum shapes students into critically-minded, independent thinkers by developing the 'whole student' – beyond their academic abilities.

Take an English class as an example.

Students could be asked to study the content of an American novel. After analyzing the content, they're asked to review the writer's craft, such as the literary devices they use to engage the audience and stimulate them emotionally. In other words, the teacher encourages them to thoughtfully interrogate the content before offering a personal, independent and evaluative view of the written word.

Through practice, tasks like this build a student's confidence in forming and expressing their individual ideas and points of view.

They're well prepared for the future

As for specific subjects, the curriculum constantly evolves to teach the skills and ideas most relevant today and in the future, to prepare graduates for the world that waits for them. For example, the framework for teaching the STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and maths, was updated in 2016 to reflect changes in science and engineering and the growing value of these skills. As a result, pupils develop a core knowledge that will be relevant to jobs which haven't even been created yet.

For example, at West Yas Academy, we teach coding from the elementary grades, so students begin to master this in-demand skill from a younger age. Meanwhile, older students collaborate on projects online with peers remotely via Microsoft OneNote, just as they will in their careers.

They're an academic athlete

One other important characteristic of the curriculum is its emphasis on physical education – another way the 'whole student' is taught. The learning pathway schedules one health and physical education lesson per day, which adds up to more lessons per week than other curricula.

Students are also strongly encouraged to sign up for extra-curricular sports activities to multiply the benefits of working up a sweat, which is why excellent sports facilities are commonplace at American Massachusetts State Curriculum schools. West Yas Academy itself includes an AstroTurf pitch, multi-use sports halls and two 25-metre swimming pools, among others. By providing students with outstanding facilities, they're more inclined to make use of them.

But, alongside the obvious health advantages, the Massachusetts approach also delivers the other benefits of physical education – teamwork, discipline, and positive mental health. In the classroom, lessons include the study of human biology and healthy living to make sure exercise is not only enjoyed, but understood.

They're wanted by the world's leading universities

The high value of the Massachusetts High School Diploma, coupled with the curriculum's reputation, sees many graduates progress to leading universities in the UAE and abroad. These institutions recognize the curriculum's rigorous approach and the challenge students must meet to succeed. Importantly, the quality of the diploma depends largely on the school that issues it. So, more value is placed on schools which are recognized by leading accreditation organizations, such as New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Interested in the American Massachusetts State Curriculum for your child? Discover more about it by visiting Aldar Academies West Yas Academy. Click here to register for an open day in May 2017.