High School Memories

3.3 based on 6 ratings

Updated on Jan 10, 2014

Grade Level: 10th - 12th; Type: Life Science, Social Science, Other

The goal of this project is to determine if adults remember what they learned in high school. Adults over the age of 21 will take a test comprised of questions from the basic high school curriculum.

  • What concepts are fundamental across the study population?
  • Does higher education reinforce the concepts learned in high school?

As you sit in your desk, watching time pass slowly, you may wonder, "why do I need to know this?" High school curricula are designed to give students the fundamental concepts and ideas in order to succeed in the working world or higher education. The breadth of subject matter is often vast from factual subjects such as History, Science, and English to conceptual courses in the arts. A well-rounded education through a wide range of subjects will provide you the basic knowledge for more complex ideas and can introduce you to new interests. Although you may not realize it as you sit through Trigonometry or the ruffling through the pages of The Old Man and The Sea all that information is connected. Foundationalism is a theory with the belief that all knowledge is equal and connected. To test this theory we will give adults an exam consisting of material learned in high school.

  • Exam Questions
  • Subjects aged 21+

This experiment relies heavily on background research.

1) Examine your high school's curriculum. What areas are the core subjects, or the subjects that are taken every year? What are the electives are offered and what are the requirements?

2) Formulate your exam questions. For this step you will need to do extensive background research. Think about what you have and what you are currently studying. You will need to come up with questions that are more conceptual rather than factual, although some factual content is necessary such as American History. All questions should have a correct answer.

3) Choose your subjects. You will want to choose a broad range of subjects, men, women, young, old, professionals, blue collar workers, academics, etc. For this study you should find at least 15 adults over the age of 21.

4) Collect background information from all your subjects:

a) Age

b) HS graduation year

c) Higher education?

d) Profession/Job

i) Describe what they do in a typical day. What does their job entail?

5) Administer your exam.

6) Grade your exams.

7) How well did they do?

a) Based on their current profession or educational level how well does the exam correlate with what you would expect their scores to be?

i) For example, a Physicist would remember much more math since it is used on a daily basis.

b) What subjects did the majority do well? What subjects did the majority fail?

i) Can you determine what subjects or concepts are fundamental to all walks of life?

8) Discuss your findings.

Terms/Concepts: Foundationalism; Postmodern Psychology; Memory; Conceptual vs. Factual


Melissa Bautista is a research scientist, freelance editor, and writer, with a focus in Neuroscience. She believes in establishing solid foundations in education through experience, creativity, and collaboration. She is fascinated by pedagogy and the concept of learning through living.

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