[Net-Gold] Scientifically-Based Education Is Not an Oxymoron

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[Net-Gold] Scientifically-Based Education Is Not an Oxymoron

David P. Dillard
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[Net-Gold] Scientifically-Based Education Is Not an Oxymoron


Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 21:13:34 -0700
From: Richard Hake <[hidden email]>
Reply-To: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Cc: [hidden email], [hidden email],
     [hidden email], [hidden email],
     [hidden email]
Subject: [Net-Gold] Scientifically-based Education Is Not an Oxymoron



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*********************************************


ABSTRACT: My post "Is Scientifically-based Education an Oxymoron?
Reply to Eubanks" of 14 July referenced David Berliner's essay
"Educational Research: The Hardest Science of All," written in
response to "Scientific Research in Education" [Shavelson et al.
(2002)]. Here I point to the response to Berliner by Feuer, Towne, &
Shavelson who wrote: "Our point is not that the physical, life, and
social sciences are equally hard or easy, but that GOOD SCIENCE,
WHETHER IN PHYSICS OR ECONOMICS OR EDUCATION, THRIVES ON A
COMBINATION OF GENERIC NORMS THAT APPLY TO ALL FIELDS and on
manifestations of those norms that are specific to each field." [My
CAPS.] As indicted in my post "Re: Scientific Method" of 15-16 July,
those norms are well expressed by Helen Quinn (2009) in her Physics
Today essay "What is science," and in no way support Gerald Bracey's
contention that "Scientifically-based Education Is an Oxymoron." Some
other valuable online references to scientific methods, consistent
with Quinn, are: Berkeley (2009), Denker (2003), Hake (2002), and
Woolf (2004).


*********************************************



My recent post "Is Scientifically-based Education an Oxymoron? Reply
to Eubanks" [Hake (2009c)], contained a quote from David Berliner
(2002):

". . .the important distinction. . .[between, e.g., education and
physics]. . . is really not between the hard and the soft sciences.
Rather, it is between the hard and the easy sciences."

In response to Berliner (2002), Feuer, Towne, & Shavelson (2002b)
wrote "Our point is not that the physical, life, and social sciences
are equally hard or easy, but that GOOD SCIENCE, WHETHER IN PHYSICS
OR ECONOMICS OR EDUCATION, THRIVES ON A COMBINATION OF GENERIC NORMS
THAT APPLY TO ALL FIELDS and on manifestations of those norms that
are specific to each field." [My CAPS.]

As indicated in "Re: Scientific Method" [Hake (2009d)]. I think the
norms are well expressed by Helen Quinn (2009) in her Physics Today
essay "What is science," and in no way support Gerald Bracey's (2009)
contention that "Scientifically-based Education Is an Oxymoron."

Some other valuable online references to scientific methods,
consistent with Quinn are: Berkeley (2009), Denker (2003), Hake
(2002), and Woolf (2004).




Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
<[hidden email]>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake/>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~sdi/>
<http://HakesEdStuff.blogspot.com/>



"Education research deals with an extremely complex system. At
present, neither the educational phenomenology growing out of
observations of student behavior nor the cognitive science growing
out of observations of individual responses in highly controlled (and
sometimes contrived) experiments has led to a single consistent
theoretical framework. Indeed, it is sometimes hard to know what to
infer from some particular detailed experimental results. Yet those
of us in physics know well that advancement in science is a continual
dance between the partners of theory and experiment, first one
leading, then the other. It is not sufficient to collect data into a
'wizard's book' of everything that happens. That's not science.
Neither is it science to spout high-blown theories untainted by
'reality checks.' SCIENCE MUST BUILD A CLEAR AND COHERENT PICTURE OF
WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME AS IT CONTINUALLY CONFIRMS AND
CALIBRATES THAT PICTURE AGAINST THE REAL WORLD." [My CAPS.]
Joe Redish (2003, p. 15)



REFERENCES [Tiny URL's courtesy <http://tinyurl.com/create.php>.]
Berkeley. 2009. "Understanding Science: how science really works,"
"University of California Museum of Paleontology; online at
<http://undsci.berkeley.edu/>. I thank Pati Sievert of the Physoc
list and Karen Sirum of the POD list, for bringing this reference to
my attention.



Berliner, D. 2002. "Educational Research: The Hardest Science of
All," Educational Researcher 31(8): 18-20; online at
<http://www.aera.net/publications/?id=438>.


Bracey, G. 2009. "Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality." Educational
Research Service, publisher's information at
<http://www.ers.org/CATALOG/description.phtml?II=WS-0760>: "Are
America's schools broken? 'Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality'
seeks to address misconceptions about America's schools by taking on
the credo 'what can be measured matters.' To the contrary, Dr. Bracey
makes a persuasive case that much of what matters cannot be assessed
on a multiple choice test.. . .[But at least *some* of what matters,
e.g., conceptual understanding of the subject, CAN be measured by a
multiple choice test such as the Force Concept Inventory (developed
through arduous qualitative and quantitative research by disciplinary
experts) as argued in Hake (2009a,b,c)]. . . . The challenge for
educators is to deal effectively with an incomplete accountability
system - while creating a broader understanding of successful schools
and teachers. School leaders must work to define, maintain, and
increase essential skills that may not be measured in today's
accountability plans." Amazon.com information at
<http://tinyurl.com/ngulhm>.


Denker, J.S. 2003. "Scientific Methods,"online at
<http://www.av8n.com/physics/scientific-methods.htm>.


Feuer, M.J., L. Towne, & R.J. Shavelson. 2002a. "Scientific Culture
and Educational Research," Educational Researcher 31(8): 4-14; online
at <http://www.aera.net/publications/?id=438>.


Feuer, M.J., L. Towne, & R.J. Shavelson. 2002b. "Reply to
Commentators on 'Scientific Culture and Educational Research,' " . .
. .[Feuer et al. (2002a)]. . . Educational Researcher 31(8): 28-29;
online at <http://www.aera.net/publications/?id=438>.


Hake, R.R. 2002. "Re: Scientific Methods," online on the OPEN Phys-L
archives at
<https://carnot.physics.buffalo.edu/archives/2002/09_2002/msg00029.html>.
Post of 1 Sep 2002 20:05:27-0700 to Phys-L and PhysLrnR. John
Denker's discussion of the scientific method, mentioned in this post
is now at Denker (2003).


Hake, R.R. 2009a. "Is Scientifically-based Education an Oxymoron?"
online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://tinyurl.com/n9cyjy>.
Post of 7 Jul 2009 17:03:51-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The
abstract was also (a) transmitted to various discussion lists, and
(b) placed online at

<http://hakesedstuff.blogspot.com/2009/07/
is-scientifically-based-education.html>

with a provision for comments.

Hake, R.R. 2009b. "Is Scientifically-based Education an Oxymoron?
Reply To Bracey," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<http://tinyurl.com/kmrse2>. Post of 11 Jul 2009 16:04:43-0700 to
AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract only was also transmitted to
various discussion lists.


Hake, R.R. 2009c. "Is Scientifically-based Education an Oxymoron?
Reply to Eubanks," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<http://tinyurl.com/mjb3oq>. Post of 14 Jul 2009 16:22:55-0700 to
AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract only was (a) placed online at

<http://hakesedstuff.blogspot.com/2009/07/
is-scientifically-based-education_14.html>

with a provision for comments; (b) transmitted to various discussion
lists, mercifully omitting physics discussion lists except for
PhysLrnR.


Hake, R.R. 2009d. "Re: Scientific Method," online on the OPEN! Phys-L
archives at

<https://carnot.physics.buffalo.edu/archives/2009/7_2009/msg00177.html>.

Post of 15 & 16 Jul 2009 to various discussion lists.


Redish, E.F. 1999. "Millikan lecture 1998: building a science of
teaching physics," Am. J. Phys. 67(7): 562-573; online at
<http://www.physics.umd.edu/rgroups/ripe/perg/cpt.html>.


Redish, E.F. 2003 "Teaching Physics With the Physics Suite" (TPWPS),
John Wiley, TPWPS is online at
<http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~redish/Book/>.


Shavelson, R.J. & L. Towne, eds., 2002. "Scientific Research in
Education," National Academy Press; online at

<http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10236.html>. Among members of the

Academy's "Committee on Scientific Principles for Education Research"
that authored the book were (aside from Shavelson): Robert Boruch,
Jere Confrey, Robert DeHaan, Margaret Eisenhart, Eugene Garcia,
Norman Hackerman, Eric Hanushek, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Dennis
Phillips, and Carol Weiss.


Woolf, L. 2004. "How do scientists really do science?" Presentation
to the San Diego Unified School District Science Teachers, 4 October;
online at
<http://www.sci-ed-ga.org/pdfs/how-do-science-10-10-04.pdf> (3.3MB).