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Topic: Harvard Calc and "feel good"
Replies: 10   Last Post: Jun 5, 1997 11:35 AM

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Philip D Larson

Posts: 68
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Harvard Calc and "feel good"
Posted: May 24, 1997 12:59 PM
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:-) Good question, but your view of knowing is mistaken: I don't get to
know only when data is shoved in front of me. Many other things are known
from other sources. That doesn't make other sources of knowledge
"touchy-feely", less reliable, or less valid (unless you have selected
some "touchy-feely" neo-positivist commitments of your own).

No, I haven't given the same exam to both, but maybe I should. If you
thought it would be useful, I'd be very inclined to do so! (But I only
have 2 more weeks of school.)

I can say that there is a body of empirical research supporting the
premise that reform classes vs. traditional classes often score about the
same on traditional measures, but students in the reform classes finish
the course with far richer understandings. This isn't a "feel-good"
conclusion. You could find the literature yourself, of I could help if
you liked.

Phil Larson
754 East Rockhill Road
Upper Bucks Christian School
Sellersville, PA 18102
(215) 536-9200

On Fri, 23 May 1997 09:50:12 -0700 Wayne Bishop <>

>>I must dissent: feeling good has nothing to do with it.
>>I also teach a fairly traditional Pre-Calc. And right now, my 8th
>>grade Algebra 1 class students have as good a sense of the nature
>>of linear, quadratic, rational, and exponential functions than do my
>>juniors in Pre-Calc--and these latter students are no dummies.

>I'm (almost) from Missouri. Can you share with the group your
>support for such an apparent "feel-good" conclusion? For example,
>with us the exam that you gave to both classes that covered "the
>nature of
>linear, quadratic, rational, and exponential functions" and their
>comparative results?
>Wayne Bishop
>Math & Comp Sci
>Cal State LA

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