> > "The argument that IE has not worked is specious, because it > has not really been tried." > > But wouldn't that apply equally to the argument that it does work?
No, because the original argument was that we should have more scientists and engineers because of IE classes. But that might only be a valid test if IE were widely used which it is not. There are so many random factors why people drop out of science related programs. My comment about the speciosness is referring to the antecedent that IE should have produced a large number of engineers and scientists, and was not a comment which can stand by itself. You took it out of context for the argument.
The evidence from testing is that it does work in classes where it is used, but there is no evidence to show that this helps down the road. So the best evidence is that it does work. This is no different from citing the SAT scores. But there is a difference in that the SAT is a black box, but the FCI/FMCE are not.
The fact that science education is not as good as we would like can be easily seen. We know that engineers or MDs do not necessarily think like scientists. Scientists are generally not evolution deniers, but a much larger proportion of MDs and engineers do deny it. I would cite the McElroy the dentist who was head of the TX education board. So conventional education has a long way to go. IE is based on solid research and it mirrors the way scientists think. It is not based on the idea that students have to memorize facts, unlike conventional teaching. It promotes memorization in context rather than in isolation.
> > I have looked at the (IE) class at MIT in considerable > detail. At least it tries to retain a notion of rigor but I > am not seeing any transformation there. Clearly, the non IE > version remains the path of choice for those seeking the > depth we are used to and that these Chinese (and other > emerging countries) are showing. Depth I might add that is > unmistakable in an interview. Are there other IE classes out > there that I should be looking at? That is a much as I can do > to look at your theory. It isn't like these students are > showing up at my door, because as you said, they don't exist yet.
But there has not been enough time from the IE class to gather any significant statistics. You really do not know what is going on by just looking at what is shown of the class. It is very difficult to judge how well a class is really working. I have gone over Merlyn Mehl's thesis, and it is not clear what he actually did. He achieved a dramatic success rate. He turned a class with 50% failure on the final exam to 100% passing on the final exam. Meanwhile the parallel conventional class still had the 50% failure rate. His woksheets resemble IE materials, but they are also similar to a lot of conventionsl materials. So apparently what he did in lecture had an effect in combination with the worksheets, but we don't have videos of the lectures, just general descriptions, which are vague.
How do you know they don't exist at your door. You really have no way of knowing whether the students have had an IE course. The students usually don't know, and remember that only a tiny proportion will have had an IE course. And most probably only in physics, but not in math. I do have anecdotal evidence that IE works, but that is only for individual students, and not for a large number of high performing students. I was told by a German exchange student that I taught just like his math teacher in Germany. Then when he got back to his German school he mailed me that my course helped him become the top of his class. But is this generally correct? I did tutor a student in HS, but I unconciously used IE with him, and he credited me with making him a successful math/science teacher. It is very difficult to do a longitudinal study in education which shows how specific courses affect the outcomes in general. And is just one IE course going to be enough? Again you can only show evidence for a specific course by using some good research based tests.
There are other lines of researc which also show exactly the same results as we have found. The teacher evaluation form based on inquiry teaching lines up with increased scores on various tests. So when a teacher actually uses inquiry, there are other benefits. There is the research of Schwartz, Shayer & Adey, Karplus, Lawson... They all point to the importance of inquiry and the learning cycle. But the problem you are bothered by is the tail of the distribution. The people who are at the very top are difficult to figure. There is not enough data yet to validate IE fully with them. But we do know it works with others. This is the same sourt of problem you have in medicine where you look at how a treatment effects a group. But within that group there are always outliers.
> > What would interest me really is a high school class, using > IE that you think is equal to our high school physics class, > or at least the way I described it. I would like to see that > curriculum, the text and the tests. That is the only way I > can be sure that your coverage is complete. the math in the > course should begin with algebra (2) and progress through > calculus. Over two years. I would like to see such a course. >
Making what you are asking for is very difficult. Often one has to setup an IE course over objections by others. You need a really supportive administration, and it would need more than one teacher who is involved in IE teaching. Texts are not a good measure of coverage, and of understanding. There was the study which showed that teachers who finish the text did the poorest job, while teachers who used no text got the best results.
Now when you refer to "our high school physics class" I assume you mean a private school. The evidence from the large metastudy is that private schools do no better than public schools once SES is corrected for. So private schools are really doing the same things. Shayer & Adey showed that in England. All schools they looked at were doing the same thing and the output was directly correlated to the intake. But by implementing an IE cognitive enhancement program the output changed dramatically to be much better than it would have been. The thinking skills on output are directly related to the thinking skills on intake. Again research has shown that thinking skills improve in an IE (learning cycle) course and that IQ test scores also go up. This is old work by Karplus, Renner and Lawson in JRST.
The evidence has been there for over 30 years, and finally we are starting to implement it for a number of classes. But if the usual things happen, we will never know it it works to make us more competitive. Usually innovations in education are defunded before there is enough large scale evidence. Our US system flits from one thing to another without making any real changes. By contrast Finland put in a concerted program and stuck to it. The main difference now is that at least in physics we have test that can be used by the instructor that seem so simple, and it is agreed that students should be able to get them right, but they don't. This has been a driving force. There are certainly more issues and life beyond the FCI, but at least we have some evidence that we are actually making progress. There are other concept inventories for other aspects of physics, and they are being used. Everything we are doing has been based on research going back a number of decades, so if you really want to understand it you have to read a large number of the publications.
What I would like to see are FCI or better yet FMCE scores for "your high school physics class" both post and pre. And of course the instructor is not allowed to discuss the answers with the students, and they have to administered strictly. Any by your of course I mean the corporate plural and not the singular. Could it be possible to get such things and analyze them???? I would also like to see pe and post scores on the Lawson test, because it is a good predictor for gain, and FMCE gain should be compensated for it.