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Topic: [math-learn] FCI and CCI in China #2
Replies: 1   Last Post: Feb 11, 2012 12:24 AM

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Jerry Epstein

Posts: 63
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [math-learn] FCI and CCI in China #2
Posted: Feb 11, 2012 12:24 AM
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On 2/10/2012 6:52 PM, Jerome Epstein wrote:
> Hello to you all.
> Some of you I have not communicated with in a very long time. . .
> especially the team that worked with me to develop the CCI.
> I have been out of commission for the most of the last two years, due
> to a stroke. If you were with me here, however, you would not be aware
> that anything was wrong. . . So I keep kicking.
> There has been quite a bit of activity, especially recently, involving
> these diagnostic tests in math. Most of you were connected with the
> Calculus Concept Inventory (CCI) but some with the Basic Skills
> Diagnostic Test (BSDT), some of you have been valued friends,
> consultants, colleagues on many things.
> There has been a bunch of activity in recent years with these tests,
> and a significant flurry in the last couple of months. I wanted to
> report it to you, keep you in the loop, and maybe some of you will be
> interested enough to want some future involvement, even if it is just
> to contribute an email once in a while.
> If you should want to email me, the fastest way to reach me is via
> <>. . Feel free. I would be
> quite happy to hear from any of you.
> I continue to get requests for either or both tests on a regular basis
> -- a few a week I would say, and a big flurry when someone gives a
> test, gets over the chock and talks to their friends and colleagues.
> As a guess, I would say that each test has been given to about 5000
> students, the tests have gone to schools in perhaps 30 states, 3
> provinces of Canada, and maybe 8 or 10 other countries. The most
> recent was in China (Shanghai) where I went to meet with some faculty
> right after they had given the CCI (to about 1000 students).
> The BSDT I can summarize quickly. The BSDT is generally not multiple
> choice, though there exists a multiple choice version, that version
> has been given only to a very few students. Nearly universally, the
> results are a shock to the teachers/faculty who asked for the test.
> The BSDT is in two parts, the first of which should be accomplishable
> by a competent 6^th grader, the second by a competent 10^th grader. It
> will not come as a surprise to most of you that the lack of competence
> generally comes as a shock.
> There is a significant variation between schools on this, but there is
> sizable portion of students on this test, most of them in colleges,
> who are not competent at very much mathematics beyond the 4^th grade.
> The CCI has been handled a lot more formally, so I can tell you a bit
> more. I think all of you are at least somewhat familiar with it. It is
> carefully designed by the development team to be entirely "Conceptual
> Understanding" in the parlance of the NAEP. . . there are no straight
> computation problems. Most of you will know that the test should be
> easily manageable by someone who understood the basics of first
> semester calculus.
> There are three schools that, from what is known of their teaching,
> qualify as "Interactive-Engagement" teaching, though they tested only
> small populations in one section each, as far as I know. The
> University of Michigan Calculus program (Karen Rhea) is a dramatic
> departure from nearly all other calculus teaching (other than the
> three schools I cited before), it has no lectures, and is entirely
> taught in a small group, conceptual understanding way (maybe Karen
> will want to comment further).
> Including the large population from Michigan, there are about 1000
> students in clearly interactive engagement types of programs. Perhaps
> another 4000 in more or less traditional teaching situations. It seems
> that modest amounts of "reform" methodology have no effect on the
> outcome. But the effect of a full commitment to this kind of teaching
> has an enormous effect.
> ONE GETS TWO GAUSSIANS WITH NO OVERLAP. . . It is quite stunning. The
> students in the Interactive Engagement classes seem to emerge in a
> different world.
> I will add, anticipating valid criticisms, that I did not control or
> observe any of the teaching, so a truly scientific evaluation of this
> seems to be needed. But the effect is so huge as to boggle the mind.
> The data being evaluated is not final exam scores nor final grades, it
> is only the normalized gain on the CCI during a semester of teaching.
> It is also interesting that the normalized gain turns out to be
> independent of the pretest score, so it is not a matter of having
> better students in one group.
> Last I will tell you all, that this past Fall semester the CCI was
> given to about 1000 students in Shanghai, China. They score clearly at
> about the same level of gain as do the best students in the US
> (Michigan and three other small groups). Chinese students of course
> sit in lectures, often large lectures I think. But a lot of earlier
> work seems to show that the students spend many more hours working in
> twos and threes on processing and digesting on the material from the
> lectures, working in small groups on problems, etc. and one speculates
> that this is central. The other groups of students in Canada, Africa,
> Europe fall largely in with the lecture based students here, though I
> have not done any full evaluation of this. So there is much still to
> be done, and I am seeking others to be involved. The project has
> become much too large for me to handle alone.
> But it seems very clear that something quite significant is happening
> here. . . .
> I welcome any comments from all you friends and colleagues. And I am
> happy to again being able to message you all.
> Jerry Epstein
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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