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Topic: Re: Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?
Replies: 7   Last Post: Sep 16, 2013 10:54 AM

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Alain Schremmer

Posts: 876
Registered: 10/10/05
Re: Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?
Posted: Sep 15, 2013 12:01 AM
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On Sep 14, 2013, at 11:58 AM, Richard Hake wrote:
> Scott Jaschik (2013) in his "Inside Higher Ed" report "The Adjunct
> Advantage" at <> has pointed to "Are Tenure
> Track Professors Better Teachers?" [Figlio et al. (2013) at <

> >.
This is silly: why should they be?
> In my opinion the latter's attempt to *indirectly* measure students'
> learning in introductory courses by means of their next-class-taken
> performance is problematic at best.

I agree: The students' performance in the next course is not an
indicator. For instance if, in course 1, Prof. A lectures while Prof,
B does not, how their respective students will fare in course 2 will
depend on whether or not, in course 2, Prof. C lectures or not.
> Unfortunately, most of academia is either unaware or dismissive of
> the *direct* gauging of students' higher-order learning by means of
> pre/post testing with Concept Inventories <>,
> pioneered independently by economist Rendigs Fels (1967) at <

> > and physicists Halloun & Hestenes (1985a) at <>.
> For a discussion of pre/post testing with Concept Inventories, see
> e.g., "Should We Measure Change? YES!" [Hake (2013)] at <

> >. For recent use of this method see "The Calculus Concept Inventory
> - Measurement of the Effect of Teaching Methodology in
> Mathematics" [Epstein (2013) at <>.

There are several ways to look at the calculus and several ways to
decide what is important and what is secondary. On the other hand, in
his article in the Notices Epstein gives the impression that he sees
Calculus as one monolithic conglomeration of given concepts. I have
tried to find out what "concepts" he has selected to be tested in his
Calculus Concept Inventory but with no success whatsoever. So I
cannot be more precise.

In any case, Epstein seems completely to ignore Hestenes'

"Course content is taken [by many] as given, so the research problem
is how to teach it most effectively. This approach [...] has produced
valuable insights and useful results. However, it ignores the
possibility of improving pedagogy by reconstructing course content."

For instance, Lagrange thought that the concept of limit could be
entirely avoided. He was wrong of course, except that for all
functions actually encountered in College Calculus it can. Limits
really belong to advanced calculus.


P.S. By the way, there is no article in Wikipedia about "interactive

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