Date: Oct 27, 2012 10:21 AM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: In Defense of the NRC's "Scientific Research in Education'"

On Oct 26, 2012, at 11:04 PM, Richard Hake <> wrote:

> In response, Math Education Guru <> Clyde Greeno (2012) at <> denounced the six principles as "glibly superficial and badly unknowing about the nature of science," on the basis of their one-line headings, evidently not bothering to scan the book "Scientific Research in Education" or even the paragraph-long elaborations of the six principles in the Executive Summary. In this post I juxtapose for each of NRC's six one-line headings (a) Greeno's criticism, and (b) NRC's one-paragraph elaboration, and invite readers to judge the validity of Greeno' criticisms. Greeno ended his critique with: (a) "I am amazed that the NRC would allow such a publication," and (b) "[The World is] more than anxious to learn of whatever educational research efforts qualify as being genuinely 'scientific.' "
> Regarding (a) above, I am amazed that Greeno would denounce the NRC's six guiding principles on the basis of what he (often mistakenly) perceives them to mean from their one-line headings. Regarding (b) above, he and other skeptics might consider scanning: (1)"The future of physics education research: Intellectual challenges and practical concerns" [Heron & Meltzer (2005)] at <>; (2) "A Developmental History of Physics Education Research" [Cummings (2011) at <>; (3) "The Impact of Concept Inventories On Physics Education and It's Relevance For Engineering Education" [Hake (2011a)] at <> (8.7 MB); and (4) and "Resource Letter ALIP-1: Active-Learning Instruction in Physics" [Meltzer & Thornton (2012)] at <>.
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> To access the complete 46 kB post please click on <>.

Richard, this certainly can't be news to you. If the guiding principles are as sound as you claim then explain the discrepancy between Jo Boaler's conclusion of "mathematical success" by the students of Railside and the strikingly different reality that Bishop/Clopton/Milgram uncovered. How much closer to a "cold fusion" moment in education research can you get? Either the researchers are not following the principles or the principles themselves are at fault. Generally, it is a bunch of both.

The principles you refer to might have been copied from the hard sciences but they lack a key ingredient. Hard science. You can't just copy a house from the outside and expect it to be a house on the inside. You are researching a subject, education, that is lacking in hard science. These principles, even when followed, are not a substitute for that, and they are certainly not a valid response to criticism. The only substitute for hard science is hard science and hard science is only obtainable through critical discourse. Something that education research seems to not only lack, but despises.

Bob Hansen