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Topic: Research: admitting what we DON'T know and NEED TO KNOW
Replies: 43   Last Post: Nov 26, 2002 3:46 PM

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Steve Kramer

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/8/04
Research: admitting what we DON'T know and NEED TO KNOW
Posted: Apr 7, 1998 1:44 PM
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Sorry to be so verbose, but I there were two issues I thought should
be addressed in Standards 2000, and below is the second. (My
preveious post was the first issue.) Again, I forwarded this to
future@NCTM.org, but would like others' comments.


>Subject: research behind standards 2000
Status:

Folks,

At the research presession, I learned that there will be a "research
addendum" to the NCTM standards. I have some thoughts I wish to share:

Specifically, the "research addendum" needs to address THINGS WE DON'T
KNOW, as well as things we know. I recently sent a lengthy piece on a
recommended "support for teachers" standard. One thing that became
clear as I prepared the piece is that we don't know for sure just what
kinds of support teachers need in order to implement the Standards.
Somewhere, NCTM needs to admit this kind of thing forthrightly, and
lay out a research
agenda. Perhaps the "research addendum" is the appropriate place.

On a more political issue: we really haven't PROVEN that
constructivist instruction (e.g., working FROM engaging problems TO
the embedded mathematics) is superior to more direct-instruction.
(Probably, it would be more accurate to say "superior for some
purposes", and to identify by research specifically what purposes.)
We have a learning-based THEORY of how to teach, but the "backlash"
folks in California really do have a point
in claiming that we need more evidence of success for large-scale
constructivist curricula. (The best evidence we have for
constructivist teaching seems to be clinical and small-scale studies,
mostly done with younger children, and cross-cultural studies, mostly
done comparing Japanese and American K-8 classrooms. The
"experimental" evidence is only coming out now, and is still often
focused in younger grades and on a
relatively small scale. Isn't it a "leap of faith" to assume that
these ideas will work on a large scale, or that they'll work at all in
High School? Isn't it assuming a little bit much that comparison to
Japan reveals teaching methods with superior performance, when we have
not yet confirmed that other high-scoring countries like Singapore use
instructional methods similar to those in Japan, or that better
achievement in a different culture can't be attributed to things like
peer support for studying mathematics, vs. attributed to instructional
differences?) I think forthrightly admitting what we have and haven't
proven is important,in order to move the discussion of reforms to one
based on evidence instead of ideology.

I currently believe in the constructivist theory upon which the
Teaching Standards are based. However, I see a desperate need for
testing this theory as rigorously as possible--both because I'm
willing to admit that I could be wrong, and because we will never get
political acceptance of the theory without better evidence.

In sum, I think it is critical that somewhere the NCTM standards
project address "what we know" and "what we don't know" about teaching
and learning. I've listed two issues that desparately need more
research:
1)what kinds of support do teachers need to successfully implement the
Teaching Standards;
2) Do large-scale implementations of the Standards produce the results
we hope for--and if so, is this true for all topic areas, all student
populations, and all grade levels?

I'm sure others can come up with additional areas that should be
addressed.



Steve Kramer
doctoral student (mathematics education)
University of Maryland, College Park




Date Subject Author
4/7/98
Read Research: admitting what we DON'T know and NEED TO KNOW
Steve Kramer
8/29/98
Read Reply to Steve Kramer
Jean Mitchell
8/30/98
Read Re: Reply to Steve Kramer/Constructivism
Zeev Wurman
8/31/98
Read constructivism as policy
Jean Mitchell
10/17/98
Read Who says constructivism is benign?
Gary Boyle-Holmes
10/17/98
Read let's see references, talk is cheap
sam
10/20/98
Read Talk is cheap, but research isn't
Gary Boyle-Holmes
11/26/02
Read Re: constructivism as policy
Rob MacCurry
9/9/98
Read Science and knowledge
Jack Jersawitz
10/18/98
Read Constructivism a pedagogical method?
Howard L. Hansen
10/21/98
Read FACTS, DATA, ACTUAL HISTORICAL DATA AND CAUSES
Jack Jersawitz
10/21/98
Read facts, data and lack of information
Victor Steinbok
10/22/98
Read FACTS, DATA, ACTUAL HISTORICAL DATA AND CAUSES
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11/17/98
Read FACTS, DATA, ACTUAL HISTORICAL DATA AND CAUSES
John Olive
11/17/98
Read Unity rather than dichotomy
Jack Jersawitz
5/20/99
Read actual historical data and causes
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5/20/99
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Tad Watanabe
5/21/99
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Sharon Smith
5/21/99
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5/21/99
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5/21/99
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5/21/99
Read Costs of educating educators
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5/24/99
Read Education of Teachers
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5/24/99
Read Education of Teachers
Victor Steinbok
5/24/99
Read Cakewalk?
Jack Jersawitz
5/24/99
Read Education of Teachers
Victor Steinbok
5/25/99
Read parallels between Jack Jersawitz and Standards 2000
RayM
5/25/99
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Jack Jersawitz
3/23/02
Read Re: Education and theory of knowledge
Wilf
5/25/99
Read Thanks!
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5/25/99
Read Ignorance is bliss!
Jack Jersawitz
5/25/99
Read Research:
admitting what we DON'T know and NEED TO KNOW
Frazer Boergadine
5/24/99
Read Cakewalk?
Jack Jersawitz
5/24/99
Read Education of Teachers
L. Steffe
5/24/99
Read Education of Teachers
L. Steffe
5/21/99
Read actual historical data and causes
Tad Watanabe
11/26/02
Read Re: Constructivism a pedagogical method?
Rob MacCurry
11/3/98
Read Education Deform Really Ticks Me Off
Arthur Hu
11/3/98
Read Education "Reform"
Jack Jersawitz
11/17/98
Read Making Sense
Greg Spolar
11/17/98
Read Making Sense
Jack Jersawitz
11/22/98
Read Save Your Kids
Tim Zukas
5/26/99
Read Constructivist Junk
Les Steffe
3/26/02
Read Re: Instrument for Mathematical Reasoning
merza

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