This item was posted by Richard Hake to the email list “AERA-B: Curriculum Studies Forum”:
AERA discussion list subscribers may or may not be interested in a recent post “Are U.S. University Math & Science Departments Partially Responsible for U.S. Students’ Relatively Poor Showing on the PISA-2006 Math & Science Tests?” [Hake (2008)].The abstract reads:
ABSTRACT: Greene and Shock (GS), in an article “Adding Up to Failure: Ed schools put diversity before math,” report that Ed School course titles containing words like “multiculturalism” exceeded those containing words like “math” so as to yield a “multiculturalism-to-math ratio” of 1.82. They then imply that U.S. students’ relatively poor performance on the PISA math literacy test is linked to the fact that Ed Schools are more concerned with multiculturism than math. However, EDDRA subscribers pointed out a glaring fault in the GS analysis: most pre-service teachers take their math courses from math departments outside the Ed Schools, so GS’s “multiculturalism-to-math ratio” is deceptive. GS might also have calculated a “multiculturalism-to-science ratio” greater than 1 and linked it to U.S. students’ relatively poor performance on the PISA science literacy test. But here again such a ratio would be deceptive because most pre-service teachers take their science content courses from science departments outside the Ed Schools. The question then becomes: ARE U.S. UNIVERSITY MATH & SCIENCE DEPARTMENTS *PARTIALLY* RESPONSIBLE FOR U.S. STUDENTS’ RELATIVELY POOR SHOWING ON THE PISA-2006 MATH & SCIENCE TESTS? Judging from the appalling low pre-to-post test normalized gains for traditional passive-student courses in astronomy, geoscience, math, and physics, the answer may be YES.
To access the entire 20 kB post please click on <http://tinyurl.com/2c3gjv>.
Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>
- Hake, R.R. 2008. “Are U.S. University Math & Science Departments Partially Responsible for U.S. Students’ Relatively Poor Showing on the PISA-2006 Math & Science Tests?” online at <http://tinyurl.com/2c3gjv>. Post of 16 Jan 2008 14:59:25-0800 to AERA-L and PhysLrnR.
Hake’s specific point here is obviously a valid one.
My own extensive study of the controversies over teaching evolutionary biology show me that there are very deep problems in the science education that college students are getting — and not only those who are preparing to be science teachers. I will address this in my future writing.
As for the kinds of knowledge and understanding needed for teaching math and science, the most revealing work I know of is Lampert, Magdalene. Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. (The specific context from which she writes is that of 5th-grade math teaching.) I think her exposition shows convincingly that knowledge of mathematics alone is not enough.
These issues are commonly framed in terms of false dichotomies along the lines of “content v. delivery,” which I have contested in “What Social Studies Teachers Need to Know: The New Urgency of Some Old Disputes,” my chapter in Adler, Susan A., ed. Critical Issues in Social Studies Teacher Education, Research in Social Education;: Information Age Pub., 2004.