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whuber's picture


The agenda, especially at items 3a, 3b, and 4a, seems to orient this learning community towards conducting scientific research in education.  That's an interesting topic and a controversial one as Berliner's article (and the others that accompany it) attest.  But isn't this peripheral to most faculty interests?  As applied practitioners, we would more naturally be oriented towards (a) improving learning among our students, (b) augmenting our own teaching skills, and (c) creating "infrastructure" (organizations, expectations, communities, outlooks, philosophies) that positively influences STEM education at all levels in society.  As such, it seems our interest in the debate over how education research should be conducted would not focus on its methodology but that our conversation would gravitate quickly to issues that are, for us, more basic: how can we tell when a claim (about effectiveness of an educational treatment) is valid?  How can we assess the effects of our own efforts to improve educational outcomes?  Can we go beyond personal, anecdotal evidence?  Can scientific principles (if not scientific methodology) help us with this?


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