The Heart of Educational Research
Today’s link is from Teach.Brian.Teach., a great introspective teaching blog. It also makes reference to my alma mater, RPI.
The post is fairly heavy with Physics Education Research terminology. For those not familiar with it, the FCI is the Force Concept Inventory, a multiple-choice concept-based exam in Newtonian physics. “T” courses are “traditional-style” focused around lectures where professors transmit content to students. The “g” in brackets is “normalized gain,” a measure of how much students gained on the exam as a fraction of the maximum amount they could have gained.
What really struck me, though was this quotation, which requires no jargon to understand:
This work, for better or worse, treads on a sensitive arena–a close examination of ourself. The fact that this work is being carried out by students, I think, could be perceived as making this endeavor even more sensitive, but in an odd way it makes it authentic. All of these students are really interested in improving instruction here, doing research that is valid but also relevant to local stakeholders. They have no axe to grind or hidden agenda. We are also just genuinely intrigued by the puzzle, and curious to pursue its potential solutions.
And that is what educational research is all about.