Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SET's Are Not Valid Gauges of Students’ Higher-Level Learning #2

Some blog followers might be interested in discussion-list post “SET’s Are Not Valid Gauges of Students’ Higher-Level Learning #2” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: In response to “Changing the Culture of Science Education at Research Universities #3” [Hake (2011a) http://bit.ly/gSNTGi], problem-based-learning pioneer http://bit.ly/etekAw Don Woods (2011a) wrote at http://bit.ly/h1VrME [my CAPS; my insert at ". . . . .[[insert]]. . . . .]:

“. . . . there are at least 20 valid forms of evidence that can be used for measuring teaching ‘productivity.’ These include . . . . . well-designed COURSE EVALUATIONS. . . . .[[I shall assume (please correct me if I’m wrong) that Woods uses ‘course evaluations’ as shorthand for ‘Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET’s)’]]. . . . . , exams and assignments, . . . . . More details are given in my forthcoming book ‘Motivating and Rewarding University Teachers to Improve Student Learning: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators’. . . . . .[[Woods, 2011b)]]. . . . .”

In “Culture of Science Education - Response to Woods” [Hake (2011b) http://bit.ly/fetCy6] I wrote (paraphrasing):

“I disagree that SET’s are a valid method of measuring ‘teaching productivity’ IF ‘teaching productivity’ means ‘student learning’ - see e.g., ‘Re: Problems with Student Evaluations: Is Assessment the Remedy?’ [Hake (2002a)], ‘SET’s Are Not Valid Gauges of Teaching Performance #4’ [Hake (2006e)], and ‘Effectiveness of Student Evaluations’ [PhysLrnR (2011)].”

In the present post I give 7 EXHIBITS suggesting that “SET’s ARE NOT VALID GAUGES OF STUDENTS' HIGHER-LEVEL LEARNING”: (1) Halloun & Hestenes (1985a); (2) Crouch & Mazur (2001); (3) Eric Mazur (1997, 2009); (4) John Belcher (2003); (5) Richard Hake (2006f); (6) Richard Hake (2011c); (7) Russ Hunt (2011); and (8) David Gavrin (2003).


To access the complete 76 kB post please click on http://bit.ly/jLZaz5.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands

President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize

the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)






“Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses.”

Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 17 May 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. “SET’s Are Not Valid Gauges of Students' Higher-Level Learning #2,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at http://bit.ly/jLZaz5. Post of 17 May 2011 09:47:36-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being distributed to various discussion lists.

Wood, W.B., & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at http://bit.ly/9izfFz. A summary is online to all at http://bit.ly/9qGR6m.


R. Wright said...

Sorry if this is a bit tangential, but I've decided to attempt to implement Peer Instruction in a small (24 students) introductory statistics class next semester, as I discuss a bit at


I'm wondering if you or any of your readers might know of some good resources to help in this pursuit. Thanks in advance.

Richard Hake said...

Dear R. Wright,

Thanks for your message and informing me of your valuable blog http://bit.ly/kETwUq .

You wrote: "I've decided to attempt to implement Peer Instruction in a small (24 students) introductory statistics class next semester. . . .[do] you or any of your readers might know of some good resources to help in this pursuit."

I can think of no better resource than Eric Mazur's (1997) fine book "Peer Instruction."

BTW, I appreciate your voice of sanity http://bit.ly/ktDxT3 in the sea of nonsense that is the Math-Teach list at http://bit.ly/eOTrs1 .

I'm an HTML dummy so you'll have to copy and paste the above URL's into your browser window.


Richard Hake

Mazur, E. 1997. "Peer Instruction: A User's Manual." Prentice Hall. Compadre information at