Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Standard Outcome Measures For Science Education? #2

Some blog followers might be interested in “No Standard Outcome Measures For Science Education? #2” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Robin Millar and Jonathan Osborne in Chapter 3, “Research and Practice: A Complex Relationship” of Shelley et al. (2009). claimed that: (a) NO STANDARD OR COMMONLY AGREED OUTCOME MEASURES EXIST FOR ANY MAJOR TOPIC IN SCIENCE EDUCATION. . . . [[my CAPS]]. . . ; (b) the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) reflects a choice of values that is arguable; and (c) the FCI has not been subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny of factorial structure and content validity as have standard measures in psychology.

That no standard outcome measures exist for any major topic in science education is negated by the existence of Concept Inventories for astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, geoscience, and math.

That the FCI reflects values that are arguable is correct only if the arguers think that there’s little value in students’ learning the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics.

That the FCI has not been subjected to rigorous scrutiny of factorial structure ignores the 1995 factor analyses of Huffman & Heller and Heller & Huffman; and responses to those analyses by Hestenes & Halloun and Halloun & Hestenes.

That the FCI has not been as not been subjected to rigorous scrutiny of content validity ignores section IIB. “Validity and reliability of the mechanics test” (Mechanics Diagnostic) in Halloun & Hestenes (1985a) - that verification of validity applies also to the FCI since it's almost the same as the Mechanics Diagnostic.

To access the complete 24 kB article please click on

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)

“50 years of research, curriculum development, and implementation have not presented consistent and compelling patterns of outcomes.”
Shelley et al. (2009, p. 4), summarizing a claim by Osborne (2007)

“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) "Teaching in a research context"

REFERENCES [All URL’s shortened by and accessed on 16 Oct 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. “No Standard Outcome Measures For Science Education? #2” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at . Post of 16 Oct 2011 11:04:41-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post were transmitted to various discussion lists.

Osborne, J. 2007. “In praise of armchair science education,” contained within E-NARST News 50(2), online as a 3.2 MB pdf at . The talk itself is online as a 112 kB pdf at

Shelley, M.C., L.D. Yore, & B. Hand, eds. 2009. Quality Research in Literacy and Science Education: International Perspectives and Gold Standards. Springer, publisher's information at information at, note the searchable “Look Inside” feature. Barnes & Noble information at An expurgated (teaser) version is online as a Google “book preview” at

Wood, W.B., & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online as a 209 kB pdf at

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