Sunday, January 22, 2012

Re: FCI and CCI in China #2

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent discussion-list post “Re: FCI and CCI in China #2” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: PhysLrnR’s Jerry Epstein wrote (paraphrasing): “The Calculus Concept Inventory (CCI) has been given to about 1000 university students enrolled in a TEACHER-CENTERED calculus course in Shanghai, China. Their average normalized gains g(ave) were about two-standard deviations above those of U.S. university calculus courses, possibly due to student-organized out-of-class interactive group work.”

Craig Ogilvie responded: “Are there FCI (Force Concept Inventory) gains reported for a similar group of students/physics courses in China? It would support your hypothesis if they also showed high gains for non-IE pedagogy.” Here “IE” = “Interactive Engagement,” operationally defined [Hake (1998a)] as “those courses designed at least in part to promote conceptual understanding through the active engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities that yield immediate feedback through discussion with peers and/or instructors.”

David Meltzer then pointed to the research of Bao et al. on FCI pretest scores of Chinese and U.S. freshmen university students enrolled in science/engineering major courses, whose publication in the Science article “Learning and Scientific Reasoning: Comparisons of Chinese and U.S. Students” at has been widely publicized.

Although Bao et al. measured only pretest scores (not pre-to-posttest gains) for Chinese freshmen university students enrolled in science/engineering major courses, they pointed out that those students had taken “algebra-based courses with emphasis on development of conceptual understanding and skills needed to solve problems” for FIVE YEARS in grades 8-12, whereas the U.S. students had taken at most ONE YEAR of physics.

That suggests that the Chinese K-12 math curriculum might also be more intensive than that in the U.S. IF that’s the case then it might help to explain the relatively high CCI gains for non-IE pedagogy, irrespective of possible student-organized out-of-class interactive group work.

To access the complete 16 kB post 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)

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 22 Jan 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. “Re: FCI and CCI in China #2 online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 22 Jan 2012 16:27:43-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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