There are many quantitative indicators to assess science performance, the report notes. These include not just bibliometric indicators like publications and citation counts, but also patterns and trends in grant applications and research funding, measures of “esteem” such as academic honours and awards, and a host of new internet-based metrics such as the number of article downloads.
These indicators and assessment approaches “are sufficiently robust” to be used to assess science performance in the aggregate at the national level, the report concludes. However, these indicators “should be used to inform rather than replace expert judgment,” which the expert panel says remains “invaluable.” Examples of expert judgment include peer review and other “deliberative” methods, says the report.
Summary of Methodological Guidelines Context is critical in determining whether any science indicator or assessment strategy is appropriate and informative. As a result, it is impossible to provide a list of universally applicable best practices. With respect to assessing scientific research in the NSE at the level of nationally aggregated research fields, however, the following general methodological guidelines may be of assistance.
Assessments of Research Quality Indicators associated with monitoring research quality often relate to different aspects of quality or different timeframes. As a result, the best approach relies on a combination of assessment strategies and indicators.
• For an assessment of research quality of a field at the national level, a balanced combination of deliberative methods and quantitative indicators is the strongest approach.
• For an assessment of the scientific impact of research in a field at the national level, indicators based on relative, field-normalized citations (e.g., average relative citations) offer the best available metrics. At this level of aggregation, when appropriately normalized by field and based on a sufficiently long citation window, these measures provide a defensible and informative assessment of the impacts of past research in the NSE.
• Quantitative indicators of research quality should always be evaluated by informed expert review because accurate interpretation of data from available indicators can require detailed contextual knowledge of a field.
In addition to methodological guidelines, the Panel developed the following general principles for defining a process for NSE assessment in the context of informing research funding allocation:
• Context matters: Effective use of indicators or assessment strategies, as applied to research fields in the NSE, is context dependent. Thus any approach should take into account national science and technology objectives as well as the goals and priorities of the organization and funding program.
• Do no harm: Attempts to link funding allocation directly to specific indicators have the potential to lead to unintended consequences with negative impacts on the research community. Promising strategies identified by the Panel to mitigate this risk include relying on a balanced set of indicators and expert judgment in the assessment process.
• Transparency is critical: Assessment methods and indicators are most effective when fully transparent to the scientific community. Such transparency should include both the assessment methods or indicators (e.g., indicator construction and validation, data sources, criteria, procedures for selecting expert reviewers) and the method or process by which the indicators or assessments inform or influence funding decisions.
• The judgment of scientific experts remains invaluable: Many quantitative indicators are capable of providing useful information in the assessment of discovery research at the national and field level. In the context of informing research funding decisions, however, quantitative indicators are best interpreted by scientific experts with detailed knowledge and experience in the relevant fields of research, and a deep and nuanced understanding of the research funding contexts in question, and the scientific issues, problems, questions, and opportunities at stake.
Council of Canadian Academies.
Expert Panel on Science Performance and Research Funding Informing research choices: indicators and judgment / The Expert Panel on Science Performance and Research Funding. ISBN 978-1-926558-42-4
"Whether neuroscience can be informative to educational theory and practice is not debatabledit has been. For example, behavioral data were not decisive in determining whether dyslexia was primarily a visual perceptual disorder, or whether phonology was the more fundamental problem (for a review, see McCardle et al., 2001). Brain imaging data (e.g., Rumsey et al., 1992) showed reduced activation in left temporoparietal cortex, a region known from other studies to support phonology, thus strongly supporting the phonological theory."
Before becoming a writer, I spent a year-and-a-half training as a science teacher and then working at a secondary school in Croydon. During my short stint in education, the biggest buzzword was “differentiation.” We were told that any given class contains pupils with a range of abilities, and that different children have different learning styles.
http://www.democracynow.org -As the academic year winds down, a record number of Chicago schools are preparing to close their doors for good in the largest mass school closing ever in one U.S. city. Last week, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 of the city's public schools in a move that will impact some 30,000 students, around 90 percent of them African American. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pushed for the closures in order to save the city more than $500 billion, half of its deficit. "Rahm Emanuel actually does not have an educational plan, he has an economic development plan," says our guest Diane Ravitch, who served as the assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush. Proponents say the closures will hit schools that are both under-performing and underutilized. But a vocal coalition of parents, teachers and students has fought back, warning that the closures will lead to overcrowded classrooms, and endanger those students forced to walk longer distances to their new schools. We go to Chicago to speak with Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped lead the campaign against the school closures. "They are making a very massive, radical and, frankly, irreversible experiment here on other people's children," Sharkey says.
"Can the school reform movement accept constructive criticism? Gary Rubinstein hopes so. Mr. Rubinstein joined Teach for America in 1991, the program’s second year, and has now been teaching math for 15 years, five of them in some of the nation’s neediest public schools and 10 more at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He has a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s in computer science, has written two books on classroom practice and at one point helped train new corps members for Teach for America. For years, he was a proponent of the program, albeit one with the occasional quibble. Then, in 2010, Mr. Rubinstein underwent a sea change. As he grew suspicious of some of the data used to promote charter schools, be became critical of Teach for America and the broader reform movement. (The education scholar Diane Ravitch famously made a similar shift around this time.) Mr. Rubinstein, who knows how to crunch numbers, noticed that, at many charter schools student test scores and graduation rates didn’t always add up to what the schools claimed. He was also alarmed by what he viewed as misguided reforms like an overreliance on crude standardized tests that measure students’ yearly academic 'growth' and teacher performance. Mr. Rubinstein, who favors improving schools and evaluating teachers, says using standardized test scores might seem 'like a good idea in theory.' But he also thinks the teacher ratings based on the scores are too imprecise and subject to random variation to be a reliable basis for high-stakes hiring and firing decisions." | via New York Times
In this time of Common Core, I am reflecting on my personal perspective in trying to understand why I value and support the standards while other stronger voices fight them (Diane Ravitch and Susan Ohanian).
I conclude that in part, my faith in these standards is not solely contained within the enumerated anchor standards, but is grounded in the document’s “portrait of students who meet the standards” (Common Core State Standards, 2010, p. 7). I list the descriptors of the portrait with my paraphrased interpretation of their meaning:
NASA Casts A Wide Net For STEM Education Partners PR Newswire (press release) Using its unique missions, discoveries, and assets, NASA supports education inside and outside the formal classroom to inspire and motivate educators and learners of all...
CBS Local Study: Girls Losing Ground In Pursuing STEM Education Opportunities CBS Local “Something's gone wrong there that you have nearly as much educational value put on community and family studies as you do on maths,” she was quoted as saying...
On Tuesday, April 10, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education experts from around the nation and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will convene a workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago to discuss practices that can be immediately adopted by K-12 schools to help reform STEM education nationally.
In the past two decades, U.S. 15-year-olds have scored lower than the international average on mathematics assessments. They also tend to score at about the international average on science assessments, according to the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators 2012.
Effective teaching and learning of STEM are key to developing a 21st-century workforce and sufficiently informed citizenry. Doing so will be critical for U.S. success in an increasingly knowledge-based and innovation-dependent economy and for addressing grand challenges facing the country. That's the message research and education scientists will convey to an audience of some 300 teachers and school leaders at the "STEM Smart: Lessons Learned From Successful Schools" meeting in Chicago.
Effective STEM instruction, equal access to quality STEM experiences, and support of STEM learning infrastructure are central to next-generation STEM curriculum and student success. These "active ingredients" of successful STEM education comprise the workshop's themes and are derived from the National Research Council's (NRC) NSF-funded report Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
The NRC report recommends evidence-based ways that community stakeholders can improve K-12 STEM education. It identifies effective approaches to STEM education modeled on existing research supported by NSF. New research will inevitably inform improved educational strategies as we continue to unveil, for example, how young children learn science and mathematics in and outside the classroom.
This is the second in a series of NSF regional workshops. The next two will be held in Nevada and Maryland. Details on the Chicago event follow:
What: STEM Smart: Lessons Learned from Successful Schools A workshop hosted by the National Science Foundation
When: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Where: University of Illinois at Chicago UIC Forum
Media interested in attending and/or interviewing the educators in attendance should contact Bobbie Mixon at firstname.lastname@example.org (703) 292-8485
A list of presenters, an agenda and further details are on the Successful STEM Education Web site.
Disconnects between policy mandates/supports and desired practice were found in most of the schools and all of the systems in our sample. For example, teachers were often being asked to innovate while being incented and judged solely by measures of the facts that students had acquired through traditional means, or given ICT to use without related curricular materials and models for ways to use it powerfully and effectively in subject matter learning. It was rare that teachers experienced standards, curriculum, professional development, assessments, and incentives that all aligned to support the development of students’ 21st century skills.
Neuroscience--especially human neuroscience, and more especially human functional brain imaging--has had a quite a run in the last twenty years. In the first decade the advances were known mostly to scientists. In the last ten years there have been plenty of articles in the popular press featuring brain images. Many of these articles have been breathless and silly. Some backlash was inevitable and one of the more potent examples was a recent op-ed in the New York Times. Still, as Gary Marcus pointed out in a nice blog piece, we would be wise not to throw the baby out with the bath water.
NBCNews.com (blog) Enough! Facing backlash from parents, Texas cuts back on student testing NBCNews.com (blog) “Legislators heard their friends, neighbors and constituents,” said education historian and native Texan Diane Ravitch, a former testing...
"Education historian Diane Ravitch, the leading voice in the movement opposing corporate-based school reform, has for several years said she has no definitive opinion on the Common Core State Standards. 'I have come to the conclusion that the Common Core standards effort is fundamentally flawed by the process with which they have been foisted upon the nation. The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.'" | via The Washington Post
The World Policy Analysis Center aims to improve the quantity and quality of comparative data available to policymakers, citizens, civil society, and researchers around the world on policies affecting human health, development, well-being, and equity.
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