Friday, September 14, 2007

Physics First - or Maybe Not

I can see some issues with this study's conclusions.

Well, of course, the students with a better performance in math will generally do better in the sciences in college. Most college courses are taught from a quantitative standpoint. In contrast, in most high schools, Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science are structured so math skills are relatively unimportant.

An example: last week, I was talking to my Physical Science class about graphs. I pointed out that a certain curved line would indicate exponential growth. Then I said, "But, I'm sure that you've all seen these kind of graphs in Biology". I was dumbfounded to hear that they never used graphs in Biology.

Now, perhaps that's an example of the well-known selective memory of students - 2 months after a class, most are hard put to name one thing they learned or a lab they performed. But, it's also possible that their teacher, like many Bio teachers, doesn't dwell on use of graphs.

New Science Education Plan

I'll be interested to see what comes of this plan, in practice.