Sunday, April 24, 2011

Statway Research About Teaching and Learning

Statway Institute - Jim Stigler - Winter 2011 from Statway on Vimeo.

Statway is one project of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching seeking to find alternative math pathways to baccalaureate degrees.  There are so many interesting pieces going into Statway that the project promises to provide useful information even to educators who are appalled at the idea of allowing a non-STEM major to earn a BA without passing an intermediate algebra class.

Carnegie posts Statway resources on their site.  Here are a few I find particularly interesting.

  • David Yeager's video discusses productive persistence in students.  This was probably the most talked about presentation at the 2011 Statway mid-year institute.  Skip to 7:00 into the video for data on improved success for community college students (+17 percentage points) by introducing self-regulated learning.  Skip to 10:15 for discussion of Carol Dweck's work on mindsets, or skip to 18:40 for improvement resulting from a single 45-minute psychological intervention (+.3 gpa).  Go to 21:00 for a discussion of stereotype threat, with data on student impact (-39% memory span; -13% on a math test at 24:10) because of the threat, or go to 25:15 to learn how the stereotype threat can be eliminated with two 15-minute interventions. 
  • Jim Stigler's video (above) describes teaching as a cultural activity.  Stigler outlines some of the challenges US educators face to adopt effective practices that are the norm in other countries.  (Hint:  In the typical classroom of the countries that are top-ranked because of high student performance in math and science, the students are expected to struggle with problems that they have not been shown how to solve, and the instructors allow the students to be frustrated for much longer than American teachers could tolerate.) 
  • Jim Stigler, Karen Givven, and Belinda Thompson (all of UCLA) reported to Carnegie on "What Community College Developmental Mathematics Students Understand about Mathematics."  (The report was later the basis of an article of the same title in the MathAMATYC Educator.)

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