In his Math-Teach post of 4 Feb 04 01:34:41-0500 titled "The End of
Misinformation About Hands-On Science Activities in California," Stan
"There has been quite a bit of misinformation distributed about the
Curriculum Commission's science criteria on this listserve, and
perhaps I can provide an important clarification. The criteria allow
for unlimited hands-on activities in instructional materials. The
publishers must show that the standards CAN be comprehensively taught
from the submitted material with hands-on activities composing no
more than 20-25% of science instructional time, but publishers are
also welcome to include as many additional optional hands-on
activities as they wish. Publishers must develop a program that is
flexible and adaptable to different teaching situations, but they are
not being limited in the number of hands-on activities they provide
in a program. See the source:
<http://www.cde.ca.gov/cfir/science/scicriteria04.pdf>. Note lines 102-115."
Lines 102-115 read as follows:
[To be considered suitable for adoption, an instructional materials
submission must provide:]
5. A table of evidence in the teacher edition, demonstrating that the
California Science Standards can be comprehensively taught from the
materials with hands-on activities composing no more than 20 to 25 percent
of science instructional time (as specified in the California Science
Framework). Additional hands-on activities may be included, but must
essential for complete coverage of the California Science Standards for the
intended grade level(s), must be clearly marked as optional, and must
meet all other evaluation criteria.
6. Investigations and experiments that are integral to, and
supportive of the grade-appropriate Physical, Life, and Earth Science
Standards, so that investigative and experimental skills are learned
in the context of those content standards. The instructional
materials must include clear procedures and explanations, in the
teacher and student materials, of the science content embedded in
Metzenberg's claim that "the criteria allow for unlimited hands-on
activities in instructional materials" is misleading. The same claim
was made Ze'ev Wurman (2004). Wurman first quoted from Hake (2004):
"Among the anti-hands-on provisions of the "Criteria" are lines
102-106: "A table of evidence in the teacher edition, demonstrating
that the California Science Standards can be comprehensively taught
from the submitted materials WITH HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES COMPOSING NO
MORE THAN 20 TO 25 PERCENT OF SCIENCE
INSTRUCTIONAL TIME . . ."
Ze'ev then wrote:
"In other words, the textbooks must only OFFER AN OPTION of teaching with
20-25% hands-on activities. The criteria do not say that textbooks cannot
offer also 50% hands-on option, or 75%, or even more -- they only have to
show that they ALSO support teaching with at most 25%."
In response, Larry Woolf showed the artificiality of the
Wurman/Metzenberg subterfuge. Larry wrote [bracketed by lines
"WWWWWWWWW. . . ", my CAPS]"
Zeev Wurman is correct that a curriculum could potentially be approved for
adoption if it provided two methods for teaching each standard: a method
using no more than 25% of hands-on instruction and another method using more
than 25% hands-on instruction. In reality, no hands-on inquiry based
curriculum uses more than one basic approach, an approach that typically
involves more than 25% of hands-on instructional time. These curricula are
typically developed over a 2-3 year period with pilot testing and revision
followed by one or two rounds of field testing followed by revision - at
significant expense. Developers of these curricula will not be likely to
completely develop new direct instruction type curricula, due to the expense
of the development, the short time available, and, most importantly the lack
of evidence in the literature that such direct instruction methods are
effective - and the evidence in the literature that such direct instruction
methods are ineffective.
THE REAL QUESTION IS WHY SUCH A LIMITATION IS NEEDED, ESPECIALLY IF WE WANT
TEACHERS TO USE THE BEST METHODS AVAILABLE TO THEM TO TEACH EFFECTIVELY.
The only reason this limitation is in the criteria is because someone put
this limitation into the Science Framework, with no justification. The real
issue that needs to be addressed is "what is the scientific basis for this
limitation?" - an issue that no one who is for this limitation will address.
Or PERHAPS MR. WURMAN WILL CITE PEER-REVIEWED LITERATURE FOR WHY THIS
LIMITATION IS BASED IN SCIENCE. But I suspect he will not.
The Wurman/Metzenburg Subterfuge was also exposed by by Dewey Dykstra
(2004) who wrote [bracketed by lines "DDDDDDDDDDD. . . ", my CAPS]"
Ze'ev conveniently leaves out the next sentence in the Draft document
that indicates that while the materials can involve additional
hands-on time this cannot be required for students to meet the
California state science standards. I quote from the draft . . . .
as it now stands:
"Additional hands-on activities may be included, but must not be
essential for complete coverage of the California Science Standards
for the intended grade level(s), must be clearly marked as optional,
and must meet all other evaluation criteria."
In particular the phrase "must not be" indicates that Ze'ev is
mistaken about the intent. This particular item can be found in
lines 102 - 109 of the document.
Woolf, Dykstra, I, and about 10^5 other scientists and educators,
some of them Nobelists, still await SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE [Shavelson &
Towne (2000)] that the direct instuction method so admired by
Metzenberg, the CCC, and the Mathematically Correct crowd is more
effective than minds- and hands-on instruction for promoting
students' knowledge and understanding of science.
Wurman, Z. 2004. "Re: The End of Hands-On Science Activities in
California's K-8 Classrooms?", online at
Wurman states that in replying to Hake (2004a), he hit his reply
button [the bane of discussion lists - see Hake (2004b)] possibly
thinking that this would insure distribution of his post to those
addressed by Hake (2004a). But as of 29 Jan 2004 12:00:00-0800 his
post had not yet appeared on AP-Physics, Chemed-L, or Physoc,
presumably because he is not a subscriber to those lists.