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Re: [Phys-l] Physics job opening in Texas for 2008-09

But it may be that PER will produce "more" successful physicists and
engineers. The problem is one of statistics. Even if it doubled the
success rate that is still a very small effect because the overwhelming
majority of classes are conventional, and such a small percentage goes on to
careers in engineering and science. And of course more could be both the
number of graduates as well as the quality. It is a chicken and egg
problem. But Priscilla Laws has reported some evidence that more students
continue in science. However Dickinson College is probably not the best
place to gather statistics. Beichner has reported that scale up at NC State
has improved retention.

Let us look at the Situation in Russia. Russia has physics all the way
through, and it is required in heavy doses in HS. But according to Eugenia
Etkina the students in Russia do not score significantly higher than in the
US on the FCI. And at this point in time students in Russia are generally
not going into science or engineering as a career choice, similarly to the

PER does have a quantifiable positive effect with respect to medical
doctors. The study of PER vs non PER classes showed significant gains on
the MCAT for women which means that more students were able to continue
their medical studies. Traditionally women score lower in the physics
portion, but PER wipes out most of the differential. This study was
reported at an APS meeting.

The question to ask is: "Which of my colleagues even had the opportunity to
take a PER based course?" And for the vast majority of us the answer is
NONE, so the question about evidence is nonsensical. It takes years and
significant statistics to be answered. It is sort of like asking where is
the evidence of a lower birth rate the night after every person uses

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

Something that's been percolating finally has come thru.

OTOH, I think this has already been mentioned and I forgot.

The purpose of PER is not to create productive physicists. I suspect
the vast majority of them have and will become by any method of
"teaching". The usefulness of PER is to replace Aristotelian
thought w/ more correct thought and thinking methods in those who
thru fortune have not been so blessed already.

bc blessed.

On 2008, May 12, , at 06:58, Jack Uretsky wrote:

Most of the post-docs who are accepted at Argonne (for three year
camef foreign schools and have established reputations. As far as
I can
tell, they are products of traditional education.

Where is the evidence of PER success in creating productive
physicists and