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Featured Science Facts Discovered in 2017

  1. Jan 3, 2018 #21

    scottdave

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    Reminds me like the book Brave New World.
     
  2. Jan 3, 2018 #22

    scottdave

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    I'd like to read more about that. I can go Googling, but do you have any reference?
     
  3. Jan 3, 2018 #23

    bhobba

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    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/revolution-school/
    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/revolution-in-the-classroom/3815376

    Here is the actual research:
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/revolution-school/Summary_Survey_And_Research.pdf

    Here is the truth and what Australians think is the truth:
    Australians get fail mark on what works to improve schools A significant number of Australians wrongly believe that smaller class sizes, compulsory homework and private schooling all lead to better academic results for students. A national survey has found serious misconceptions about the most effective ways to raise Australian academic standards, which have fallen significantly in international rankings over the past decade. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the landmark fourpart ABC series, Making the Grade, which follows a year in the life of Kambrya College, a state secondary school in Melbourne’s outer south-eastern suburb of Berwick. In 2008 Kambrya’s Year 12 results put it in the bottom ten per cent of secondary schools in Victoria. Making the Grade follows the transformation of the school under the leadership of principal Michael Muscat, to the point where it is in the top 25% of schools. Muscat and his colleagues manage more than 1000 students, including those struggling to cope with school and home life. Making the Grade gives a raw and honest insight into the challenges facing these teenagers, while also showcasing what really works in classrooms to improve academic results. The series highlights the internationally renowned research of Professor John Hattie, and one of the world’s top ranked education institutions, the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education. During 20 years of research analysing more than 70,000 studies involving a third of a billion students from around the world, Professor Hattie has established what is most effective to improve student learning.

    He has found that teaching which involves goal-oriented, specific feedback to students, and positive teacher-student interaction, have the most impact on learning growth. Contrary to what the survey has revealed many Australians believe, Hattie’s research has established that smaller class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities and hours of homework have little or no impact on results:

    “Reducing class size does enhance achievement, however, the magnitude of that effect is tiny,’’ says Professor Hattie. “And the reason that it’s so small is because teachers don’t change how they teach when they go from a class of thirty to fifteen.’’ The national survey found more than three quarters of Australians incorrectly think smaller class sizes have a positive impact on academic achievement. Less than 10% of people got this right."

    Australians had other misconceptions:
    1. Fifty two percent believe wearing a school uniform has a positive impact on students’ results, but Hattie’s research has found it has no impact at all
    2. When asked if the academic achievement of secondary school students was better at single sex schools compared to co-ed schools, only a third correctly answered that it was not
    3. More than two thirds of Australians incorrectly think that regular homework is essential for students to succeed at secondary school
    4. When asked if the standard of teaching in private schools promoted greater academic growth among students compared to teaching in government schools, 43% wrongly answered yes
    5. Only 34% correctly answered that there was no difference between private and public schools in terms of student’s academic growth
    6. Nearly a third of Australians under-estimate the number of hours teachers work each week.

    The survey also found two thirds of people think teaching is a worthy profession but ranked teachers behind doctors, lawyers, university lecturers, elite athletes and nurses in terms of perceived status in our society. More than two thirds of people think schools should place more emphasis on literacy and numeracy, but only 13% strongly agree that Australia should push secondary students harder to outperform Asian countries.

    Just an example of the actual research, not peoples perceptions:

    Myth:
    Homework is a necessary evil
    Reality:
    Hattie’s meta-analysis has shown that the amount of homework a student does in primary school has no effect on student achievement or progress. He is not saying that there should be no homework, but if schools are going to set homework (which many parents expect) then the focus should be on the type of homework given. For example, children at primary level should be given fewer projects but could instead be set short activities to reinforce what they learnt that day. Homework does have more effect on results for secondary school children, but generally students are given too much. A short time spent practicing what was taught that day can have the same effect as one or two hours of study. John Hattie says he rarely enforced his own four children doing homework, saying it was what happened in the classroom that mattered. “Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger… Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it … If you try and get rid of homework in primary schools many parents judge the quality of the school by the presence of homework. So, don’t get rid of it. Treat the zero as saying, “It’s probably not making much of a difference but let’s improve it”. Certainly I think we get over obsessed with homework. Five to ten minutes has the same effect of one hour to two hours. The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects. The best thing you can do is to reinforce something you’ve already learnt.”

    Myth:
    Reducing class size leads to better outcomes for students
    Reality:
    Reducing class size can enhance student achievement but generally the effect is only marginal. What really matters is that the teacher is effective and having an impact, no matter what size the class is. Hattie: “Well, the first thing is, reducing class size does enhance achievement. However, the magnitude of that effect is tiny. It’s about a 105th out of 130-odd effects out there and it’s just one of those enigmas, and the only question to ask is, ‘Why is that effect so small?’ And the reason, we’ve found out, that it’s so small is because teachers don’t change how they teach when they go from a class of thirty to fifteen.’’

    Bottom line - teacher quality and how they teach is the key - all the rest is mostly not worth worrying about. Yet people think it's the other stuff that's important - it isn't. Now this is counter intuitive and you certainly cant blame people for not knowing it - I don't. What concerns me, and the comment in relation to Carl Sages observation, is all this has been on the media a lot, at least here in Australia. They should know it. But it just seems to go in one ear and out the other.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  4. Jan 3, 2018 #24

    mfb

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    Just going by what you quoted here, I think the author tried really hard to tell everyone else that they are wrong.
    I wonder why they would think this?
    And I would like to offer another point of view: Increasing the class size will reduce achievements. The study highlights the need for "specific feedback to students, and positive teacher-student interaction" - that gets more difficult with larger classes and more classes. You have less time for each student, and it gets harder to memorize details about every single student.
    So more than 2/3 overestimated it? Or do we make arbitrary "that agrees" ranges to get whatever fraction we want?
    There can be more than one worthy profession. You don't have to rank everything you call a worthy profession at rank 1.
    Maybe they are simply not used to smaller classes and teaching would change after a year or two.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2018 #25

    bhobba

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    They have been trying smaller class sizes for years - utter flop. And he found what impact there was as tiny. To be exact - he said - “Well, the first thing is, reducing class size does enhance achievement. However, the magnitude of that effect is tiny. It’s about a 105th out of 130-odd effects out there and it’s just one of those enigmas, and the only question to ask is, ‘Why is that effect so small?’ And the reason, we’ve found out, that it’s so small is because teachers don’t change how they teach when they go from a class of thirty to fifteen.’’

    So why not do those over 100 other things first?

    Well yes Professor Hattie is highly likely to tell his side of the story - he has spend 20 year compiling the data.

    What is the scientific method - try it and see - but of course trying it means just that - do not implement such things until you are 100% sure it works.

    Also look at the schools where it was tried - it worked brilliantly. They however are a very small sample - it needs to be tried at more schools.

    The point though was not the intellectual debate you are engaging in - it was this has been widely reported here in Aus and people still believed what they wanted to believe - not what research showed. If, like you, they engaged in intellectual debate about it - fine - even better than blindly accepting it - but to have little or no impact at all - that's sad.

    But I think discussing this particular example of item 14 really needs its own thread - its just an example - not the main point of the thread.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  6. Jan 3, 2018 #26

    mfb

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    Maybe some are done, some cost money, and some are unpopular for other reasons.
    Just telling teachers you are trying something new and monitoring the progress can have a positive effect already.

    I don't say he is wrong, but he should work on the way he presents his results, that might increase the acceptance of them.
     
  7. Jan 3, 2018 #27

    bhobba

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    That is very possible. He is an academic and would have presented his results in academic journals. He has spoken to the media of course - that's why it has been reported - and quite frequently actually. That's why some schools trialed it - they were desperate and did it as a last resort - which itself speaks volumes. The thing is it worked. It should be opened up to even larger trials - and not just those so desperate they will try anything. But teachers will have to change their ways - changing how you do things is a lot harder than saying - give me smaller class sizes. So naturally it doesn't have the enthusiastic support of teachers - they always harp on easier things for them - like smaller class sized etc than how they teach. BTW this is not a criticism - its just natural human nature. I remember I had to change my ways when I went from a computer programmer in one government department to another. There walkthroughs where you are criticized by your peers was mandatory - it took some adjusting - and it wasn't exactly nice.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
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