Volume 16, Issue 2
Welcome Come and share your STEM ideas and leave with innovative opportunities
October 26-29, 2011 Concurrent Sessions, Keynote Panel & Lunch Speakers Affiliate Meet & Greet Lunch and Receptions
Conference Hotel: The Historic Driskill Hotel Conference Code: NCSSSMST $239 single/double + tax (rate good through September 26) phone: 512-474-5911 Conference Opening Reception October 26, 6:00 p.m. Conference ends at noon, October 29 Registration is now open visit www.ncsssmst.org for forms Important Deadlines: August 31 - Early Bird Registration Deadline September 26 - Advanced Registration Deadline October 16 - Regular Registration Deadline Co-host: Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin, TX Check out the Conference Blog for updates www.s-cubedaustin2011.org
2011 Professional Conference Grand Sponsor
Consortium Board 2010-2011
Editor’s Page by Ron Laugen
President’s Message by Karen Pikula
Negotiating the Path: Special Populations in Gifted Education — A Review by Jerald Thomas
Talent Development in STEM Disciplines: Developing Talent That Leads to Innovation by Julia Link Roberts
Bringing Mission to Practice: It’s a Matter of Ethics by Thomas Joseph
Lessons Learned from Starting a STEM School by Tim Gott
Teaching and Learning: Web Engagement — Are We at the Next Level? by Cheryl A. Lindeman
Arts Corner: STEM Inventiveness and the Arts by Arthur S. Williams
Assessing Admission Interviews at Residential STEM Schools by Brent M. Jones
STEM Leaders Roundtable: Part I —Research and the Curriculum by Donna Hutchison and Steve Warshaw
Affiliate Spotlight: The Art of Science Learning Conferences by Tanya Cabrera
Technology Focus: Software for Helping Students Link Function Representations by Barbara Ann Kitchell and Joe Garofalo
Extreme Technology — USNA Style!
KAREN PIKULA, President Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology (MI) MARY ANN SUDDETH, Vice President Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology (GA) HEATHER SONDEL, Secretary Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (VA) HUNGSIN CHIN, Treasurer Alabama School of Fine Arts JERALD THOMAS, Past President Aurora University (IL) CHERYL LINDEMAN, Interim Executive Director Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology STEVE CANIPE, Executive Director effective 4/1/2011 Walden University (MN) CRYSTAL BONDS Brooklyn Technical High School (NY) TANYA CABRERA Illinois Institute of Technology SUSAN CAFFERY Academy of Science and Technology (TX) NICOLE CULELLA Brooklyn Technical High School (NY) BRENDA PRATER EARHART Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (MI) MARK GODWIN South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics TIM GOTT The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science (KY) DONNA HUTCHISON Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts ROSEMARIE JAHODA The Bronx High School of Science (NY) CHRISTOPHER KOLAR Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy LETITA MASON North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics JOHN STORMBERG Liberal Arts and Science Academy (TX) SHARON WEBB Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (VA)
Journal Reviewers MARION BRISK North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics KAREN GLUMM North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics DR. PETER KISH Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics DR. JOHN KOWALSKI Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science and Technology DR. DAVID LAMBERT Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts DR. MARTIN SHAPIRO, RETIRED Center for Advanced Technologies (FL) DR. AMY SHECK North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics DR. JERALD THOMAS Aurora University (IL) Educators at member schools and affiliate colleges and universities interested in serving on the Journal review team, please contact Ron Laugen at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
On the Cover STEM Leaders Roundtable participants at Sigma Xi Headquarters, Research Triangle Park, NC April 28-29, 2011
NCSSSMST Journal is the official publication of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology. Editorial Office: Central Virginia Governor’s School 3020 Wards Ferry Rd. Lynchburg, VA 24502 (434) 582-1104 (434) 239-4140 (fax) 2010-2011 STAFF Dr. Ron Laugen, Editor NCSSSMST Program Coordinator email@example.com Dr. Steve Warshaw, Associate Editor North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Cheryl Lindeman, Business Manager Interim Executive Director NCSSSMST Central Virginia Governor’s School email@example.com Lynne Eccard Graphic Designer firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dr. Thomas Morgan, Founding Editor Dr. Jerald Thomas, Past Editor Dr. Arthur S. Williams, Past Editor Dr. Martin Shapiro, Past Editor Dr. Richard W. Shelly, Past Associate Editor Gary L. White, Past Co-Editor The NCSSSMST Journal (ISSN 1084–6522) is published twice a year in May and November. Copyright ©2011 by the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST). All rights reserved. Editorial material published herein is the property of the NCSSSMST unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed in the NCSSSMST Journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the NCSSSMST. Permissions: Copyrighted material from the NCSSSMST Journal may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes provided full credit acknowledgements and a copyright notice appear on the reproduction. Other requests for reprinting should be directed to the Business Manager. Submissions: Manuscripts for feature articles and teacher practice summaries are invited. Author guidelines are found at www.ncsssmst.org>publications>journal. The NCSSSMST Journal assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. Student research papers are encouraged. Web site: www.ncsssmst.org Postmaster: Send address changes and subscription requests to the NCSSSMST Journal, Central Virginia Governor’s School, 3020 Wards Ferry Road, Lynchburg, VA. 24502 Subscriptions: Individual subscription price is $50.00 per year US dollars and $75.00 per year for international subscriptions with postage at an additional cost. Institutional Pricing is available by contacting NCSSSMST. Selected back issues are available for $15.00. Advertising: Request information on advertising in the Journal from the Business Manager.
Editor’s Page By Dr. Ron Laugen The call for contributions for this Spring 2011 issue of the Journal seemed to fall on busy ears and so I began thinking we would have very few pages. SURPRISE! We’re a bit late but received some excellent submissions that will inform practice, let you know what is going on in some member schools, and maybe even generate some controversy! I normally write this column to highlight the contents in their order in the Table of Contents. Not this time. Instead, I want to alert you to what I think you readers need to pay significant attention to. First, there is the question of admissions interviews. Does your school or program conduct interviews as part of your decision process? (Mine did and still does.) If so, read Brent Jones’ wellresearched and referenced article on interviews at residential STEM schools. He documents and explains real issues with interview bias, validity, and reliability and then offers recommendations for improving the interview process for all involved. In this issue’s Negotiating the Path column, Jay Thomas shares a review of an important book that should be on the shelves of all NCSSSMST professionals – Special Populations in Gifted Education. As Letita Mason, coordinator of the column, writes in her introduction: “This book offers insights for identifying and educating gifted students from non-Anglo cultures while also examining issues that impact multicultural, rural, female, gay/lesbian/bisexual, and disabled student populations.” In an interesting confluence of contributions related to STEM inventiveness and innovation, Julia Roberts in her column on Talent Development, Art Williams in his Arts Corner, and Affiliate Columnist Tanya Cabrera discuss strategies to develop and foster these traits in our students. It is important to consider their ideas as they relate to global competitiveness and the world our students will live in.
From a technology usage perspective, we have a student research paper and two columns for you. Rising senior Michelle Dunn developed a process to measure the electrical storage efficiency of a flywheel system. Her data suggest an interesting alternative. Cheryl Lindeman provides some teaching insights from her experiences with GapMinder and N-Print, getting students to another level of use of the Internet. Finally, Barbara Ann Kitchell and Joe Garofalo present some more of their work with mathematical repre- Ron Laugen, Ph.D., is Editor of this issue of the NCSSSMST sentational software. Journal and a past president of Students face serious ethical challenges every day. NCSSSMST. Perhaps offering a course in ethics might help make a difference. Thomas Joseph provides background He retired in 2008 as Headmaster on and describes the Considerations in Ethics course of the Conroe ISD (TX) Academy of Science and Technology, taught at the Illinois Math and Science Academy where he served for 16 years. (IMSA) for NCSSSMST members to consider. Many of you school administrators, as I did, will relate to the article by Tim Gott of the Gatton Academy in Kentucky, who discusses what he learned in opening a new residential school. As he says, “You reap what you sow.” What we invest in our students pays us back in the future! And congratulations to Tim: the Gatton Academy was ranked number 5 in the June 27 Newsweek list of the Best High Schools in the U.S. Last, but certainly not least, there are two articles about NCSSSMST programming. Part one of the report from the NCSSSMST STEM Leaders Roundtable hosted by SigmaXi in the Research Triangle is shared in this issue. A glimpse of the new student research conference hosted by the United States Naval Academy is captured in a photo essay. I hope you find this issue as interesting to read as I did putting it together for you.
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President’s Message By Karen Pikula Our NCSSSMST Mission states that we “serve our members’ students and professionals, foster collaborations, inform STEM policy, and advocate transformation in education.” As President I feel confident that we are focused on these challenges. Consider this: STEM and 21st-century skills are in the news almost every day. We are all looking for ways to meet these challenges together with all the other demands on us. I want to shout, “Here we are!” NCSSSMST is an organization composed of outstanding educators with demonstrated Karen Pikula is Mathematics and student success in both of these areas. But this Science K12 Teacher Leader for does not mean we can relax. the Dearborn, Michigan Public Schools and current NCSSSMST As an organization we have to become more 21st President. century. I tasked each of the committees of the
I invite your comments at PikulaK@dearborn.k12.mi.us.
Board of Directors to meet virtually before our April Directors meeting. We will next hold a virtual Board meeting in June. A virtual meeting will not only save travel expenses for our schools and scheduling hassles for members whose schools are still in session, but it moves us forward as well. I expect that the virtual committee meetings will encounter problems that we can fix prior to our virtual June meeting. Hands-on experience is good learning opportunity for adults as well as students. And, I can dream. We need to make ourselves part of the transformation of education as more STEM schools are created. What can we offer, both as an organization and as individuals? In 2005, at the meeting I was elected to the Board, we presented each member with a copy of NCSSSMST’s Guiding Student Research. This is one book I did not just put on a shelf. At my school we carefully studied how to implement its strategies. We reworked our courses to include an opportunity for every ninth
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and tenth grader to become a scientist - to know first hand that STEM is not just about content, but about asking questions, developing ways to find solutions, using appropriate tools, communicating findings, and asking more questions. Wow, this sounds like 21st century skills to me. Guiding Student Research is still a valuable resource. If you do not have your own copy, then go to NCSSSMST.org. You will forever be happy you did. NCSSSMST is preparing to publish a new book electronically! Schools Like Ours: Realizing our STEM Future has been a multi-year undertaking by five NCSSSMST Past Presidents with input from current and past Board members. President Obama directed to Education Secretary Duncan to create 1,000 new STEM schools. What should they look like? Again, we can help meet this challenge. It is amazing how alike we are, yet how different. Stay tuned! What about “fostering collaborations?” We host a Professional Conference each year for our member-school educators. And we know that intentions run high but implementation lags. For example, when I attend a professional development session I come back with lots of ideas, ready to try out with students. Then reality hits and often those good intentions get put on a shelf or in a file cabinet for another day. As part of Connecting Consortium Professionals (CCP) at ncsssmst.org, we have included a section for conference presenters to share their PowerPoints and handouts. CCP also has a bulletin board section supporting discussions among professionals. But like our other good intentions we probably do not find the time to access and use this wealth of information.
Have you ever wanted to share water quality data with students in a different geographic region? Have you wanted to videoconference with students but don’t know where to begin? Do you have a few students who are just beyond what you can offer and wouldn’t it be great to have them connect with others like them? How can these and your other efforts be sustained? Good News! Our 2011 Professional Conference, to be held in Austin, Texas October 26-29, will address these questions. The October Conference will have a built in safety net. Its purpose is to organize and carry out professional development and student involvement opportunities the year after the Conference, inspired by discussion and exploration of the conference theme: Cultivate, Balance, Sustain through Innovation.
On Saturday, participants will work in small groups to develop professional development and student project action plans and to make commitments. These plans and commitments will be shared with the entire group so you can bring opportunities back to your school. Then, with the teachers at the Austin Liberal Arts and Science Academy holding the net, we will implement our plans. We will give ourselves and our students authentic 21st century STEM experiences. Check ncsssmst.org for Conference registration information. Hope to see you in Austin!!
The Conference will open Thursday with a panel discussion related to an overarching question: “How can we broaden STEM education to reflect a current world climate, expanding everything we teach to include ethics, balanced science curriculum, and the “3 E’s” of sustainability: economics, environment, and social equity?” Breakout sessions and presentations on Thursday and Friday will then focus on these questions and various aspects of the Conference theme in curriculum, connections, and leadership.
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Negotiating the Path: Special Populations in Gifted Education — A Review By Jerald Thomas, Ed.D., Aurora University Editor’s Note: This is the fifth installment of Negotiating the Path, coordinated by Letita Mason at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Ideas for future columns, contributions, and feedback may be sent to her at email@example.com. Dr. Jay Thomas, our guest columnist, expands the discourse on diversity with a candid reflection on and review of the book Special Populations in Gifted Education. Today’s labor market is as diverse as any 21st century classroom. If we are to prepare a new generation of students to thrive in the rapidly changing world markets we must first come to terms with the significant shift in the composition of the evolving labor market in the United States. This book offers insights for identifying and educating gifted students from non-Anglo cultures while also examining issues that impact multicultural, biracial, rural, female, gay/lesbian/bisexual, and disabled student populations. As the professionals in member institutions continue to negotiate our respective paths toward greater diversity and inclusion within STEM education, Special Populations in Gifted Education is a useful tool that can assist us along our journey. -Letita Mason Several years ago at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, we conducted a short survey of languages spoken in our students’ homes. In a school with an enrollment of around 600, we found that there were nearly forty different languages. Such a finding illustrates, perhaps, the cultural diversity in the school, but it hardly begins to describe the variety of students we encountered every day.
Jerald (Jay) Thomas, Ed.D., is NCSSSMST Immediate Past-President and is an associate professor of education at Aurora University in Illinois. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Special Populations in Gifted Education (2011) helps us unpack the concept of diversity as we understand and apply it in our schools. If we look within our Consortium schools, we readily recognize the many cultural, familial, linguistic, social, and developmental forces at play in our students’ lives. If we look across our schools, however, we see even greater diversity – in ways that are effectively presented in this book. How, for example, do the needs and expectations of a gifted, ELL student at a diverse urban high school differ from those of a gifted, rural student whose school cannot effectively meet the needs of the most talented students?
Special Populations is an edited volume that expands the popular concept of “diversity” in a gifted population and also provides an array of resources and strategies for identifying gifted students from various backgrounds, supporting students with multiple exceptionalities, and deploying and evaluating programs for gifted students. The first third of the book provides research-based perspectives and strategies for distinct groups of gifted students – Asian students, rural students, twice-exceptional students, and highly gifted students. The second section of the book asks questions and poses strategies for meeting the needs of ELLs. The book concludes with an array of current concerns in the field of gifted education practice, policy, and advocacy. In the book’s introduction, the authors note that the original framework for the book called for forty chapters on an array of topics, but Special Populations, in its published form, comprises twenty chapters across the three sections. While the book would be generally informative to all educators, not just those in the field of gifted, the
organization likely lends itself to different areas of practice. For example, the chapters on gifted subpopulations would be particularly useful to the teacher who needs to understand the factors that might underlie a particular student’s disposition toward authority, while the chapter on cultural competency might be most informative to a building administrator who is concerned with the preparedness of his faculty in meeting the needs of a special population. As an edited volume, the book does not present a common format or perspective across the contributions. A number of chapters, such as those on demographically different groups, rely largely on recent primary research to characterize the students themselves. The chapter on gifted females, however, explores research on psychosocial development (e.g., body image and mother/daughter relationships) among adolescent females and suggests how those trends intersect with the development of the gifted female.
Also, in a chapter that otherwise might have provided a meaningful cultural perspective on understanding giftedness in Native American cultures, the authors devote nearly the entire chapter to designing experiences that align with the visual-spatial learners in a Navajo community in Page, AZ, without providing much evidence that such a practice enhances learning. Special Populations is broad in scope and the editors make it clear from the outset that there are twenty or so more chapters that could easily have found their way in. The editors were recognized by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented with the 2010 Legacy Book Award for “excellent long-term potential for improving the lives of gifted youth.” I look forward to the next twenty chapters. Reference Special Populations in Gifted Education (2011). Jaime A. Castellano and Andrea Dawn Frazier, (Eds.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Paperback, $79.95.
The experience of the gifted learner is captured variously through individual case study, models of exemplary programs, and support from recognized voices in the field. Despite the multiple approaches, perspectives, and styles, the defining question in Special Populations is how we can identify, support, and advocate for students who have historically been subject to systematic neglect within our profession. Why have these students been “on the outside looking in” (p. xv)? However, as an educational psychologist, I must note one concept that has persisted in practice despite a lack of support in the literature and that is referenced quite frequently in Special Populations, namely the concept of learning styles. In chapter one, in fact, the author cites an array of studies on learning styles among Asian students “despite questions by researchers regarding the efficacy of learning style assessment and the relationship of learning styles to instruction and performance” (pp.12-13).
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Talent Development in STEM Disciplines: Developing Talent That Leads to Innovation By Julia Link Roberts, Ed. D., Western Kentucky University Editor’s Note: Talent Development in STEM Disciplines explores issues related to specialized school students in each Journal issue. Dr. Roberts invites reactions, questions, and suggestions at email@example.com. Innovation is a term being used frequently in economic and political discussions and also . Innovation has been the focus of several national reports. One such report, entitled Innovation America (2007), was issued by the National Governors Association. President Obama used the term in his January, 2011’s State of the Union Address stating that “the first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation…. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” Others refer to this second decade of the 21st century as the Innovation Age, having moved beyond the Information Age.
Dr. Julia Link Roberts is Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies and Executive Director of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and the Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University.
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Innovation fuels the economy by creating jobs rather than just filling them. So what does this term innovation connote? Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2009) says that innovation is (1) “the introduction of something new” and (2) “a new idea, method, or device.” Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation’s Human Capital (2010) describes STEM innovators as: those individuals who have developed the expertise to become leading STEM professionals and perhaps the creators of significant breakthroughs or advances in scientific and technological understanding. A key component of innovation is the development of new products, services and processes essential to the Nation’s international leadership. (p. 1). What skills does a potential innovator need to develop? What characteristics must be encouraged among young scholars so that they learn to think like innovators? Here’s what Intel says:
“Intel salutes today’s innovators and believes a solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and digital literacy are crucial to the success of tomorrow’s innovators.” (http://bigthink.com/ series/36#!selected_item=4529) All of those skills as well as the math and science preparation are These should be fundamental components of the a student’s experience in a specialized STEM secondary school with a focus on math and science. The question then related to specialized secondary schools is how can students be prepared to be innovators? That question has several answers. Our schools prepare young people through learning experiences that promotes the following: (1) A strong background in math, science, and technology;, (2) An integrative approach to processing content, including background in the arts and humanities (Adding Art to STEM creates STEAM.);, (3) Investigative, probing thinking that leads to creative ways of seeing problems and/or addressing issues;, (4) The ability to work collaboratively while solving problems and/or conducting research; , and (5) The ability to persevere in spite of frustration and to learn from failure. A heuristic model with innovation as the theme is shown in Figure 1 (Roberts & Boggess, p. 143). Baxter, Bemiss, Inman, and Roberts developed this model to provide teachers and students with both
direction into the kinds of thinking that lead to innovation and an overview to focus curricular implementation. The various verbs in the heuristic guide the thinking at various points in the investigative and problem-solving process. Note the key words on the heuristic model – connect, inquire, create, analyze, enhance, and communicate. There is no specific starting point or ending point with the processes but rather each is important and occurs at various times within the investigative process. Equally important are the verbs describing the six processes, such as notice, wonder, and imagine. Furthermore, innovative thinking is not limited to the study of STEM disciplines but should become a way of thinking both inside and outside of school. Perhaps the most important point in the preparation of innovators is that while a strong background in math and science is a great start, it is not the end goal. Instead, Fallows and Wallace (2011) state: Fostering innovation, in other words, isn’t just a matter of improving the quantity or quality of math and science education. It’s a matter of restructuring how we approach and teach all our subjects, from the liberal arts to math, science and engineering. And it means focusing as much on teaching how to combine those fields of knowledge and think in flexible, integrative, and creative ways, as we do on the subject matter itself. The big problems in this world do not have rightanswer solutions. Instead, solving problems related to sustainability, health, energy, natural disasters, and global climate warming change require innovative thinking. Asking the right questions is vital to solving real problems. Keeping one’s mind open to possibilities is essential. Boosting and sustaining a vibrant economy depends on innovations that create new jobs; and often new jobs come as the result of innovations in science, technology, and engineering. The importance of innovation cannot be overestimated, and specialized STEM secondary schools of math,
science, and technology can play an essential role in preparing young people to be innovators. Resources Fallows, J., & Wallace, L. (2011). Innovation isn’t about math. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://ww.theatlantic.com/national/print/2011/ 01? innovation-isnt-about-math/7042/ National Science Board. (May, 2010). Preparing the next generation of STEM innovators: Identifying and developing our nation’s human capital. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Roberts, J. L., & Boggess, J. R. (2011). Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
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Bringing Mission to Practice: It’s a Matter of Ethics by Thomas Joseph, Aurora University Author Note: I enrolled as a graduate student at Aurora University in 2008 pursuing an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. One of the most rewarding experiences of that endeavor has come through the relationship Aurora enjoys with the nearby Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) which has afforded me an opportunity to explore a realm that, despite 15 years of classroom experience, is completely new to me—the field of gifted education. IMSA endeavors to “ignite and nurture creative, ethical scientific minds that advance the human condition” and both IMSA and Aurora express a commitment to the transformative power of education and collaboration among their community members. Since NCSSSMST seeks to foster such relationships, I thought its Journal readership might find an account of IMSA’s Considerations in Ethics (CinE) program a valuable contribution to ongoing conversations about best practices and to enriching opportunities among its member schools. Overview Last fall, I attended an evening seminar in the IMSA auditorium that began with a presentation of the following medical scenario: A fourteen-year-old girl with cancer has reached the terminal stage, yet her family has instructed medical staff not to tell her the prognosis. How should caregivers respond if the girl asks about her condition?
Thomas Joseph is a Doctoral Candidate at Aurora University, Aurora, IL. His dissertation is a phenomenological study of oppositional adolescent peer crowds. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lisa Anderson-Shaw, Director of Clinical Ethics Consulting Service at the University of Illinois Medial Center, posed this question to approximately two hundred IMSA juniors that November evening. The scenario inspired a thirty-minute discussion of contemporary bioethics, during which speaker and students untangled issues of patient autonomy, utilitarianism, and the Kantian notion of a human’s right to unconditional truth. The rich discussion was part of IMSA’s Considerations in Ethics (CinE) program - a series of nine lectures and small-group discussions designed to advance the ethics component of IMSA’s mission. IMSA President Glenn “Max” McGee explained the genesis of the CinE program at the November 2010 NCSSSMST/National Association of Gifted Children joint professional conference in Atlanta.
He cited post-graduation data that revealed NCSSSMST member school graduates consistently rated their schools’ contributions to their ethical decision making skills lower than critical thinking, creative thinking, and research skills (Thomas & Love, 2002). President McGee also referenced findings from an internal survey on academic integrity that raised concern among the IMSA faculty. The CinE initiative was developed and launched in light of these findings. Dr. Lee Eysturlid, who is the architect of the CinE program and an IMSA history faculty member, then outlined the program’s specific objectives and described the curriculum to session participants. As Dr. Eysturlid explained, the program intends to: (1) fulfill IMSA’s mission to create ethical leaders; (2) address issues of academic dishonesty; (3) generate in students a belief that ethics and moral philosophy is a field of inquiry that is integral to human endeavor; and (4) create a program open to expansion and development. The monthly CinE seminars follow one of two formats. Roughly half of the monthly seminars involve a thirty-minute lecture drawn from a diverse array of philosophical traditions. Students are prepped in advance with a moderate dose of primary readings from the likes of Aristotle,
Immanuel Kant, John Stewart Mill, and Confucius. In addition to the presentation and discussion of ethical traditions, on alternating months Dr. Eysturlid invites speakers from an array of professions who, from their own experiences, share the types of ethical dilemmas they encounter regularly in their respective fields, such as medical ethics, legislative ethics, and educational ethics. Upon the conclusion of the evening’s lecture, students retreat to breakout classrooms where senior student facilitators, selected by Dr. Eysturlid, moderate smallgroup discussions. The evening’s readings and lecture orient students who then wrangle over ethically complex hypothetical scenarios, similar to the case of the terminally ill child.
Evaluation From its inception, IMSA realized that CinE is both critical to realizing its institutional mission and, as well, CinE is an innovative academic experience among specialized schools. With these thoughts in mind, IMSA built in two phases for evaluating the efficacy of CinE. First, rather than evaluate the program after several years of delivery, IMSA sought an external evaluator, Dr. Jay Thomas of Aurora University, to provide formative feedback over the course of one year of the experience. Dr. Thomas examined course materials, surveyed students, faculty, and senior facilitators, and examined the program with respect to current literature on gifted students and ethical development. At the mid-point and end of
the first year of the review, Dr. Thomas provided a formative report to Dr. Eysturlid and IMSA’s leadership team. Significant findings from the formative evaluation suggested that: • Nearly half of the students would be willing to enroll in a credit-bearing experience on the topic if it were made available as an elective course; • Students appreciated both the primary readings and the discussions that were grounded in real-life issues; • Students felt very strongly that they like to see the adult community members (faculty, residential life staff) involved, because it demonstrates that the community is invested in the topic; and
• The majority of the students were able to identify an ethical lens through which they now looked at issues they encounter. The second phase of the evaluation involves a research-based examination of changes in students’ understanding of ethics. This research is currently underway and will involve two years of data gathering using standardized instruments such as the Defining Issues Test (DIT). Dissemination The IMSA team concluded its Atlanta presentation of CinE by inviting feedback from the audience. They encouraged those interested to contact them with questions, comments, or to simply exchange Spring 2011 13
ideas about teaching ethics. Session participants left with a CD that included a CinE course outline, lecture notes, and various PowerPoint presentations – a product of IMSA’s sincere hope others will join the conversation about disseminating CinE among NCSSSMST member schools. Concluding Thoughts I think IMSA’s CinE program has tremendous potential for many curricular applications, whether replicated in whole or tailored to meet an individual school’s logistical context. As s former English teacher, I envision integrating CinE lectures with literary analysis. I imagine students applying Kantian Ethics to John Proctor’s moral dilemma, or examining the breakdown of social order in Lord of the Flies through any one of the philosophical lenses set forth in the CinE program. I imagine science and civics teachers bolstering their existing units to include the “real-world” application piece of the CinE program as their students explore ethical conundrums inherent within those fields. In my opinion, IMSA’s CinE program invites the exploration of big questions with implications spanning multiple domains of curriculum and instruction. • From a social foundations perspective, CinE evokes the challenge of selecting moral orientations for the curriculum while respecting all forms of diversity. • There are also implications for developmental psychology and gifted education in exploring the relationship between cognitive and moral development and whether CinE supports previous research that finds a high correlation between advanced academic ability and moral reasoning skills (Narvaez, 1993). • From an assessment perspective, measuring the impact of morals education has historically been problematic (Brimi, 2008); I am excited to be assisting in the effort currently underway to measure the impact of CinE on IMSA students’ ethical development. However, the greatest impact on my learning has been witnessing one school’s process for explicitly addressing its mission statement. IMSA cast
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critical eyes inwardly, enacted data-driven instructional innovation, and empowered a teacher-leader to bring about change - a synthesis of many things we graduate students learn about effective curricular reform. Having recently augmented their program to include the DIT as a quantitative measure of its impact, IMSA’s developing CinE initiative embodies best practice as they renew a mission “…to create ethical sCinEntific minds that advance the human condition.” Yet their commitment to their mission does not end there. IMSA invited educators in Atlanta that morning to join their conversation about teaching ethics to STEM school students. Their open call for partnership is reflected within the second significant aspect of their mission—to be a laboratory of best practice. Since the NCSSSMST’s mission is to support such collaborations, I hope readers from member schools consider similar programs and accept IMSA’s invitation to share ideas. I have learned that relationships spanning multiple professional networks are vital to addressing the big questions in any field and that we educators should take full advantage when those relationships present themselves. The relationship between Aurora University and IMSA has taken my own professional growth in new and exciting directions, and my time at the Atlanta conference revealed NCSSSMST’s unlimited potential for maximizing intellectual capital inherent in networks. I am beginning to believe it’s just the right thing to do. References Brimi, H. (2008). Academic instructors or moral guides? Moral education in America and the teacher’s dilemma. The Clearing House, 82 (3): 125-130. Narvaez, D. (1993). High achieving students and moral judgment. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 16 (3): 268-279. Thomas, J.A. & Love, B.L. (2002). An analysis of post-graduation experiences among gifted secondary students. NCSSSMST Journal, 6 (1): 3-8.
Lessons Learned from Starting a STEM School By Tim Gott, Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky It has been said that if you are fortunate, you will find a career or vocation that integrates your talents and passions in a meaningful and purposeful way. If so, I must be the most fortunate man alive. As Director of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky for the past four and a half years, I have had the distinct pleasure of leading an amazing group of students and staff in a residential program for high school juniors and seniors interested in advanced STEM careers. The years here at the Gatton Academy have been one of the most significant and life-altering periods of my professional and personal career. I do not mean to minimize the previous wonderful years I spent as a teacher, coach, counselor, advisor, consultant, and principal. Elements of my previous professional work prepared me to embark on this new educational journey. As I reflect on lessons learned over this experience, I want to share five core ideas that have influenced my life. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast! I suppose when you are planning to start something, you would not normally expect to have a decade-long waiting period. However, this excessive amount of time served us well. Dr. Julia Roberts began work on creating an academy in 1997, ten years before the Gatton Academy became a reality. She saw the need for an extension of the substantial work she had begun in the Western Kentucky University (WKU) Center for Gifted Studies. The Center was the perfect place to develop the concept of a residential school because of the many programs, such as summer camps for middle and early high school gifted students, already in place. After gathering support from the WKU president and leaders in state government, Dr. Roberts began traveling the long road of securing the needed legislation and funding. After many ups and downs, the
Gatton Academy began to take official form in 2005 when funding was granted for renovating our building. Communicating with and visiting other academies provided a wealth of support and knowledge in starting our program with a level of confidence. In the fall of 2006, staff members were hired to begin developing the policies and procedures for the program and recruiting potential students. On a hot afternoon in August 2007, we celebrated the opening of the Gatton Academy with 120 brave student pioneers and a host of supporters from all over the state. It took longer than anticipated but the extended time helped us to do things right and to develop a significant grassroots support system. Surround yourself with diversely talented people! No one person has all the experience or knowledge necessary to run a successful school. One of the major factors in our early success has been the depth of wisdom we harnessed through our administrative staff. Our assistant director of student life had substantial experience in three other academies, having been a charter member of one of those programs. Our assistant director of admissions and public relations came to us having experience working with gifted students at summer camps, was named the outstanding WKU graduate student, and was a national and international forensics champion - experiences that put him at ease in any group setting or presentation. Our counselorâ€™s residential experience and strong counseling background served us extremely well in dealing with all the challenges that will arise with young people.
Tim Gott is the Director of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky. He may be emailed at email@example.com.
Our residential life coordinatorâ€™s experience in retail management provided relevant comparisons to nonSpring 2011 15
educational environments that helped us develop the organizational structure of our residential program.
just their academics. So, as the movie Field of Dreams eloquently declares, “If you build it, they will come.”
Together, we were able to handle the vast array of challenges and problems that come with starting a new program like the Gatton Academy.
We began by reaching out to every student to get to know each one personally. Then, through sessions designed to help students address emotional and social dilemmas, we built bridges for students to use to come to the counselor and other staff members with a whole spectrum of issues.
Students rise to the level of expectation! I heard someone say with regard to NCLB that while we are certainly not leaving any child behind, we may also be making sure no child gets ahead as well. Particularly in light of the emphasis on 21st-century skills, we have traditionally missed the mark on preparing students to be creative and critical thinkers. Our students have soared because we have raised the ceiling on the courses they can take and we also provide rich experiences in research and in study abroad. They work alongside distinguished professors as they explore relevant and substantial real-life topics such as solar cell catalysts, wood lacquer polymers, parasite identification, and supernovae searches. As such, these students are developing those problem-solving and decision-making skills that so often are minimized in education today. Another area of high expectation is our independent social environment. When students are treated like young adults, they demonstrate that they can thrive with more autonomy and freedom. While we provide a strong element of support in their daily routines, students must get to class, manage their schedules, deal with daily needs, and interact with other students and adults across campus. We have seen students step up to these responsibilities with real commitment. Of course there are moments of poor decision-making, but no more often than typical adult populations. We view these stumbles as true teaching and learning opportunities that help students move forward in becoming mature adults. Gifted students are not exempt from the standard struggles of life! A major “aha!” moment over the years for us has been the extent of student social and emotional issues that have arisen. While we were prepared to deal with the usual adolescent crises typical of all schools, the number of students who came to us with major life concerns surprised us. We see this, ironically, as a significantly positive result. One of our early tenets was the desire to help students in all areas of their lives, not 16 NCSSSMST Journal
The lesson I take from all of this is that we adults unfortunately may minimize the depth of struggles students have and so we rarely provide them with meaningful resources to deal with these issues. But, when you do, the benefits are enormous. Relationships are the most important things in life! Without a doubt, the greatest gift from of the Gatton Academy has been the development of community. I personally have gained a huge extension to my family. Each student in his or her own way has left an imprint on my life and has found a place in my heart. I get an incredible sense of joy and satisfaction at commencement as we celebrate our graduating class. The accomplishments of the year, the growth in each student, and a huge sense of fulfillment surrounds the staff, students, families, and friends. It is not trivial or trite to say that genuine love develops over these two years at Gatton. Ultimately, the experiences here at the Gatton Academy adhere to what some refer to as the law of the harvest – you reap what you sow. Every investment in a student is a seed of promise for tomorrow. Our hope is that we will continue to see phenomenal results in the years ahead as the Gatton Academy continues to provide a conduit for personal and professional growth for outstanding students from across Kentucky. We believe the STEM community will certainly feel the impact of our having produced a substantial influx of bright minds. But, more important to us, we will continue to strive to create the deep relationships that will impact the lives of our students and staff in ways that we may never be able to fully articulate. Like the wind blowing across a wheat field, we may see the shape and form of these connections in the lives of each of these amazing young people for generations to come.
Teaching and Learning: Web Engagement – Are We at the Next Level? By Cheryl A. Lindeman, Ed.D., Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology When I am looking for new web resources for my students, I often sit down at the computer, use my favorite search engine, sip a cup of coffee, and then become totally immersed into the information highway. Recently, however, I discovered new web resources by attending a workshop and by reading an alumni magazine. I introduced both web resources to my senior classes and immediately received very favorable responses. Both resources were being used just days after my introduction. I think they passed the “beyond the casual visitor” test! I am excited about sharing these resources with you. During our 2011 Professional Conference in Austin, I will have a session talking about these resources related to teaching interdisciplinary environmental lessons. If you already have been using them in your classes, please email me about your experiences. First Resource: Gapminder If you are interested in world population data it is possible you’ve heard of Hans Rosling’s TedTalk about the world. When you search for him on the web, you will find a wealth of information at Gapminder.org. According to their homepage, “Gapminder is a non-profit foundation based in Stockholm. Our goal is to replace devastating myths with a fact-based world-view. Our method is to make data easy to understand. We are dedicated to innovate and spread new methods to make global development understandable, free of charge, without advertising. We want to let teachers, journalists and everyone else continue to freely use our tools, videos and presentations.” The Gapminder website has all the tools both teachers and students need to start a class lesson or an individual project. The presentation and web design create a learning platform that can be used
by a class or individual learner, in an online course, or for a demonstration. The teacher section is in the beta version, providing quick access to resources relating to Gapminder World, as well as for looking at the world population over 200 years, life expectancy, and global development. Be cautious when you see the words “for your lectures” because the Gapminder resources can easily be accessed by students as they develop their own understandings. And if you are looking for data sets, go to http://www.gapminder.org/data/. You can streamline your lesson plans by accessing this up-to-date information that has been screened by scientists and statisticians. More importantly, the design of the site allows learners to grasp information in a shorter time than usually possible with the included visualizations. For example, it is possible to track changes in agriculture across the biosphere and figure out the trends in over 50 countries in one dynamic graph! Then, it is possible to manipulate the data in logbased 10 and linear formats with a mouse click. Recently, I introduced our Senior Science Scenario problem about modeling the biosphere in 2050. I used the GapMinder CO2 Emissions Since 1820 visualization to introduce the problem. My seniors were amazed to see all the data being processed across the screen. Later I watched some of them enjoying the opportunity to say what if and then letting the graphs unfold data before their eyes. “Gosh, this is so cool,” responded one young lady who was visiting Gapminder for over 30 minutes on her own time. Second Resource: N-Print N-Print was highlighted in a short column in the Summer 2011 University of Virginia Magazine.
Cheryl A. Lindeman, Ed.D. is the biology instructor/partnership coordinator at Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring 2011 17
Dr. James Galloway, Associate Dean for the Sciences in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (my former environmental science professor) and graduate student Allison Leach were listed as two of the collaborators on the “nitrogen footprint” web-based calculator. Their web site, www.n-print.org, is part of the International Nitrogen Initiative, whose goal is to educate people to realize that monitoring nitrogen is just as important at carbon. Launched at the February, 2011 AAAS meeting in Washington, DC, their press release (http://www.n-print.org/node/40) highlights the need to think on a global perspective about nitrogen rather than only looking at data sets about the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. I was able to immediately incorporate this web tool to help us answer questions about the impact of nitrogen and how to use best management practices and education to address problems. They were able to make connections with reliable resources and understand why scientists are calling us to action. “There are more untold stories about nitrogen” according to Dr. Galloway. N-Print allows us to bridge the gap with our students as they ask their own questions. Based on personal communication with him, N-Print expects to have lesson plans available in the near future.
18 NCSSSMST Journal
Summary The challenge for all of us working with talented STEM students is to engage them with like-minded science leaders through direct contact and by using meaningful web resources. I believe that we should intentionally embed web resources into our teaching and learning activities. GapMinder and NPrint are candidates for taking students to another level of web engagement. The challenge for teachers is to introduce and model web engagement as another tool for students to be effective learners so they can analyze data sets and make better and more informed decisions “for” our biosphere. References Gapminder Foundation. www.Gapminder.org accessed May 15, 2011. http://www.n-print.org accessed May 15, 2011. http://uvamagazine.org/site/issue/ accessed May 15, 2011.
Arts Corner: STEM Inventiveness and the Arts By Arthur S. Williams, Ph.D., Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts One of the more hopeful mini-trends in academe may be that a few scholars in both science and the humanities are focusing on problems of undergraduate and general education. Literary scholars like E. D. Hirsch (Cultural Literacy) and, more recently, Mark Bauerlein (The Dumbest Generation) have challenged both educational practices and, in the latter instance, the informal habits of the young. Now, from the scientific side of the curriculum, comes Dr. Erich Kunhardt, physics professor at Polytechnic University of N.Y.U. and a presenter at the Fall 2010 NCSSSMST professional conference in Atlanta. Kunhardt recently spoke to the faculty of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. Professor Kunhardt’s motivaition comes from his perception that the current setup in higher education is not fostering the “inventiveness” that this country needs to remain competitive in the twenty-first century. (He separates “inventiveness” from “creativity,” though this may strike some as a distinction without a difference.) The problem as he sees it is that “jumps”—new ways of thinking about and doing things—do not emerge from what he calls the “analytics,” the basic principles of subjects themselves. Though a disciple of Thomas Kuhn might challenge him on the last point, the problems that Kunhardt envisions seem smaller and more specific than those of Kuhn’s paradigms. Kunhardt says, for example, that his personal goal is to build a better laser. Yet the question remains—if not from the formal study of subjects themselves, where does inventiveness come from?
To answer this question Kunhardt has looked to the arts and to the fashion industry. These people, after all, are in the business of inventing the new. In discussion he pointed to a recent essay in The Economist suggesting that art schools may have something to teach the rest of us. Kunhardt’s responses to his investigations comprise a potpourri of pedagogical strategies. He employs personal writing in his classes to encourage the idea that science consists of conceptual frames. He advocates including student portfolios among the criteria for graduation. He is a fan of team teaching as a way of creating contexts for learning. He requires participation in student colloquia. And, perhaps most importantly, he champions mentoring, or what he calls “hanging out,” as a teaching model. Kunhardt thus invites intention to the social and linguistic dimension of education. Interpreted as a way of indoctrinating students into the principles and practices of a field, mentorship does not appear to entail inventiveness in an obvious way. If, on the other hand, we conceive it, along with its cousin apprenticeship, as a vehicle for encouraging conversation and multiplying viewpoints, then we may be closer to understanding them as aids to invention. This only makes sense, however, if we recognize that inventiveness is partially a social phenomenon. Students learn to walk the walk at the same time they learn to talk the talk. As the socio-linguist Lev Vygotsky (Thought and Language) suggests, the young have to internalize a new language before they can think new ideas. Dr. Arthur S. Williams has taught English at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts since 1984. He may be reached at email@example.com. Spring 2011 19
Assessing Admission Interviews at Residential STEM Schools by Dr. Brent M. Jones, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Abstract: Seventeen state-sponsored residential math and science schools have been created across the country to direct talented teens toward STEM careers. Admission is selective, based on competitive grades, standardized test scores, and references. Most of the schools also require preadmission interviews. However, selection interviews may be challenged as being both unreliable and invalid based on rater biases and unstructured protocols. A questionnaire was returned by nine of the eleven interviewing state schools. Results indicate unfamiliarity with selection research, unaddressed interviewer biases, and failure to conduct reliability or validity studies. Reasons schools continue to interview despite such omissions and recommendations for improvement are discussed. Since 1980, 17 state sponsored residential math and science schools have been created across the country to direct talented teens ages 15 to 18 toward STEM careers. Eleven of the institutions are high schools with advanced curricula, and six are early college entry academies sharing campus facilities and faculty with traditional university students (Jones, 2009). Acceleration enables students to save considerable time and expenses as they later pursue graduate and professional degrees. The 17 specialty schools have been lauded for helping boost the supply and quality of domestic scientists and engineers (Atkinson, Hugo, Lundgren, Shapiro, & Thomas, 2007).
Dr. Brent M. Jones has been Director of Admissions of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas at Denton since 1995. He may be reached at Brent.Jones@unt.edu. 20 NCSSSMST Journal
Admission to these state residential STEM programs is restrictive, requiring competitive SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, and teacher evaluations. Since taxpayer dollars are involved, efforts are made to enroll classes representative of the statesâ€™ gender and ethnic profiles, provided grades and standardized scores meet minimum thresholds (Jones, 2009). Only one of the schools is legislatively mandated to admit equal percentages of qualified applicants from each of the stateâ€™s congressional districts.
In addition to academic requirements, most of the state STEM schools require preadmission interviews. However, the reliability and predictive validity of selection interviews has been repeatedly challenged. The abundant selection literature shows that skewed judgments frequently result from a wide range of rater biases unrelated to applicant qualifications. Background Physical Attractiveness Bias. Bias for beauty is among the most substantiated findings in social psychology (e.g., Beehr & Gilmore, 1982; Cash, Gillen, & Burns, 1977; Dipboye, Arvey, & Terpstra, 1977; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1986; Li, Bailey, Kenrick, & Linsenmeier, 2002; and Watkins & Johnston, 2002). A prototypical field study was performed by Shahani, Dipboye, and Gehrlein (1993), who examined physical attractiveness in evaluations of over 500 applicants to a private university. Application photographs were rated for attractiveness by independent raters. Applicants were then interviewed by several judges, and results revealed significantly more favorable evaluations for the attractive applicants. Although attractiveness was unrelated to GPA, high school rank, or SAT scores, physically appealing candidates were rated as having higher qualifications than those with lower attractiveness scores. The physical appearance bias has proven to be pervasive. In a meta-analysis of 123 attractiveness studies, Feingold (1992) reported physically attractive people were perceived as more sociable, dominant, mentally healthy, intelligent, and socially skilled than those judged unattractive. A metaanalysis involving job-related outcomes (Hosada, Stone-Romero, & Coats, 2003) reinforced the attractiveness bias for both men and women. This bias was evident whether judgments were made by professionals or college students, and whether job-relevant information about targets was low or high. The authors did note, however, the strength of the attractiveness bias was more pronounced in
the earlier (1975-84) than later studies (1995-99), suggesting some social progress. Selection biases also have been shown against overweight individuals (Benson et al., 1980; Kutcher & Bragger, 2006; and Puhl & Brownell, 2001), persons with disabilities (Miceli, Harvey, & Buckley, 2001), and those identified by ethnic name and accent cues (Purkiss, et al., 2006). Similarity Bias. In a study in which interviewerapplicant similarities were compared (Frank & Hackman, 1975), three admissions officers interviewed applicants to a prestigious university. Two of the three interviewers were more favorably disposed to candidates rated as having personality characteristics similar to theirs. The third interviewer showed no similarity bias, indicating some individuals are less swayed than others by such influences. The authors concluded that, allowing for individual differences, interviewer-interviewee similarity might be a serious source of bias in selection interviews. Although the preceding study gave no details about the age or background of the unbiased interviewer, might experience be a factor in resisting bias? A test is found in an experiment by Marlowe, Schneider and Nelson (1996) who attached male and female photographs of varying attractiveness to resume data sheets. Managers evaluated the equally outstanding resumes to which were attached photographs varying within a 2 x 2 (gender x attractiveness) design. Unmistakable evidence of both gender and attractiveness biases were revealed, although experienced managers were less prone to such expression. Even so, less attractive females were routinely disadvantaged whether managers were experienced or not. Rater Tendencies. Kerlinger (1986) addressed four common judgment errors that threaten validity: halo, severity, leniency, and central tendency errors. The halo effect error is the tendency for one trait or characteristic of a target to influence ratings of other traits. In the studies cited earlier, halo errors occurred when attractive people were seen as more qualified and intelligent than individuals rated lower in attractiveness.
Errors of severity and leniency are reverse judgment extremes. A rater guilty of severity is universally harsh in judging applicants, while a lenient judge indiscriminately favors everyone. The error of central tendency relates to an interviewerâ€™s penchant for consistently choosing the middle of a rating scale. Finally, Hills (1971) noted, â€œa poor applicant tends to make the applicant who follows him look good, and a good applicant handicaps the person who follows himâ€? (p. 692), which describes a contrast effect error. Medical School Interviews. A fertile area of interview research has centered on medical school applicants. Nearly all American medical schools have required candidate interviews (Edwards, Johnson, & Molidor, 1990), and given the extensive time and expense of arranging these evaluations, the process is considered essential. The same rater biases present in other contexts have been identified herein. The similarity bias, for example, was strongly implicated in a case involving the selection of orthopedic residents (Quintero, et al., 2009). Others researchers have found gender biases. Marquart, Franco, and Carroll (1990) noted differences in the questioning of female vs. male applicants and in the way applicants felt about their interviewers. Specifically, applicants believed they could be more honest with interviewers of the same gender. Johnson and Edwards (1991) surveyed admission officers at all 127 accredited U.S. medical schools and, with 72% responding, uncovered wide variability in the way interviews were conducted. The number of interviews required of each candidate, for instance, varied from one to four. The interview process either did (for 20% of respondents) or did not (75%) vary among applicants. The format involved either a single questioner or a panel of up to eleven interviewers. Regardless of procedure, however, all survey respondents considered interviews necessary to assess noncognitive traits, such as empathy, motivation, and persistence, although the schools differed on which traits should be assessed. Nevertheless, slightly more than half of the respondents failed to systematically analyze characteristics of Spring 2011 21
successful medical students to guide development of admission criteria. Such a job analysis could have been used to significantly improve interview validity (Campion, Pursell, & Brown, 1988). Only 12 of the responding schools examined interrater reliabilities, i.e., correlations between interviewers’ ratings for the same applicant. Few respondents (17%) indicated their schools offered training to limit rater bias, and fewer still (15%) promoted structured interviews. Only one-fifth of respondents indicated their schools evaluated the effectiveness of interviews in predicting medical student success. In sum, the value of interviews as predictors was more often assumed than demonstrated. This is pertinent because others have assailed medical student interviews as having no predictive value (Smith, Vivier, & Bain, 1986; Taylor, 1990). Smith, et al. (1986) examined student records at Brown University School of Medicine and found after two years “there was no significant difference on any variable between the interview and no-interview cohorts” (p. 405). Taylor (1990) reported that students selected with and without interviews at the University of Iowa Medical School were not materially different, either behaviorally or academically. The attrition rate for the two groups matched and there were neither more nor fewer problem students in either class. Can any studies be found supportive of academic interviews? A British medical school investigation warrants attention. Powis, Neame, Bristow, and Murphy (1988) compared interview records of medical students who did not complete training (n = 59) with students who graduated with honors (n = 67) over a nine-year period. Both groups were matched with controls by gender, age, and other characteristics. The authors determined students who did not graduate had been rated significantly poorer in interviews than matched controls that did graduate (p<.005). Further, honors graduates had considerably better interview scores than non-honors graduates (p<.04). By this scheme, satisfactory discrimination had been achieved, but even here, Siu and Reiter (2009) questioned the generalizability since correlations held only for a small number of students 22 NCSSSMST Journal
scoring highest (honors graduates) or lowest (nongraduates) on the predictor and outcome variables, but not for the entire cohort under investigation. Other Judgment Challenges. Authors have pointed to the difficult task of discerning whether personal characteristics assessed during medical school interviews were authentic or coached (Albanese, Snow, Skochelak, Huggett, & Farrell, 2003). Interviews may not help distinguish applicants motivated by altruism, for example, from those driven by status and power. Applicants appreciate that important decisions are based on interviews and it serves them to be perceived in an advantageous light. Pricey test preparation firms tout services in helping students maximize admission test scores, and it is likely applicants also seek help with interview preparation. In the Albanese, et al. (2003) study, first-year medical students were surveyed over three years with 4144% reporting they had received assistance in writing personal statements. With respect to raters, judgment errors can be minimized but interviewers first must be apprised of their susceptibility to bias (Edwards, Johnson, & Molidor, 1990; Quintero, et al., 2009). Structured interviews are advocated (Conway, Goodman, & Jako, 1995; Wiesner & Cronshaw, 1988) and are characterized by four steps — an initial job analysis to devise admission criteria based on expected performance; development of sample answers for rating scales followed by tips and practice to ensure consistent evaluations; agreement on the same questions to ask all interviewees; and use of interview panels to limit personal biases (Edwards, et al., 1990). Extended discussions of other biasing factors such as posture, facial expressions, and movements are found in Kahn (1957). Economic aspects are addressed in Cascio and Ramos (1986). Interviews at Residential Math and Science Schools Given a litany of challenges – biased rater tendencies, unstructured protocols, unreliability, poor predictive validity and more – most education studies paint a pessimistic portrait of selection interviews (e.g., Albanese, et al., 2003; Buckley, Norris, & Wiese, 1997; Feldhusen & Jarwan, 1995; Siu & Reiter, 2009; Smith, Vivier, & Bain,
1986). For such questionable gain, interviews also are quite costly, from securing faculty and staff services, to scheduling venues, tours and refreshments, to time and travel expenses for applicants. As true decades ago as today, Hills (1971) concluded: “The low fidelity and high cost of the interview make its use irrational for most educational selection situations” (p. 693). Especially relevant here is the Feldhusen and Jarwan (1995) work which examined academic predictor variables at seven of the ten residential math and science schools created by that time. High school grades and SAT scores were found to be good predictors of residential school GPAs, but not interview scores, which had no forecasting value. In light of such negative assessments, this investigation sought to discover what roles interviews still played in student selection at these math and science schools. Methods Table 1 below lists the 17 residential STEM schools, the founding years, and their campus locations. Eleven are advanced high schools that hire their own faculty, while six are early college admission programs on university campuses. In almost all cases, admission is restricted to state residents.
Each school’s admissions director was asked to complete a questionnaire asking whether interviews were conducted at their school and if so, to indicate (1) the purpose of the interviews; (2) the institutional roles of interviewers; (3) whether or not training sessions were held; (4) the interview format involved; (5) whether or not questions were standardized; (6) the weight given interview ratings; and (7) whether or not reliability and validation studies were conducted. Results Admissions officers responded from 14 of the 17 schools. Nine of the 14 officers said they interview candidates and five said they do not. The five that do not includes four that formerly conducted interviews but had stopped. Table 2 summarizes features of the five non-interviewing schools. In one school, interviews lost favor after rural and disadvantaged students were thought to have been intimidated by faculty interviewers. But the greater reason to cancel interviews was that “Some teachers never met a student that they liked and some never met a student they did not like.” This of course describes severity and leniency errors and indicates that at the very least inter-rater reliability coefficients were not initially established.
Advanced High Schools
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (1980)
Durham, North Carolina
Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (1982)
Northwestern State University in Natchitoches
Illinois Methematics and Science Academy (1986)
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (1987)
Mississippi University for Women in Columbus
S. Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (1985)
Hartsville, South Carolina
Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities (1988)
Ball State University in Muncie
Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (1989)
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (1990)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science, and the Arts (1993)
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Maine School for Mathematics and Science (1993)
Tennessee Governor’s Academy of Science and Mathematics (2007)
University of Tennessee in Knoxville
Early College Entrance Academies TExas Academy of Mathematics and Science (1987)
University of North Texas in Denton
Advanced Academy of Georgia (1995)
University of West Georgia in Carrollton
Georgia Academy of Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (1997)
Middle Georgia College in Cochran
Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computng (2000)
Northwest Missouri State University in Marysville
Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (2006)
Fort Hays State University in Fort Hays
Carol Martin Hatton Academy of Mathematics and Science (2007)
Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green
Table 1 - State-Sponsored Residential Math and Science Schools Spring 2011 23
STEM School Type
Advanced High School
Advanced High School
Advanced High School
First few year
Student Motives Suspect
Advanced High School
First few years
Assumed Interviewer Bias
Early College Admission
the four schools, and the director at the fifth school simply never considered interviews.
Table 2 - Summary of Responses from Non-Interviewing Schools
At another school, interviews were discontinued when efforts seemed disproportionate to benefits and merely constituted “an additional Saturday of work,” according to the admissions director. In a third school, interviewer biases were thought to have corrupt evaluations, while at the fourth school that suspended interviews, suspicion of motives rather than empirical analyses raised troubling concerns: “I have not done any analysis of the process and its success rate [but I feel] smart kids can fool the system if they want.” In fact, formal validity and reliability studies had not been performed at any of STEM Interviewers Format School Type
No, but orientation
Yes with follow-up Unclear
Responses were received from nine of the 11 interviewing schools. Only one respondent professed any familiarity with the experimental selection research. Other respondents devised their own methods through improvisation or trial and error. Interviews were conducted by faculty members in half the cases, with staff, students, and/or community representatives serving on interview committees in the other half. Table 3 summarizes the results. Assessment of student characteristics was the most commonly cited reason cited by admission directors as to why they conducted interviews. Respondents wanted face-to-face observations of applicants to judge their maturity, personality, and motives for applying. Officials also wanted to provide applicants the opportunity to preview the Verdict
• Accept • Deny
• Ensuure personal contact with applicant • Preview hall life
Panel of two
Staff & Community
Panel of three
Yes with follow-up
Up to 30 of 100 • 30% of admission total points decision
Staff & Students
Panel of two / No No file access
• Acceptable • Questionable • Not acceptable
• Student assessment No • Marketing
• Accept • Alternate • Deny
• Student assessment No
Advanced High School
Faculty & Staff
Yes; other options provided
• Recoomend • Examine further • Do not recoomend
• Maturity assessment No
Advanced High School
Faculty, Staff, Panel Community
• Recommend • Student assessment • Recommend with • Marketing No reservations • Engage faculty • Do not recommend & staff
No, but orientation
• Student assessment No • Marketing
Yes; other options provided
• Ensure personal contact • No recommendation • Provide preview of No based on interview. college or job interview
Advanced High School
No, but One-on-One orientation
Advanced High School
Faculty & Staff
No, but orientation
Yes, but optional
• Good fit • Not a good fit
• Detect red flags • Engage faculty
Advanced High School
Faculty & Staff
Panel of two / File access
No, but orientation
Options provided; others allowed
• Accept • Alternate • Deny
• Student assessment • Discern applicant No motives
Table 3 - Summary of Questionnaire Responses from Interviewing Schools 24 NCSSSMST Journal
campus and residence hall and to meet faculty and staff. One respondent viewed interviews secondarily as a service to help students prepare for future college or job interviews. Faculty members at the advanced high schools are required to conduct interviews, whereas early college academies have no authority over university faculty, who volunteer at their own pleasure. While five schools held informal orientation sessions at the beginning of the application cycle, formal interview training did not take place. Orientations did not include practice or tips for refining interviewing skills. At best, interviewers were provided lists of questions and general guidelines based more on intuition, beliefs, and tradition than research-based facts. The interview format included one-on-one interviews in three cases, a panel format in five, and phone interviews in one case. Seven of the respondents reported the same questions were asked all applicants, although no formats were structured. To reiterate, structured procedures have been associated with increased validity (e.g., Conway, et al., 1995) and are characterized by an initial job analysis, standardized questions, coaching and practice, and panels rather than single interviewers (Edwards et al., 1990). While some schools observed one or more of the steps, none adhered to all. Interview procedural problems were prevalent. Faculty members at one school allegedly balked at interview training, considering it unnecessary, thereby stymieing efforts to standardize the process. At one of the universities, a pattern of absences or tardiness by certain faculty members ended requests for their services as interviewers. Since then, only individuals deemed reliable have been asked to conduct interviews, whether faculty, staff, students, or combinations thereof. The unfortunate consequence is that applicants are evaluated by shifting standards and conditions. Only one academy respondent indicated concessions to the youth of the applicants. Conscious of being finalists, applicants as young as 13 or 14 sometimes succumb to nerves during interviews. Hence, candidates at the referenced academy are granted a chance on post-interview questionnaires to amend their prior responses. An item asked, “What would
you like to add, emphasize, clarify, change, or otherwise remark regarding your interview?” In March 2010, over a third of 170 interviewees altered responses they felt could have been misleading or misconstrued. A few written comments conceded considerable anxiety: “It was very nerve-wracking;” “I’m shaking terribly;” “The interview thing is new to me;” “I’m shy and not outspoken when I’m in a room where I don’t know anyone;” and “I kept babbling and I really wish I had spoken more loudly and clearly.” The post-interview responses were included in the students’ files, although the weight admission decision-makers accorded the remarks, if any, was undetermined. In general, admission officers were nonspecific in conveying how much interviews influenced admission offers. When asked, “what weight is given to interviews in admission decision-making?” respondents answered indirectly noting interviews helped them identify “red flags,” discover issues not revealed in the application, assess applicant maturity, make roommate matches, and identify students who may need help adjusting. Given such responses, one director almost certainly spoke for others by writing: “I often ask myself the same question.” The final and most important consideration is that none of the schools did any rigorous testing to assess the validity or reliability of the interviews. While some of the considerable resources devoted to conducting interviews could have been allocated to devising and testing a structured procedure, this was not done. Instead, representatives engaged in a time-consuming, expensive process that had not been proven to add predictive value over academic measures. Discussion With four residential STEM schools created since 2000, with another recently proposed in Colorado (Elliott, Long, Anthes, and Walker, 2010), and still others under consideration, the continued expansion of these schools has been enthusiastically endorsed (Atkinson, et al, 2007). National and even international fact-finding delegations have toured the campuses to examine operations and determine which aspects to model. One feature to consider is whether or not to institute preadmission interviews in student selection. A rigorous evaluation of interviews would help decide that question. In the present investigation, Spring 2011 25
however, no job analyses or structured procedures were even attempted at the schools prior to conducting interviews, presumably due to unfamiliarity with selection research. Moreover, in-house validation studies were never performed. Admission directors were unclear themselves how interview results should be interpreted.
found I was getting really inconsistent information.” Along these lines, representatives documented cases when their predictions proved to be accurate, but conspicuously omitted negative examples. Even though statistical predictions trump subjective measures, faith in personal judgments nevertheless held without objective corroboration, or seemingly any need for it.
So why do they interview at all? One written answer relates to institutional realities. The lone representative familiar with the research had argued against interviews but had been overruled by senior administrators. Another response noted that restrictive universities interview, so why not the STEM schools? “Selective schools are ‘supposed’ to interview,” was the tongue-in-cheek comment approving a custom associated with exclusivity.
Thus, despite weak or nonexistent evidence that interviews predict either academic or behavioral outcomes, the procedure remains popular. Taylor (1990) observed, “The interview is well entrenched in the admissions process, and it has the validity that comes from habit… [I]t probably will hang around for a while, though nobody can really explain why” (p. 178).
Interviews were recognized as marketing vehicles at several schools. Outside professionals are invited on interview panels in at least one instance in an effort to encourage community support for the academy. Similarly, other respondents favored interviews to ensure campus visits by students in hopes they form favorable impressions of the institutions. If so, noted critic Taylor (1990), then the targets of recruitment are being forced to pay the costs of being recruited. Interviews are not optional for those seeking admission to 11 of the STEM schools. Only one school conducts phone interviews, while the others require campus visits with no provision for reimbursement. Aside from missed school time, students of limited means or from distant locales pay an especially high price to be interviewed. Parents may have to take leave from work to transport their students to the schools. In Kentucky, for example, the drive from Pikeville to the STEM academy in Bowling Green can take a family five hours. In Alabama, Mobile is six hours from the Huntsville school, and in Texas, driving from Brownsville to the Denton academy takes 10 hours — 20 hours for a round trip. Students make such sacrifices as the only route to admission. The most common stated rationale for interviews was student assessment, and several admission officers placed undue confidence in their singular ability to judge candidates. For example, one stated, “I am the only one who interviews. With faculty and staff, I 26 NCSSSMST Journal
In point of fact, however, other explanations besides habit and tradition have been advanced. Arvey and Campion (1982) theorized that practical considerations make interviews popular. For example, interviews introduce applicants to expectations and realities of student life. Interacting with faculty, staff, and students exposes them to roles and responsibilities they will be expected to assume. Interviews also present opportune occasions to observe an applicant’s sociability and verbal fluency. The authors also suggest interviews accomplish other tasks unrelated to selection very well. As noted earlier, several admissions directors felt marketing was the primary value of interviews. A favorably impressed candidate is more likely to accept an admission offer or at least form a positive opinion, and perhaps influence others. A similar public relations value applies to community representatives serving on interview committees who can help marshal wider support for the school. One more factor may account for the endurance of interviews. The phrase “illusion of validity” (Kahneman and Tversky, 1973) describes the phenomenon of having great confidence in highly fallible judgments: When interviewing a candidate, for example, many of us have experienced great confidence in our prediction of his future performance, despite our knowledge that interviews are notoriously fallible (p. 249). In the present survey, such a tendency led some to trust personal decisions and discount the
assessments of others. Other interviewers tended to overly rely on case-specific information while ignoring disconfirming evidence. With no validity data and consequently only selected, biased feedback to consider, interviewers could easily inflate the accuracy of their judgments. The question still remains as to whether or not interviews are economically defensible. Again, arranging and conducting interviews is expensive and time-consuming both for candidates and the school. If simpler, less costly means can be found to accomplish tasks admission directors listed as important, they should be explored. Suggested options include use of such technologies as online or virtual interviews or teleconferencing. Recommendations If, having considered all the challenges, schools decide in favor of in-person interviews, the following recommendations are proposed to maximize interview reliability. • First, a job analysis as detailed earlier should be conducted. • Second, an interview panel rather than single interviewers should be recruited and the panel should commit to the entire calendar. • The interviewers should be provided instruction, coaching, and supervised practice in detecting and limiting common biases. • Interview sessions should be structured with the same questions prepared for all applicants, and with sufficient practice to establish consistency on rating scales. • Reliability and validity studies should then be conducted to evaluate how effectively interviews predict success. This would involve assessing students’ subsequent behavioral and academic outcomes. One would then be in a better position to decide whether interviews add any predictive value over traditional academic measures. • Finally, applicants who were not selected could be tracked and compared to admitted students. Such involved research is probably not practical for the longer-established schools that enroll but also deny hundreds of applicants. However, for the younger STEM schools with much smaller class sizes, such research could yield useful information.
References Albanese, M.A., Snow, M.H., Skochelak, S.E., Huggett, K.N., and Farrell, P.M. (2003). Assessing personal qualities in medical school admissions. Academic Medicine, 78(3), 313-321. Arvey, R.D. and Campion, J. E. (1982). The employment interview: A summary and review of recent research. Personnel Psychology, 35, 281-322. Atkinson, R.D., Hugo, J., Lundgren, D., Shapiro, M. J., and Thomas, J. (2007). Addressing the STEM challenge by expanding specialty math and science high schools. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Released by NCSSSMST. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from http://www.ncsssmst.org/CMFiles/ Docs/STEM%20Final_03_20_07.pdf Beehr, T.A., and Gilmore, D.C. (1982). Applicant attractiveness as a perceived job relevant variable in selection. Academy of Management Journal, 25(3), 607-617. Benson, P.L., Severs, D., Tatgenhorst, J, and Loddengaard, N. (1980). The social costs of obesity: A non-reactive field study. Social Behavior and Personality, 8(1), 91-96. Buckley, M.R., Norris, A.C., and Wiese, D.S. (1997). A brief history of the selection interview: May the next 100 years be more fruitful. Journal of Management History, 6(3), 113-126. Cascio, W.F., and Ramos, R.A. (1986). Development and application of a new method for assessing job performance in behavioral / economic terms. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(1), 20 – 28. Campion, M.A., Pursell, E.D., and Brown, B.K. (1988). Structured interviewing: Raising the psychometric properties of the employment interview. Personnel Psychology, 41, 25-42. Cash, T.F., Gillen, B., and Burns, D.S. (1977). Sexism and “beautyism” in personnel consultant decision making. Journal of Applied Psychology, 50(3), 301-310. Spring 2011 27
Conway, J.M., Goodman, D.F., and Jako, R.A. (1995). A meta-analysis of interrater and internal consistency reliability of selection interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(5),565-579.
Jones, B.M. (2009) Profiles of state-supported residential math and science schools. Journal of Advanced Academics, 20(3), 472-501.
Dipboye, R.L., Arvey, R.D., and Terpstra, D.E. (1977). Sex and physical attractiveness of raters and applicants as determinants of resume evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(3), 288-294.
Kahn, R.L. (1957). The dynamics of interviewing. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Edwards, J.C., Johnson, E.K., Molidor, J.B. (1990). The interview in the admission process. Academic Medicine: 65, 167-177.
Kahneman D., and Tversky A. (1973). On the psychology of prediction. PsychologicalReview. 80, 251-273.
Elliot, S.T., Long, S, Anthes, K., & Walker, C. (2010). Feasibility study on COSMIC: Colorado science, math and innovation Center. Office of the Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education, 1-112.
Kerlinger, F. N. (1986). Foundations of behavioral research 3rd edition. New York: CBS College Publishing.
Feingold, A. (1992). Good looking people are not what we think. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 304-341. Feldhusen, J.F., and Jarwan, F. (1995). Predictors of academic success at state supported residential schools for mathematics and science: A validity study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55(3), 505-512. Frank, L.L., and Hackman, J.R. (1975). Effects of interviewer-interviewee similarity on interviewer objectivity in college admissions interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60(3), 56-360. Hatfield, E., and Sprecher, S. (1986). Mirror, mirrorâ€Ś New York: State University of New York Press. Hills, J.R. (1971). Use of measurement in selection and placement. In Thorndike, R.L. (Ed). Educational Measurement (2nd Edition, 680-732). Washington, D.C.: American Council of Education. Hosada, M., Stone-Romero, E.F., and Coats, G. (2003). The effects of physical attractiveness on job-related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Personnel Psychology, 56, 431-462. 28 NCSSSMST Journal
Johnson, E.K., and Edwards, J.C. (1991). Current practices in admission interviews at U.S. Medical Schools. Academic Medicine, 66(7), 408-412.
Kutcher, E.J. and Bragger, J.D. (2001). Selection interviews of overweight job applicants: Can structure reduce the bias? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(10), 1993-2022. Li, N.P., Bailey, J.M., Kenrick, D.T., Linsenmeier, J.A.W. (2002). The necessities and luxuries of mate preferences: Testing the tradeoffs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 947-955. Marlowe, C.M., Schneider, S.L., and Nelson, C.E. (1996). Gender and attractiveness biases in hiring decisions: Are more experienced managers less biased? Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(1), 11-21. Marquart, J.A., Franco, K.N., and Carroll, B.T. (1990). The influence of applicantâ€™s gender on medical school interviews. Academic Medicine, 65(6), 410-411. Miceli, N.S., Harvey, M., and Buckley, M.R. 2001). Potential discrimination in structured employment interviews. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 13(1), 15-38. Powis, D.A., Neame, R.L.B., Bristow, T., and Murphy, L. B. (1988). The objective structured interview for medical student selection. Journal of British Medical Education, 296, 765-768.
Puhl, R., and Brownell, K.D. (2001). Bias, discrimination, and obesity. Obesity Research, 9(12), 788-805. Purkiss, S.L.S., Perrewe, P.L., Gillespie, T.L., Mayes, B..T., and Ferris, G.R. (2006). Implicit sources of bias in employment interview judgments and decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 101, 152-167. Quintero, A.J., Segal, L.S., King, T.S., and Black, K.P. (2009). The personal interview: Assessing the potential for personality similarity to bias the selection of orthopaedic residents. Academic Medicine, 84(10), 1364-1372. Shahani, C., Dipboye, R. L., and Gehrlein, T.M. (1993). Attractiveness bias in the interview: Exploring the boundaries of an effect. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 14(3), 317-328.
Smith, S.R., Vivier, P.M., and Blain, A.L.B. (1986). A comparison of the first-year medical school performances of students admitted with and without interviews. Journal of Medical Education, 61(5), 404-406. Taylor, T.C. (1990). The interview: One more life? Academic Medicine, 177-178. Watkins, L.M., and Johnston, L. (2002). Screening job applicants: The impact of physical attractiveness and application quality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 8(2), 76-84. Wiesner, W.H., and Cronshaw, S.F. (1988). A meta-analytic investigation of the impact of interview format and degree of structure on the validity of the employment interview. Personnel Psychology, 61(4), 275-290.
Siu, E. and Reitner, H.I. (2009). Overview: what’s worked and what hasn’t as a guide towards predictive admissions tool development. Advances in Health Science Education, 14, 759-775.
NCSSSMST Mission The mission of NCSSSMST, the nation’s alliance of secondary schools and programs preparing students for success and leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is to serve our members’ students and professionals, to foster collaborations, to inform STEM policy, and to advocate transformation in education. For more information, go to www.ncsssmst.org. Spring 2011 29
Start It Up: Flywheel Energy Storage Efficiency By Michelle Dunn, Conroe ISD Academy of Science and Technology Abstract The purpose of this project was to construct and test an off-grid photovoltaic (PV) system in which the power from a solar array could be stored in a rechargeable battery and a flywheel motor generator assembly. The mechanical flywheel energy storage system would in turn effectively power a 12-volt DC appliance.
Michelle Dunn is a member of the Class of 2012 of the Conroe ISD (TX) Academy of Science and Technology. Inquiries regarding her research may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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large and quick discharge, no dependency on temperature or environmental factors, no emissions, and no memory effect. Flywheel systems can provide power when there is not enough power being made or none at all, can store excess energy, and can operate in uninterruptible power supplies.
The voltage and current of different steel flywheel thicknesses were measured versus time for two different load settings on a 12-volt DC fan. The energy efficiencies of the system for each flywheel size were then calculated by integrating the power versus time scatter plots.
The goal of this project was to demonstrate the viability of a flywheel system to successfully store and discharge electrical energy. By constructing an off-grid photovoltaic (PV) system in which the power of a single-crystalline array was stored in a rechargeable battery and a flywheel, the mechanical flywheel energy storage system could then be used to power a 12-volt DC appliance.
The off-grid PV system was found to be functional in storing and discharging power, especially during quick discharges. Although not the most efficient method of energy storage, this apparatus shows great promise for energy storage when further tested and improved.
Procedure The first step involved assembling the photovoltaic system and charging the battery as well as connecting the system using appropriate wiring and connectors. Refer to Figure 1 below for the circuit layout.
Introduction Currently the United States is struggling with an outdated and problematic electric power grid that fails to meet high demand and to integrate renewable energy sources. A cheaper, less harmful, and easier to maintain energy storage device, the flywheel, may be able to replace the battery banks currently used at energy storage sites such as in solar and wind farms, for regenerative braking systems for railways, and as voltage fluctuation buffers on oil rigs.
A 10-watt mono-crystalline solar panel was placed on a cookbook stand at an angle of 60 degrees for optimum sunlight during the fall and winter. The solar panel was connected to a 7-amp charge controller to prevent overcharging the battery, with the charge controller connected to a 12-volt 8 AH sealed lead acid battery placed in a vented battery box. Two three-way switches were connected via a labeled terminal (B in Diagram 1) to control the direction of current.
An alternative power storage system for a photovoltaic (PV) system instead of batteries is a flywheel, which uses stored kinetic energy created by electrical energy to provide power. Using a flywheel instead of a battery has advantages: a
The flywheel motor assembly was connected to the common terminal on the second switch. The assembly consisted of a miniature 12-volt DC motor permanently attached to a 0.25-in. thick, 6in. diameter, steel base plate, upon which three removable steel plates, each 6-in. in diameter of
varied thickness (0.25-in., 0.50-in., and 0.75-in.), could be attached. A metal squirrel cage surrounded the flywheel motor assembly to serve as a safety shield in case the plate became off balance on the motor axis and spun off. The load (a 12-volt â€œTornadoâ€? fan) was connected by using a 4-socket car adapter. Initially it was planned to use a 60-watt light bulb as the load. However, due to voltage spikes from the flywheel motor assembly being rejected by the AC-DC inverter, the load was changed to a 12-volt DC fan. All components were connected to a common ground wiring system and mounted onto a wooden mounting/display board. 14-gauge insulated copper electrical wiring (max. 32 amps) and wire connectors were used for connections. A video camera, camera, digital multimeter, and timer were used to record data. Microsoft Excel and Logger Pro were utilized for data analysis. In terms of safety, a certified electrical engineer approved the design. The battery was never opened and the voltage and current of both the battery and solar panel were constantly monitored. Generous size estimations and insulated tools were used as well. Additionally, gloves and safety glasses were worn during testing.
Figure 1 - Schematic Drawing of DC Load System
Testing For each test, a check from the battery directly to the load (fan) was made initially to ensure proper connections. The video camera was set to record the timer and multimeter readings during the tests. The flywheel was charged from the battery for 30 seconds based on when the current would generally plateau. After 30 seconds, the switches were reset to allow the flywheel to discharge to
the fan. Each flywheel size (base plate only, base plate plus 0.25-in. plate, base plate plus 0.50-in. plate, and base plate plus 0.75-in. plate. Three trials were made for each test to prevent bias. During both charge and discharge, the following measurements were made (see Figure 1 for locations of measurements): Voltage vs. time for no, low, and high settings on the fan. The multimeter leads were placed on common (S1) and ground (S2). Current vs. time for low and high setting on fan. The multimeter leads were placed on common (S1) and B (S2) during charging, then common (S1) and A (S2) during discharging. After each trial, once the flywheel had stopped spinning the switch wire from the battery was disconnected and covered with electrical tape. Photographs of the set-up were taken and observations were recorded. Throughout testing, all system components were routinely checked for safety. Results After all the tests were completed, the videos were watched and data collected in Microsoft Excel. The averages of the three trials for test each were calculated. Then a scatter plot was made to show the voltage for no load, the voltage and current for low load, and the voltage and current for high load versus time for each plate. Refer to Figure 2 for the 0.25-in. plate example. The voltage and current values were multiplied to make a second scatter plot showing the calculated power used and produced by the flywheel during both low and high load cases. Refer to Figure 3. Vernier Logger Pro was used to calculate the integral (area under the curve) of the power versus time curves to determine the measured flywheel energy input and output for both the low and high power cases for each flywheel size. The theoretical energy stored in the flywheel for each flywheel mass was then calculated by utilizing the
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flywheel energy equation, E= mr2ω2/4, where E is energy in joules, m is mass in kilograms, r is radius in meters, and ω is angular velocity in radians. Since a direct relationship was found between increasing flywheel thickness and flywheel spinning time, it was assumed for each flywheel size that the motor reached an optimal speed of 361 radians per second. Therefore the energy stored could be calculated with the known values of flywheel mass and radius.
Figure 2 – Scatter plot showing averaged voltage and current values vs. time for all load settings for 0.25 in. plate
To calculate the measured energy input, the theoretical stored energy was divided by the integral of the charging time period. To calculate the measured energy output, the integral of the discharging time period was divided by the theoretical stored energy. To calculate the overall efficiency, the integral for the discharging period was divided by the integral for the charging period. To assess the validity of the methods used in the experiment, a correlation coefficient was calculated using Microsoft Excel for the averaged sets of power calculations from the three voltage and current trials for the low and high loads of each flywheel size. Since the correlation coefficients for the averaged sets of power calculations of the different loads for each flywheel size ranged between .97 and .99, the methods used in the tests were consistent.
Figure 3 – Scatter plot of calculated power curve for low and high load for 0.25 in. plate
Base plate Low
Measured Energy Imput
0.25 in. plate Low
534.4J 521.4J 830.4J 1117J
Measured Energy Output 14.4J
0.5 in. plate
0.75 in. plate
35.92J 131.4J 241.5J 36.20J 113.5J 192.9J 333.2J
Theoretical Stored Energy 173.1J 173.1J 346.2J 346.2J 519.4J 519.4J 692.5J 692.5J Charge Efficiency
32.39% 33.20% 41.69% 30.99% 38.53% 56.71% 38.64% 39.37%
Discharge Efficiency 8.319% 20.75% 37.95% 69.76% 6.970% 21.85% 27.86% 48.12% Overall Efficiency
2.695% 6.889% 15.82% 21.62% 2.685% 12.39% 10.76% 18.94%
Table 1 – Calculated Efficiences
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As shown in Table 1 (Calculated Efficiencies), the 0.25 in. plate was found to be most efficient, possibly due to the particular weight and stress load that the 0.25 in. plate had on the motor/generator. The high load case for each flywheel size was found to be more efficient than the low load, confirming that flywheels are effective for quick and powerful discharges. Discussion Improvements for this project relate to efficiency and application. Measuring the motor speed and the voltage and current ratings for the low and high load settings on the fan would validate the
assumed motor speed and provide further information on the load specifics for the different tests. In addition, the system had inefficiencies, with energy lost due to general air resistance, the motor bearings, the flywheel being slightly off balance and vibrating, as well as in the wiring, connections, switches, and with overestimated sizing calculations. Reducing flywheel energy loss and attempting to power the flywheel directly from the solar panel and lessening the dependence on the battery would be the main goal of a continuation of this project. Improvements of the flywheel motor assembly would include enclosing it to reduce air resistance, incorporating magnetic bearings, and improving the balance of the flywheel on the shaft. Other improvements include using different flywheel materials/shapes/designs, having a more appropriate (e.g., faster) motor/generator, using an oscilloscope for more accurate current and voltage readings, and being able to power AC loads using an inverter (to convert DC to AC current) and an RC Snubber circuit (to smooth out voltage spikes coming off of flywheel motor assembly).
References Henry, M. (2007). Flywheels. Retrieved from http://www.rise.org.au/info/Tech/flywheels/index.html Power-Gen Worldwide, Initials. (2009). From Dispatchability to Stability: Battery Energy Storage is Essential for Decentralized Electricity Grids. Retrieved from http://www.powergenworldwide.com/index/display/articledisplay/361544/artic les/cogeneration-and-on-site-power-production/ volume-10/issue-2/features/fromdispatchability-tostability-battery-energy-storage-is-essential-for-dec entalized- electricity-grids.html Regenerative Power and Motion. (n.d.). Rpmâ€™s motor, generator, storage/regeneration, ev. Retrieved from http://rpmtech.webng.com/homepage.htm Solar-facts. (2009). How do photovoltaic panels generate electricity? Solar-facts (2009). Retrieved from http://www.solar-facts.com/ panels/how-panels-work.php
An application for this project would be for people to start using off-grid photovoltaic systems to power their homes or private businesses. More research into improving energy storage systems such as the flywheel would help bridge this transition. Cooperation is the critical instigator to get the wheel spinning. Conclusions Modernization of the American electric grid requires the integration of renewable energy resources, a smarter grid, financial incentives, and consideration of commercializing new technologies while maintaining currently used energy sources (oil and natural gas). Comparing breakthrough innovations with the present energy sources, such as by analyzing the liability of the flywheel energy storage system over deep cycle rechargeable batteries, would determine the amount of confidence that should be put into integrating newer technologies into the electric power grid of the United States.
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STEM Leaders Roundtable: Part I —Research and the Curriculum Curriculum Working Group’s Perspective by Donna Hutchison, Arkansas School of Mathematics, Science and the Arts and Steve Warshaw, PhD, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Editor’s Note: Recognizing the potential of talented students, dedicated educators, and innovative leaders, NCSSSMST and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, convened a Roundtable for NCSSSMST STEM Leaders at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina on April 28-29, 2011. The product of the Roundtable will be a blueprint for STEM research in high schools that highlights innovative research programs within Consortium schools, explores ways to extend that research into an array of collaborative settings, and hopefully generates momentum that will inform our local, state, and national leaders. The following article, on what a school needs to have in place for students to do viable research, is the first of two that summarize the work of the Roundtable’s Working Groups. The second will be published in the Fall 2011 issue. Many thanks to Dr. Jerry Baker, Executive Director of Sigma Xi, for hosting and supporting the Roundtable, and to Laura Nigro, Sigma Xi member, who served as the facilitator. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics recently embarked on a curriculum review, one part of which was to update schoolwide curriculum goals. A quick review of 12 websites from some of the most long-established Consortium schools, including NCSSM’s, revealed that very few of us list school-wide goals for our students on our sites. Moreover, we don’t say much about teaching our students to do research which, as measured by their success in science competitions and frequent entry into STEM fields as professionals, is one of the things we do best.
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These observations and some preliminary work by former Executive Director Cheryl Lindeman on a STEM Roundtable Conference put us at the national headquarters of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society in the Research Triangle on April 28-29, 2011, talking about our students’ scientific research and curriculum. We tackled questions such as: • What should such a curriculum look like at a specialized secondary school like ours? At a regular public high school? • What are the obstacles to establishing a scientific research program in high school? • Whose is support is needed and what are the necessary components of the school culture to support such a program?
To begin the process of designing a researchbased, laboratory-centered, STEM secondary curriculum, our working group asked the following question: What does a school need to have in place to make research viable for all students? The answers boiled down to three broad criteria: school structure, curriculum, and school culture. Our group felt these characteristics were so inter-related as to be nearly impossible to discuss individually. First, school structure refers not only to the physical components of the buildings and campus but also to time structures, administrative and faculty community, and parental engagement. Obviously, multiple laboratory and investigative spaces are important to a STEM curriculum, as is a good library and on-line availability for research purposes. Even more important than these, however, is the existence of an engaged faculty and administration. These groups hold much of the responsibility for a successful STEM school in that they must understand, participate in, and support the chaos often engendered by individual inquiry. Finally, but by no means insignificantly, parents must be willing to allow their students to engage in individual inquiry and must encourage independent thinking.
Administrative and faculty support of STEM research is essential. This mindset is evident in their willingness to collegially network with one another and with outside professionals for the benefit of students. Intellectual territoriality is to be avoided; indeed, administrators and teachers should instead demonstrate a belief that all knowledge is valuable and interrelated. These adults should model the collegial environment students will encounter in the world of academic research and professional work. An on-campus Internal Review Board (IRB) can teach students how to connect with potential mentors off campus to create an interdisciplinary network of support. This group will also critique all research proposals to encourage ethical and critical thought. Further, an informal network of interested adults on campus will furnish an easily accessible base of mentors who can directly support the efforts of students during the school day/term. Media specialists can create and maintain a data base of previous work for student reference, while older students can mentor younger in research projects. Original research should be supported, if not expected of all students. During the school day and term, time must be made available for individual research. This time must be seen as integral to curriculum and supported as such, which means that “individual research time” cannot be the period used for assemblies, teacher planning, tutoring, or other purposes which detract from or even undermine the research process. Suggested uses for such a block of time include meetings between students and teachers mutually engaged in projects, meetings with off-campus mentors, laboratory experiment and data-gathering time, literature search, and data testing and evaluation. Mentored summer research may even be required as part of specific course work. It is critical that once this research time has been created it must be used wisely and well, with students and faculty alike being held responsible and accountable for progress. This accountability must be assessed on a regular basis. Curriculum, the second element of a successful research-based STEM school, must provide students with exposure to a wide range of topics through a rich variety of courses across all disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of learning should be stressed, with as much cross-curricular
emphasis as is possible within each course. Writing modes necessary to each discipline must be taught and regularly assigned and assessed. Interdisciplinary testing and promotion of inquiry is highly desirable. Such exposure offers students a broad base from which to draw and shows them the reality of STEM research, in which investigators from different backgrounds collaborate to solve specific problems. This curriculum should strive for both general and specific goals, including but not limited to the following: • laboratory procedures and safety • ethics of scientific research and experimentation • how to contact and obtain mentors • how to ask questions • how to engage in library and data-base research • how to write literature surveys • how to write in subject-specific modes • how to collaborate and communicate with classmates and interested adults • how to design experiments • how to gather, test, and interpret data • how to draw reasonable and evidencesupported conclusions • how to manage time • how to keep clear, accurate records • how to mentor younger students in their research projects Finally, a school culture of continued and active learning/research in an ethical framework must be established. One critical component of that culture is the hiring of the right people in administration and faculty. The “right people” are those with a successful history of encouraging and mentoring student research. Administrators must trust that they have chosen well and allow teachers a fairly high level of creative independence. These professionals will already have bought into the ideas of interdisciplinary learning and individual student investigation, and they must be given the charge of defining the school’s culture so they have ownership of what goes on in the academic program. Culture cannot be imposed from above; it must be created by faculty members and students who will live it. Ideally, the defined culture will include the notion of “failure” in research. Students often believe their project’s inability to support its experimental hypothesis means the research has failed;
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“This was just the kind of meeting I have always hoped the Consortium would sponsor. Our schools are such a rich source of curriculum ideas that make it possible for high school students successfully to do authentic scientific research. We should be talking with our colleagues and with representatives from the research community, government and business about these ideas and how to implement them, and we did. I look forward to continuing the conversations and finding ways to put into practice more broadly in secondary education what we have learned during our 25 years of sponsoring successful student research.” Steve Warshaw, PhD North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
therefore, the experiment, they think, must be tweaked to produce a successful outcome. Adults, however, know differently, and such knowledge must be imparted to students. Without the possibility of failure, there is little to gain in doing research. Failure must be an option, for much can be learned from “failed” experiments. Further, the school culture will include the notions of intellectual risk taking, thus encouraging original research. This risk taking will be supported in a dynamic learning environment that is collegial and directed, as noted above in both school structure and curriculum. High expectations of students and faculty are essential to the culture and curriculum; these expectations should be supported by parents. The school culture will also include the purposeful management of chaos, as indicated in the structural and curricular need for designated research and collaboration times. In this purposeful chaos, students will learn to share their developing skills and research experiences; they will take ownership of their work and communication about it; they will observe models of the professionals they aspire to become and serve as models to younger students; and they will become independent learners. Clearly, the creation of an exciting research program in a STEM school is dependent upon three inter-related variables which cannot easily be teased apart. Integral to any successful STEM program is the considered creation of school structure, integrated curriculum, and a dynamic school culture. Suggested References for Getting Started Bosak, Susan V., with Douglas A. Bosak and Brian A. Puppa. 1991. Science Is…A Source Book of Fascinating Facts, Projects and Activities. Scholastic Canada, Ltd. Ontario. 515 pp. Cothron, Julia H., Ronald N. Giese and Richard J. Rezba. 1993. Students and Research; Practical Strategies for Science Classrooms and Competitions, 2nd Edition. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Dubuque, Iowa. 279 pp.
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National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology. 2005. Guiding Student Research: Making Research Happen in Your School. Martin Shapiro, Editor in Chief. NCSSSMST. Lynchburg, Virginia. 214pp. Websites How To Do Successful Science Fair Projects. Persistent Link at http://www.sciencenerddepot.com/ National Student Research Center: Websites Recommended by the NSRC. http://www.youth.net/nsrc/webs.html Overview of the Top Science Competitions. Persistent Link at http://www.sciencebuddies.org/ science-fair-projects/top_science-fair_overview.shtml Science Research in the High School. Persistent Link at http://www.albany.edu/scienceresearch/
Affiliate Spotlight: The Art of Science Learning Conferences By Tanya Cabrera, Illinois Institute of Technology “It is always a pleasure to be in the good company of educators. It’s then when you know change is real.” - Dr. Walter Massey, physicist and President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, addressing attendees of The Art of Science Learning Conference: Shaping the 21st-Century Workforce held at the Illinois Institute of Technology, May 16, 2011. The Art of Science Learning is a project of the Learning Worlds Institute (http://www.learningworldsinstitute.org/) with major funding from the National Science Foundation. IIT was the host and lead partner of the May 16-17 Conference in Chicago. Attending the Conference was a unique and meaningful experience for me. Dr. Massey’s keynote presentation (Processes of Inquiry: Art, Science and a Culture of Innovation) proposed and illustrated the idea that science and the arts must be equal partners in the learning styles of all learners. His presentation included images of student projects as examples of working with the minds of today for the changes of tomorrow. Art and technology can be used to manipulate colors in an image to promote various visual interpretations. Similarly, approaches to visually interpreting something (such as the atom) can be different for different students. During the Q&A, many in the room shared similar concerns of interpretations being subject to change and even manipulation through technological advancements. Harvey White, co-founder of Qualcomm, delivered the second keynote address, titled STEM to STEAM: the Future of American Innovation. Mr. White began STEAM (http://steam-notstem.com/) to focus on the need for returning arts to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula. He stated that, for better or worse, technology has changed the way future leaders learn. “Facts are irrelevant when today’s generation can Google or click on an app to find the answer. The way we learn today is a challenge for some and can be a disservice if not reinforced properly. We cannot have youth be
dependent on a calculator because they fail to learn the foundations to compute basic math problems on paper. We need to be able to support them in the simplest ways to be lifelong learners.” It was indeed a pleasure for me to collaborate with professionals who are advocates for arts and science in the classroom. During the breakout sessions I gathered with company presidents, data analysts, school teachers, community-based organizers, and researchers to talk about their outlooks and approaches to what works in the classroom and workplace. Our consensus was that the arts would only continue to be a part of STEM as long as we are the active agents of this change. I encourage other NCSSSMST Affiliate members to take part in these conferences to effectively work with prospective students and educators. As we move forward together, we must stay up to date with new trends in the Arts and STEM+ fields. Working collectively will allow us to have a better understanding of what we do differently and how we each can make a difference. In this regard, I am pleased to report that one of IIT’s Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) in partnership with One Laptop per Child (OLPC - http://one.laptop.org/) is helping young people in Haiti continue with their studies after the devastating 2010 earthquake. IIT students raised funds to design and deploy a solarpowered solution for students to charge and use eleven thousand laptops. The solution will be applied across the country to all primary level schools participating in OLPC. The project has collaborated with Haitian university students and professors to make sure the design is locally relevant and sustainable.
“As engineering students, we have the capabilities to design technological solutions for developing countries so that their basic human needs are met. Education is one of those needs, and this project strengthens every effort to improve the educational system in Haiti.” Tanya Pantone, IIT.
Tanya Cabrera is an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is the Affiliate NCSSSMST Board Member. She may be reached at email@example.com. Editor’s Note: Another Art of Learning Science Conference was held in San Diego June 14-15. Go to http://artofsciencelearning.org/ for further information and also for resources from all the conferences.
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Technology Focus: Software for Helping Students Link Function Representations by Barbara Ann Kitchell and Dr. Joe Garofalo, University of Virginia As educators we are always looking for different ways to help our students learn and understand abstract mathematics concepts and processes, particularly those that are most complex and difficult. One such difficulty many students have is connecting mathematical representations, and in particular, linking algebraic representations of functions and their graphical representations (Leinhardt, Zaslavsky, & Stein, 1990). Figure 1 - A screen display in a Green Globs game.
Barbara Ann Kitchell is a Doctoral Student in Mathematics Education at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Such linking is important for understanding and applying functions. Indeed, the NCTM Representation Standard calls for students to “select, apply, and translate among mathematical representations to solve problems” (NCTM, 2000, p. 360). This column highlights two software programs that give alternative ways for students to interact with equations and graphs that can help them connect representations and hence deepen their understanding of functions.
The first program is called Green Globs, which is one program included in a suite of programs titled Green Globs and Graphing Equations (Dugdale and Kibby, 2008). This award-winning algebra and graphing software opens up with a Cartesian coordinate system with a smattering of “green globs” on it. The user’s task is to determine and enter equations of functions or relations whose graphs will strike through the green globs. The point system encourages users to identify Dr. Joe Garofalo is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and functions that go through as many “green globs” as possible - the more globs you are able to strike Co-Director of the Center for through with one “shot” the more points you can Technology and Teacher Education at the Curry School of earn (see Figure 1). This game-like feature provides Education, University of Virginia. another incentive for students to have fun with Email: email@example.com the graphing program.
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One of the most distinctive features of Green Globs is its ability to incorporate numerous types of functions and relations from simple linear, polynomial, and trigonometric functions to circles, hyperbolas, and ellipses. Students using this software learn how changing coefficients in an algebraic representation of a function affects the graph of that function, and they learn this for different families of function. One of the other programs within the Green Globs and Graphing Equations suite is called Tracker, and it is a function version of the old game Battleship, where students are challenged to find hidden graphs by using probe functions. The second program, Dynagraphs, is even more unconventional and is actually a file created in Geometer’s Sketchpad (KCP Technologies, 2009). The term “dynagraphs” was given to this unique representation of functions by Paul Goldenberg, Phillip Lewis, and James O’Keefe (1992). Dynagraphs displays functions in two parallel number lines (with or without tick marks, equations, and values). This allows the user to
manipulate values of the independent variable and observe the corresponding values of the dependent variable. The user is told to “drag the input points,” so that he or she can watch the output pointer, appropriately labeled f (A) or g (B), move along the output row (see Figure 2). The user can simultaneously compare functions, since they are stacked on top of one another. The program incorporates a myriad of functions from the greatest integer function to complex trigonometric functions, and can be varied in difficulty by turning on and off the function labels and the tick marks along the horizontal rows. We have used these software programs primarily in the preparation of pre-service secondary mathematics teachers. Our pre-service teachers believed Green Globs to be “an excellent learning tool” and that both programs were “really neat.” Every time we have demonstrated these two programs in our mathematics pedagogy classes we have a hard time getting students to stop playing and exploring teaching ideas with them. These preservice teachers saw both programs as highly engaging, but more importantly, they saw how they could be used to help secondary students learn how to translate between function representations and deepen their knowledge of functions. If you have not used these programs in your teaching, they are well worth trying out.
Figure 2: A screen display in Dynagraphs with the function information and tick marks shown.
KCP Technologies. (2009). Dynagraphs. Retrieved from http://www.dynamicgeometry.com/ JavaSketchpad/Gallery/Trigonometry_and_Analytic_ Geometry/Dynagraphs.html. Leinhardt, G., Zaslavsky, O., & Stein, M.K. (1990). Functions, graphs, and graphing: Tasks, learning, and teaching. Review of Educational Research, 60, 1-64. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM.
References Dugdale, S. & Kibbey, D. (2008). Green Globs and Graphing Equations. Retrieved from http://www.greenglobs.net/index.html. Goldenberg, P.; Lewis, P.; O’Keefe, J. (1992). Dynamic representation and the development of understanding of functions. In G. Harel and E. Dubinsky (editors). The Concept of Functions: Aspects of Epistemology and Pedagogy (pp..235260) MAA Notes, Number 25. Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America.
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Institutional, Associate and Affiliate Members
Members as of May 31, 2011 *Associate schools in planning stages
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Alabama Alabama School of Fine Arts - Russell Math & Science Center Alabama School of Mathematics & Science Arkansas Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts California California Academy of Mathematics & Science Connecticut New London Science & Technology Magnet High School The Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science Delaware The Charter School of Wilmington Florida Center for Advanced Technologies Crooms Academy of Information Technology Mariner High School - Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy MAST Academy Middleton High School Georgia Academy of Mathematics, Science & Technology at Kennesaw Mountain HS Academy of Research and Medical Sciences at South Cobb HS Rockdale Magnet School For Science and Technology The Center for Advanced Studies at Wheeler High School The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Illinois Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Wheeling High School Indiana Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics & Humanities Kentucky The Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathematics & Science in Kentucky Louisiana Louisiana School for Math, Science & the Arts New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy Maine Maine School of Science and Mathematics Maryland Anne Arundel County - North County High School STEM Program Anne Arundel County - South County High School STEM Program Eleanor Roosevelt Science and Technology Center Montgomery Blair High School Science, Mathematics & Computer Science Magnet Program Oxon Hill Science & Technology Center Poolesville High School Magnet Program Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School Science and Technology Center at Charles Herbert Flowers High School Massachusetts Massachusetts Academy Michigan Battle Creek Area Mathematics & Science Center Berrien County Mathematics & Science Center Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology Kalamazoo Area Mathematics & Science Center Lakeshore HS Math/Science Center Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences Macomb Mathematics, Science & Technology Center Mecosta-Osceola Math/Science/Technology Center Utica Center for Math, Science and Technology Williamston High School - Math and Science Academy Mississippi Mississippi School for Mathematics & Science Missouri Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing New Jersey Academy of Allied Health & Science Bergen County Academies
High Technology High School Marine Academy of Science & Technology Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science Morris County Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Red Bank Regional HS Academy of Information Technology & Finance Union County Magnet High School New York Brooklyn Technical High School High School for Math, Science and Engineering at The City College Hunter College High School Manhasset High School Stuyvesant High School The Bronx High School of Science North Carolina North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics Ohio Hathaway Brown School Oklahoma Oklahoma School of Science & Mathematics South Carolina Dutch Fork High School Spartanburg District Six Public Schools* Spring Valley High School Tennessee School for Science & Math at Vanderbilt Tennessee Governor’s Academy for Mathematics & Science Texas Academy for Science & Health Professions Conroe ISD Conroe ISD Academy of Science & Technology John Jay Science & Engineering Academy Liberal Arts and Science Academy of Austin at LBJ HS Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science NUAMES SUCCESS Academy Virginia Bayside High School Health Sciences Academy Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine & Environmental Science LCPS Academy of Science New Horizons Gov. School for Science and Technology Ocean Lakes High School Mathematics & Science Academy Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science & Technology Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Southwest VA Governor’s School for Science, Mathematics & Technology
The Mathematics & Science High School at Clover Hill Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology Washington Camas Academy of Math and Science Affiliate Members Aurora University Babson College Brown University Bucknell University Carleton College Center for Gifted Studies Western Kentucky University Center for Talent Dev. at Northwestern University Clarkson University Colorado School of Mines Cooper Union for the Adv. of Sci & Art Drexel University Eckerd College Ferris State University Florida Institute of Technology Georgetown University Georgia Institute of Technology Global Public Service Academies Harvey Mudd College Illinois Institute of Technology Illinois Wesleyan University James Madison University Keystone Science School Lehigh University Long Island University Loyola University New Orleans Massachusetts Institute of Technology Michigan Technological University Mississippi Valley State University
Missouri University of Science & Technology Morgan State University New College of Florida New Jersey Institute of Technology North Carolina Central University North Carolina State University Northern Illinois University Northwestern University Oglethorpe University, GA Ohio State University Ohio Wesleyan University Oklahoma City University Olin College of Engineering (MA) Polytechnic Institute of New York University Purdue University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Santa Clara University Siemens Foundation Smith College Society for Science and the Public The Jackson Laboratory The University of Alabama in Huntsville The US Naval Academy University of Arkansas University of Michigan University of Tampa US Coast Guard Academy Vanderbilt University Villanova University Virginia Tech Webb Institute Westminster College Worcester Polytechnic Institute Yale University
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Extreme Technology – USNA Style! After a year of planning, the 2011 NCSSSMST Student Research Conference, hosted by the United States Naval Academy June 1-4 in Annapolis, was a huge success. With 24 member institutions represented, this year’s event combined activities from the traditional student research symposium and the student conference. More than 65 students made formal research presentations and approximately 90 students displayed research posters.
“wow!” Participants learned how to invade cyberspace, to create a pinball game, and to connect the ideas of light and matter into various equations.
For the first day, the grade 9-11 participants made presentations and poster displays followed by a walking tour of Annapolis. The second day was devoted to the USNA academic labs and the Yard Patrol boat tour. Dr. Angela Moran and her STEM instructors provided one day of gaming, cyber security, and physics activities that gave the participants (including the chaperones) some real
Many thanks to the planning team, Davede Alexander and Danielle Curtis at USNA Admissions, and the midshipmen who took care of us during every step of the way. We have sincere admiration for their leadership and dedication to the security and safety of our nation.
Clockwisefrom right: The Yard Patrol post colors for one of the groups. The traditional t-shirt exchange was part of the experience. Family style meals were standard settings each day. Photo clip of the USNA yard flag.The student participants and the Midshipmen at King Hall. Additional photos can be viewed at http://www.mbhs.edu/~jkaluta/2011ncsssmst/ Photo credit: John Kaluta, Blair Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair High School.
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The dorm experiences in Bancroft Hall allowed students and chaperones to understand the meaning of “rack, muster, brief and orders.” Time management was key since the 30-minute meal schedule had to be followed in King Hall.
Coming soon! a new NCSSSMST e-book and print publication…
Schools Like Ours: Realizing Our STEM Future
If you could design a school that develops students who ask meaningful questions and who are able to discover their passions and talents, what would that school look like? With contributions from school planners, leaders, and teachers from some of the nation’s highest achieving specialized STEM high schools, Schools Like Ours provides a roadmap for creating new schools that add richness, depth, and authenticity to secondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
Schools Like Ours: Realizing Our STEM Future addresses the following critical questions related to developing a specialized STEM high school: • What type of governance is appropriate? • How should the school be structured? • What standards must the school meet? • What types of facilities are needed? • How will the curriculum and staff align with the vision? • How are students selected and supported? • How can the school be sustained?
To be among the first to receive purchase information, Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology
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