So yesterday was session 2 of the "real space" version of Science Science Communication course ver 2.0. The topic was public "science literacy" or "comprehension" & whether the NSF Indicators and other standardized assessments are "measuring what counts." The list of assigned readings are here.
Rather than summarize or sound off (again; I've done 738 posts on this topic since topic since this blog started in 1973), I thought I'd just post some questions & let you-- the 14 billion students who enrolled students in the "virtual" version of course (most of whom registered via Tamar Wilner's site) -- say what you think (& of course, ask and answer different questions if you like).
- How important is general scientific knowledge for a general member of the public? Does he or she have to understand particular bodies of science or be able to comprehend scientific evidence to be able reliably to identify and use of scientific knowledge in his or her personal life? In his or her role as a democratic citizen?
- Is the NSF science indicators battery a valid assessment of science literacy? What is the battery measuring exactly? And how reliably?
- What does Miller’s “civic science literacy” (CSL) measure? Are the elements of knowledge or the dispositions it measures essential for individuals to be able to recognize and use valid scientific knowledge in their lives? What sort of evidence is there on that question?
- Is administering a public “science literacy” test to scientists a useful way to validate such a test?
- How does Miller’s CSL relate to Dewey’s position that “scientific method” just “is thinking”? What might a measure of scientific literacy—or however one might characterize it—look like?