Generic Confusion links to a discussion on the miseducation of teachers, which includes a post about an experiment comparing constructivism with traditional math teaching. “Will Durant” designed the experiment for his master’s thesis using summer school geometry classes.
Two classes (one remedial, one enrichment) would be taught using traditional methods; the other two would be taught using constructivist methods. With my professor, I created the curriculum and learning objectives. I wrote the lesson plans for the traditional classes; my professor designed the constructivist exercises that would be used in the constructivist classes. I enlisted six teachers to assist me by doing the actual teaching (the constructivist classes required TWO teachers — an indication right from the start that something was wrong).
Traditional students from both the remedial and advanced classes did slightly better on the constructivist “final exam” than the constructivist students. The “constructivist students did ridiculously worse on the paper and pencil exam, with many scores very close to zero and almost nobody passing the exam, even among the enrichment group.”
The truth was that constructivism was proven to be a worthless pathetic failure. Of course, nobody ever gets a thesis accepted and published by bucking established theory, so I watered down my conclusion to a much weaker (but still true) statement: “No evidence was found that the constructivist methods are better than the traditional method.” Professor read my first draft and turned it down outright. He told me to reanalzye my data so that I could state the constructivism was better or I would never graduate. So I walked out of his office, got an incomplete on my thesis (which eventually became an F) and never graduated.
The other ed school posts on the thread are incredible too.
Update: Will Durant has created a blog for discussion of this topic.