Disturbing news from The Chronicle: Westmont College will be using headsets to measure electrical activity in students’ brains, attempting to measure “growth” through the college experience. This is exactly the kind of “research” that disturbs me: no control groups, no prior proof-of-concept with the theory, and a clear conflict of interest. This isn’t science – it’s a media campaign.
I worry that some of our most cherished pedagogical theories are being applied in the same way. Studies that measure “progress” according to theory-defined definitions might not be showing relevant progress at all. If you only see what you want to see…then that’s a problem.