I am amazed at the number of comments we have gotten already on the other day’s Pearson post. Don’t you people have better things to do on a holiday than read and comment on 7,000-word blog posts about textbook publishers (asks the man who spent his holiday writing a 7,000-word blog post about a textbook publisher)? Seriously, I am humbled by your commitment. For those of you who subscribe to comments on this blog by email, I’m afraid that is no longer a reliable way to track the conversation. We have integrated Google+ into our blog posts which has the benefit of attracting more commenters and longer conversations at the cost of having two different commenting systems running simultaneously and no good way to track or integrate them. Unfortunately, we are back to the days where you have to go to the page periodically to see what is happening, at least for now.
Anyway, unsurprisingly, there is a lot of skepticism about Pearson and also the notion of “efficacy” among the commenters. There is also some discussion about the complexity of how we define (or fail to define) the goals education and how the lack of clearly articulated goals makes any attempt to measure efficacy problematic. (Efficacious at what?) This is a point I’ve been trying to make in different ways and for different audiences in several recent posts. Larry Cuban has a timely blog post up on the history of this problem in math education.
Meanwhile, Carrie Saarinen has a more positive take on the idea of efficacy. I met Carrie at the NERCOMP LMS unConference, when she was working at Brown University. She has since been hired by Instructure (to their great credit). I highly recommend reading Carrie’s post and following her blog.