The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

The reliable content validity of Crohnbach’s… Wait a minute… What?

When I am struggling my way through reading about validity assessments, as I so often am lately, I sometimes stop in amazement. What is amazing to me is that people are passionate about validity and Crohnbach’s alpha and reliability null measures. I’m just barely getting my head around this stuff, and some people make it their life’s work. And presumably, they really dig it!

I consider myself to be a more or less intelligent person, but as I am forging my way through these readings, I think it’s a wonder than anyone makes this (research about research) their life’s work. It makes me wonder if I’m just not seeing the story behind the numbers – if I just haven’t yet found the ‘hook’ that brings it all into technicolor wonder and glory. Hah.

So right now, I’m reading an article by Harold Hungerford about developing curriculum for environmental education programming. As I try to summarize what has been written, I am continually stymied. EE should have a solid base. It shouldn’t suffer the folly of Conservation Education (which… did not have a solid base?). EE curriculum should follow the proposed guidelines. The proposed guidelines have been refereed and are sound.

I don’t know. Throughout my program, I have thought that EE spends an awful lot of time justifying itself, and this article seems to continue that trend. I mean the real purpose of the article is to lay out a framework for how to establish EE curriculum, but the underlying message (to me) seems to be that EE is good enough, it’s important enough, and doggone it, people like it.

Does biology do this? Does astronomy, or political science? What other fields make sure that we know how important and valid they are? I’ve gotta say – it’s off-putting, and I feel like it actually has the opposite effect. I think it would make people less inclined to take it seriously. Just do the work, and get over justifying yourself. Either people get it or they don’t.

Hmm. I think this post transmogrified into a rant. Sorry ’bout that.

Granted, the article was written in 1980. So what is Ernst looking for us to take from this? I guess the line from the reading that ‘program evaluation is a prerequisite to sound decision making.’

Next up: Understanding By Design


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