Science Education & Policy

The latest performance tables for secondary and primary schools in England have been released – with parents and educators alike looking to the tables to understand and compare schools in their area.

Schools will also be keen to see if they have met a new set of national standards set by the government. These new standards now include “progress” measures, which are a type of “value-added measure”. These compare pupils’ results with other pupils who got the same exam scores as them at the end of primary school.

Why Science is Worth Studying.

Excerpts from a very good book -

Rustic sounds and other studies in literature and natural history
by Sir Francis Darwin,  1917

I found this book by Sir Francis Darwin to be both an absorbing and easy read.  Good science combines well with light humour, and Sir Francis Darwin achieves this combination in a masterly fashion.

The reference to 'boys' reflects the times of Sir Francis Darwin: it should now be read as 'boys and girls', of course.

I think that we all, who study science, hope to be the first to discover some exciting new fact -
With the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform passed into law, environmental activists are developing lists of chemicals they want banned in short order. Asbestos are near the top of the list, as easy targets. After all, it seems logical to get rid of such obvious carcinogens, but it isn’t that simple. In fact, some bans could actually undermine public health and safety.

People who gained health coverage following the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion sharply increased their use of prescription drugs, while their out-of-pocket spending for medications dropped significantly, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Studying the experiences of nearly 7 million prescription drug users nationally, researchers found that among those who gained private insurance there was a 28 percent increase in prescriptions filled and a 29 percent reduction in out-of-pocket spending per prescription compared to the previous year when they were uninsured.

French men love French women. So much so that given two equal candidates for a job, one male and one female, they are likely to score a female higher when it comes to being a science educator.

Claims of bias are rampant in the United States - women overwhelmingly dominate the social sciences, which men claim is bias, while men dominate the physical sciences, which women say is bias.  Yet once women get into the private sector companies fall all over themselves to hire women, which means the problem may be just in academia. Female doctors are also not penalized for having families - unless they are at academic institutions.

The Nobel Prize was established upon the death of scientist and inventor, Alfred Nobel
Dear class of 2016,

Finishing school can be a daunting experience but you are young, bright and have your future ahead of you — easy for me to say, you might think.

I could fill a book with the things I wish I’d known when I left school – how to iron, how to put up a shelf, how invaluable learning languages is. Though the biggest one is how everyone is in the same boat, and how no one really knows what they want to do when they leave school.

So, with this in mind, let me impart some of my age old wisdom onto your young shoulders. Here are some of the most important life lessons I wish somebody had taught me before the final school bell rang.

Men still outperform women in undergraduate introductory biology tests and humanities scholars are scrambling to blame the tests. And the wealth of families. Anything except the fact that on different tests in different classes at different times, test performance will vary and is not a problem that can be fixed by creating a test where women, or poor women, will be guaranteed to do better.

How is performance different? When it comes to memorization tests, facts, both genders are equal, but when tests include cognitively challenging questions that require elevated critical thinking, females and lower socioeconomic students score lower than their male or high-status peers. Publishing that result without hedging is a sure way to get through out of a university.  

Environmental groups, who ordinarily love centralized government and social authoritarian mechanisms to block science and progress, have suddenly embraced the free market - well, when the free market is using social authoritarian mechanisms to block science and progress, anyway.

Last year, after review and stalling well beyond believability, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the AquAdvantage salmon, an Atlantic salmon that expresses a gene from a Chinook salmon and grows faster.

In Japan, where the suicide rate is quite high but guns are banned, they use rope. So it is accurate to state that rope ownership is closely tied to suicide rates in that country.

Using that same methodology, it is easy to do the same with guns and suicide. States with higher estimated levels of gun ownership had higher incidents of gun-related suicides, according to a new paper in the American Journal of Public Health which covers 33 years, from 1981 to 2013, and the authors claims is the most comprehensive analysis of the association between gun ownership and gender-specific suicides rates among the 50 U.S. states.