Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
Deborah Meier, the nationally known educational leader and innovator and principal of the Mission Hill School in Boston, described the impact on science education of the controversial MCAS tests and suggested alternative ways to assess student achievements in an April 9 talk on campus.
Tricks and shortcuts to succeed on standardized tests belie the necessity of careful thought and patient observation that is the core of science education, said Meier. She endorsed the practice in some schools where students produce portfolios of their work in science and present their ideas publicly to teachers and peers.
Meier encouraged the audience to widen their view of education and envision the citizenry of the future.
"We can't produce a citizenry capable of engaging in debate if we don't teach them what it is that makes authority," she said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 24, 2002.