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Friday, January 16, 2009

Correction of error in Texas science standards' L-word history

I erroneously assumed that the biology standards-drafting committee added the word "limitations" to the "knowledge and skills" (KS) rule 3D when the committee dropped the phrase "strengths and limitations" that was in KS rule 3A of the second draft [1] [2] -- however, the word "limitations" was actually already in KS rule 3D in the 1st and 2nd drafts. Here is the history as told by Steven Schafersman:

Now we come to the last biology problem, one that I failed to notice before. As readers remember, Biology's original 1997 TEKS had the very unscientific and misleading scientific processes "strengths and weaknesses" standard 3A, Draft 1 of September 2008 had the new and good standard 3A, Draft 2 of November 2008 substituted the educationally poor and unscientific "analyze and evaluate strengths and limitations of scientific explanations including those based on accepted scientific data," and Draft 3 of January 2009, the Proposed Recommendations, correctly returned to the good standard 3A. What I had overlooked is that all three of the drafts had standard 3D: "evaluate models according to their limitations in representing biological objects or events." Furthermore, this Knowledge and Skill scientific process standard was in the original 1997 Biology TEKS as standard 3E: "evaluate models according to their adequacy in representing biological objects or events." No doubt anti-evolutionists did a search, as I did, for the word "limitations" and found this. At least two blogs claimed that biology standard 3D was new and simply transferred the word "limitations" to another process skill standard when biology went back to the good 3A. In fact, this is a very old standard and the original word "adequacy" was changed to "limitations" during the very first biology panel revision meeting.

So why wasn't "limitations" dropped from biology KS Rule 3D when "strengths and limitations" was dropped from biology KS Rule 3A? An oversight, maybe? The Darwinists are now faced with a dilemma -- they cannot at the same time ask that (1) the committees' final drafts be adopted unchanged and (2) that the word "limitations" be removed from biology KS Rule 3D.

The committees' three drafts of the proposed high school science standards are available here. The 1st draft is here, the 2nd draft is here, and the final draft is here.

"Limitations" appears in the introductions of the first and second drafts of all eight science subjects, in paragraphs like the following:

Investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and that methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. They have limitations and based on new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.

Duh. Does all that breathtakingly inane verbiage really need saying?

The word "limitations" appears in only one place -- biology KS rule 3D -- in the committees' final drafts.

Anyway, the Darwinists did not make a stink about the word "limitations" until the phrase "strengths and limitations" appeared in KS Rule 3A of the 2nd drafts of the standards for three of the eight science subjects.
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