Course Requirements
EDST 823-10
Proseminar: Applied Human Development

Fall Semester 1998
Wednesdays, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
WHL 207

The course is primarily for beginning doctoral students in the School of Education who are preparing to be research scholars in the discipline of Education. The principal goals of the course are the student's formulation of research questions about applied human development & education and the design of experiments that would begin to answer the questions. The principal criteria are the clarity and significance of the questions and feasibility and effectiveness of the design.

1. Schedule: Seminar Discussion Topics

Class discussions. Students are expected to participate in class in several ways - asking questions of clarification and extension, citing information from the readings and other sources, making brief presentations, responding to other's questions, enriching the discussion with different perspectives, solving problems, and conforming to the conversational norms of scholars and researchers (the school colloquium series often provides guidance on the latter point). Class discussion is evaluated on the following grounds - whether comments are informed, relevant, responsive, balanced, and respectful of other perspectives.

2. Readings.

Readings are assigned for each topic and will be distributed in class, or put on reserve in the ERC, prior to the particular topics covered in class discussions. The readings are largely about the kinds of explanations and theories that have been created about developmental phenomena over the years. Your focus should be on the nature of the explanations, the characteristics of particular phenomena, and the adequacy of the explanation.

Apart from the initial handout of chapters, the subsequent readings will be taken from the following sources:

American Psychologist, February 1998 (vol. 53, no. 2). Special Issue: Applications of Developmental Science.

David Olson & Nancy Torrance (Eds). The Handbook of Education and Human Development,. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, Ltd, 1996.

Richard Lerner (Ed.) Theoretical Models of Human Development, Handbook of Child Psychology (Vol, 1), New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Irving Sigel & Anne Renninger (Eds.) Child Psychology in Practice, Handbook of Child Psychology (Vol, 4), New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Deanna Kuhn & Robert S. Siegler (Eds.) Cognition, Perception and Language, Handbook of Child Psychology (Vol, 2), New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Usha Goswami, Cognition in children. East Sussex, UK: Taylor & Francis Group, 1998.

Eric Amsel & Ann Renninger (Eds,) Change and development: issues of theory, method, and application. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,1997.

3. Essays.

Three essays of between three and five typewritten pages are required. Each essay will address one question from each of the following sets of questions.

Please confine your answers to your own ideas and your own analysis. Satisfactory answers cannot be had from a library or literature search per se. No bibliography is required or needed. You will be evaluated on the plausibility and cogency of your argument and analysis. Be sure you make statements that are true, supportable, and that follow from each other. It is possible to produce excellent answers on either side of each question.

In other words, it is not a matter of whether your response is right or wrong, but whether you make a coherent and convincing case. Essays may be revised after grading.

The topics and due dates for the essays are:

3.1 Essay I (Due on September 23rd):

1. It has been argued that a machine, like a computer, could develop a mind indistinguishable from a human mind. Is this a reasonable argument and why or why not?

2. What kind of data could you obtain from an experiment or investigation that would entitle you to make the claim that your subjects were in a new developmental stage?

3. What difference would it make to a teacher to know that a certain behavior was developmental or not?

4. If psychology succeeds as a science such that there are a complete set of laws developed for human behavior, would novel or spontaneous behavior still be possible? How?

3.2 Essay II (Due October 28th):

1. If intelligence is what the IQ test measures, how can you tell whether a particular test is an IQ test or some other kind of test?

2. How can you tell a fact in developmental psychology from something that is not a fact? In your answer give an example of a fact and a non-fact.

3. Educators are fond of saying that educational practices should be developmentally appropriate. How can you determine whether an educational practice is developmentally appropriate or inappropriate? As in item 2, give an example of appropriate and inappropriate practices that occur in schools to support your argument.

3.3 Essay III (Due November 18th):

1. If a teacher could know only one thing about a student that would enable the teacher to make the maximum number of sound predictions about the student's academic level of school achievement, what would it be and why have you selected it?

2. If a second grade student had failed to master some subject matter, what kind of questions would the teacher want to ask before designing a remedial instructional program for the student?

4. A research article (Due December 2nd).

A research article is required. It should be written In APA style, based upon an experimental design that includes the following sections: an introduction, a procedures & methods, results (an analysis of 'hypothetical results'), a discussion of the significance of the hypothetical results for the experimental question posed in the introduction, and reference section. The question should address a school issue that has a connection to the research literature on human development. Because you will not be able to collect the data, you are free to construct some that you imagine might have been obtained ('hypothetical results'). Of course, if you are able to collect data, your study may be more interesting to you.

5. Oral Examination.

During finals week, each student is expected to schedule an hour's time for an oral examination of topics covered in the course. The examination, really a conversation, will begin with the research question you have selected. Course Grade. Each of the four components of the course is weighted as follows in the determination of the overall course grade: - class discussion (10%), the essays (45%), the research article (30%), and the oral examination (15%).

Class attendance and informed participation is required, unless excused prior to class. Some class sessions may need to be rescheduled to a mutually agreed upon time.

An Overview of Doctoral Study in Education at the University of Delaware

Since 1960s the University of Delaware has provided study at the doctoral level for students in Education. The initial program served only a narrow band of Education students, namely those interested in the behavioral sciences. In 1960s neither the graduate faculties in the departments of psychology, sociology, or the college of education had developed to the point where the University thought that separate doctoral programs in each field were warranted. Thus, the only doctoral degrees for students in the field of Education were awarded to students who learned to apply the powerful research methods of the behavioral sciences to problems in education.

The joint program in the behavioral sciences was discontinued at the end of the decade when each of the disciplines had secured the University's approval of their very own doctoral degree program. The faculty, in the face of the opportunity to specialize in their own fields, no longer supported the idea that there was a generic body of behavioral science knowledge that was sufficient for students from psychology, sociology and education, an idea that was so attractive in 1960s.

The College of Education established a Ph.D. program in curriculum, instruction, and learning in 1970, but the program, while more flexible and open to problems in curriculum development than the behavioral science program, was still heavily grounded in the methodology of the behavioral sciences. At the time the largest concentration of research faculty in the College were trained in one or another of the behavioral sciences, typically educational psychology.

The program was unique in its approach to the education of educational researchers. While there were few formal course requirements, students were required to demonstrate that they could handle all the tasks that research faculty in education routinely handle -- publishing research, designing graduate seminars, giving papers at professional meetings, developing curriculum materials for the schools, reviewing books, writing grant proposals, teaching courses, synthesizing portions of the research literature, and so forth. These demonstrations, the heart of the program, were compiled in a portfolio, as it was called.

In 1979-80 the College of Education was restructured and the Ph.D. program in curriculum, learning, and instruction was departmentalized. The new Department of Educational Development took responsibility for the students who were preparing themselves to do research in curriculum theory and the curriculum areas of reading, social studies, science, language arts, and mathematics, while the new Department of Educational Studies shaped the program to meet the needs of future researchers in applied human development, learning and cognition, research and evaluation, and educational policy.

Because the research training that was the strength of the Ph.D. programs did not address the needs of students who planned to work in the schools and education agencies as administrators and curriculum leaders, the College established in 1980 an Ed.D program in educational leadership for educational administrators in the region. The College recognized, in other words, that research training itself provided an inadequate basis for managing and leading the schools. The new program, like the Ph.D. in its day, was strikingly innovative. It was designed for those with full-time administrative responsibilities and it addressed their needs to be more effective leaders and to make better decisions. The heart of the program, in addition to the fact that students were admitted and progressed through the program as cohorts, was invention of the executive position paper device. To some extent the position papers replaced the traditional doctoral dissertation, which was taken as the proof that the student could execute a research study or program. The position papers were designed to show that the candidate could make and justify an important and wise educational policy decision.

In the fall of 1989, the College extended the Ed.D program to classroom teachers who were planning to take on the roles of lead teacher or career professional teacher as they are described in the various reform reports.

The doctoral programs in the College of Education are a microcosm of developments in Education over the last 25 years. The field of educational scholarship has matured in this period to the point that it can provide sound guidance for educational practitioners in a few areas. This has happened as educational researchers shed the limitations of the older behavioral research paradigms and included in the quest for better information about schooling and education, research paradigms from a wider set of disciplines and engaged more scholars who were closer to the schools than the educational researchers of the past.

The next phase in the development of the doctoral programs in education is currently underway in the merger of the College of Education with the colleges of urban affairs and human resources to form a new college, the College of Human Resources, Education, and Public Policy. The departments of the former College of Education have also merged and formed a new School of Education. The doctoral programs in Education are being restructured to take advantage of the combined strength of the former departments and the faculty within the new college who research issues of family, public policy, and communities.