The real criminal is the P-S-D

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thoreau
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by thoreau » 09 Sep 2016, 15:18

D.A. Ridgely wrote:Mmmm, well, I know the SATs are different than in my day, but I got genuinely shitty (of the "who gives a fuck?" variety) grades in high school in non-AP classes (which I wasn't allowed to take because of my shitty attitude and shitty grades which were in significant measure the result of being put in boring classes) and got + 1500 combined SAT scores (790 verbal, 730 math, if I recall). And I think I was hung over that morning, too.

Point being, that throughout most of its history, the SATs tracked general IQ tests pretty closely. Yeah, you had to have some basic knowledge and coming from a deprived environment (which, looking only at my home, I was) was a disadvantage, etc., etc. But no matter how they fudge the concept of aptitude by calling it assessment or whatever, if you got below 1100 combined on your SAT and, you know, didn't bother to retake it because you thought that was good enough, I think we do have a pretty good read on how smart you are.
You might be right, but for the sake of argument I will countenance the most generous take on the SAT, because either way she should have gone to a different school, given the cirumstances.
Which in this kid's case doesn't mean she isn't smart enough to become an R.N. She's probably smart enough to have passed that statistics course because, as you said, it almost certainly wasn't statistics for math and science majors. But she probably also shouldn't have gone to UT Austin just as she shouldn't have gone to Cal had she been a Californian. There are lots of okay schools for prospective nurses to go to; there were enough warning signs (including the fact that she was surrounded by mediocrity or worse throughout school) that she should have been able to figure out that she wasn't ready for the most academically rigorous program she could get admitted to.
At the risk of sounding like I'm against personal responsibility, what were the signs that she should have been able to pick up on? She got good grades and she had lots of adults telling her that this means she's really smart. She compared herself to her classmates and saw that she was more motivated and disciplined than most, and even you and I would agree that that's certainly something (though obviously not enough for success at a rigorous university). I'd wager good money that a top 10% admissions rule is accompanied by all sorts of propaganda telling kids in every school that everyone can succeed. What yardstick did she have for realizing that she's under-prepared when everyone around her was probably trying to instill confidence? Yeah, the SAT, but I will bet you a lavish spread at your favorite Texas steak joint that there were plenty of teachers and counselors telling her that SAT scores don't mean much, and the SATs are biased, and all the rest.

And she wants to be a nurse, so the ethos of helping professions is probably strong in her, and that will naturally predispose her to be receptive to warm and fuzzy messages.

Besides, she's apparently doing fine now...after getting into a program that gives her the environment of a smaller, more nurturing institution. You and I can step back and say that maybe she should have started at either a community college or a lower-tier state school, but everything around her is priming her for the message that ultimately she had what it takes to be successful at UT Austin, it's just that UT Austin hasn't done enough to make itself the sort of place that is conducive to success from day one.

My views are close to yours on most of these matters, but I've been "in the system" for 22 years and I'm contrarian by nature. It's not at all obvious to me that these points are discoverable by 17 year-olds in anything but the outlier cases.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 09 Sep 2016, 15:25

Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.

But, yeah, mostly I agree.

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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 15:28

D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by thoreau » 09 Sep 2016, 15:33

The paradox is that a strong commitment to democratic equality in education makes it harder (at least for public institutions) to find and polish "diamonds in the rough" from disadvantaged backgrounds. Certain private schools have no qualms about throwing lavish scholarship money at disadvantaged kids with high SAT scores and putting them in rigorous programs with lots of support and even more photographers. Public universities want to see everyone get through, and this means certain curricular compromises that a private school might sidestep by allowing some very small sections of more rigorous electives, or steering the less talented away from hard majors. (In principle you could do the same at public schools, but a factory-like culture means we'll offer fewer such sections than unashamedly elitist institutions.)

Then we scratch our heads and wonder why the better graduate programs are afraid to take our students. Must be because of their myopia! Surely it has nothing to do with the compromises that we make!
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by nicole » 09 Sep 2016, 15:37

Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Shouldn't all public school students realize that comparing themselves to their classmates is NOT comparing themselves to the best-performing students?
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 15:41

nicole wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Shouldn't all public school students realize that comparing themselves to their classmates is NOT comparing themselves to the best-performing students?
In an ideal world, all high school students should have the wisdom and perspective of degree-holding adults at least twice their age, yes. Still, when dealing with widespread social problems, it's useful to look for solutions other than "Blame real-world people for any discrepancies between the ideal and the real."
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Taktix® » 09 Sep 2016, 15:42

nicole wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Shouldn't all public school students realize that comparing themselves to their classmates is NOT comparing themselves to the best-performing students?
LOL expecting public school students to know things...
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by nicole » 09 Sep 2016, 15:44

Jennifer wrote:
nicole wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Shouldn't all public school students realize that comparing themselves to their classmates is NOT comparing themselves to the best-performing students?
In an ideal world, all high school students should have the wisdom and perspective of degree-holding adults at least twice their age, yes. Still, when dealing with widespread social problems, it's useful to look for solutions other than "Blame real-world people for any discrepancies between the ideal and the real."
I figured it out in elementary school. It's not that hard.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 15:47

nicole wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
nicole wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Shouldn't all public school students realize that comparing themselves to their classmates is NOT comparing themselves to the best-performing students?
In an ideal world, all high school students should have the wisdom and perspective of degree-holding adults at least twice their age, yes. Still, when dealing with widespread social problems, it's useful to look for solutions other than "Blame real-world people for any discrepancies between the ideal and the real."
I figured it out in elementary school. It's not that hard.
Hooray for you! But surely, you know better than to think "What's true in my case must be true for all people in the United States?"
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by tr0g » 09 Sep 2016, 15:55

Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Public school systems in Texas vary widely in the education they provide students. It is the nature of the weird ISD system Texas has.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jasper » 09 Sep 2016, 16:09

JasonL wrote:Hmm. Achievement is measurable and is what we should care about, but it is the measure at the end of a process of skills attainment, habits, grit, etc. Talent is maybe the variance among individuals in effort and time required for a given level of achievement in a given area.

To me this suggests we should start being rigorous about creating opportunities for real not dumbed down achievement throughout k-12 and vocational work such that everyone should have a realistic sense of how far they might be able to go. Nobody should be surprised in an ideal world because they would have experienced clearly a set of achievements and failures. Maybe Mary can achieve greatly in biochemistry while Bob can achieve in Nascar level auto repair. Who knows. All I know is if you lie to people by trying to deny real achievement so we can pretend something something democracy of ability, you hurt everyone involved.
How dare you suggest my precious snowflake isn't cut out to be a doctor and is more suited to brick-laying!
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Shem » 09 Sep 2016, 16:15

JasonL wrote:Parents can't relate and don't know how to help.
Speaking from personal experience, this is such a massive part of the problem that I'm horrified at the lack of attention it receives. My parents were both loving and supportive, and it was still a bitch and a half to navigate the process of college. I had to teach myself practically everything, while I learned how to interact with classmates who learned everything through cultural osmosis, and who weren't, as a result, all that helpful in explaining why things were happening the way they were. I can't imagine how people do it without any support from their parents, to say nothing of those whose parents are actively hostile. So much of the dominant culture is treated as if it's just something everyone knows, rather than being something that's inculcated from birth, and it functions as a huge barrier, even for those who were big fish in their old ponds.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Mo » 09 Sep 2016, 16:22

Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:Parents can't relate and don't know how to help.
Soaking from personal experience, this is such a massive part of the problem that I'm horrified at the lack of attention it receives. My parents were both living and supportive, and it was still a bitch and a half to navigate the process of college. I had to teach myself practically everything, while I learned how to interact with classmates who learned everything through cultural osmosis, and who weren't, as a result, all that helpful in explaining why things were happening the way they were. I can't imagine how people do it without any support from their parents, to say nothing of those whose parents are actively hostile. So much of the dominant culture is treated as if it's just something everyone knows, rather than being something that's inculcated from birth, and it functions as a huge barrier, even for those who were big fish in their old ponds.
Basically this. For my siblings, my parents had me help them out because I had already done the process. I'm guessing when the 'Jitos go to college, all my experience will be as relevant as telling them to use a typewriter to fill out their college applications like I did.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 16:31

Mo wrote:
Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:Parents can't relate and don't know how to help.
Soaking from personal experience, this is such a massive part of the problem that I'm horrified at the lack of attention it receives. My parents were both living and supportive, and it was still a bitch and a half to navigate the process of college. I had to teach myself practically everything, while I learned how to interact with classmates who learned everything through cultural osmosis, and who weren't, as a result, all that helpful in explaining why things were happening the way they were. I can't imagine how people do it without any support from their parents, to say nothing of those whose parents are actively hostile. So much of the dominant culture is treated as if it's just something everyone knows, rather than being something that's inculcated from birth, and it functions as a huge barrier, even for those who were big fish in their old ponds.
Basically this. For my siblings, my parents had me help them out because I had already done the process. I'm guessing when the 'Jitos go to college, all my experience will be as relevant as telling them to use a typewriter to fill out their college applications like I did.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by thoreau » 09 Sep 2016, 16:35

There are the specifics of the current system and then there the meta-lessons. For as long as there have been colleges there have been observations that first-gen students face unique challenges, and there have been non-sequiturs from classmates who said that "College was different in my parents' era."

A student attending college in the early 50's, when the mega-versities of the modern era were forming, was in a very different institution than his college-educated parents, but he probably found it easier to navigate than his first-gen classmates. A student today, in an institution where so many things are done online, is in a very different institution than that attended by parents who did most stuff on paper and might have typed all of their term papers in computer labs rather than in their dorm rooms. Despite that, the student whose parents attended in that era often finds it easier to succeed in college than does the first-gen.

Every kid, first-gen or fifteenth gen, has to learn the specifics of the system. That's not the difference between first-gen students and those whose families went to college. The difference is the mindset, assumptions, and confidence with which they figure out this mysterious system. Mo might not be able to help Mojito with the specifics of the online homework system used in the 2030's, but Mojito will probably find the general navigation of college easier than kids whose parents don't have graduate degrees.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 09 Sep 2016, 16:41

tr0g wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Fair enough and I'd say around 97% accurate. However, here's at least one way she should have known: excepting places like Plano and Highland Park and University Park and a couple of magnet schools, anyone who can afford to send their kids to a private school does so, and not because of racism. Race is a factor, although the politics there are odd, but it's really common knowledge that the public schools suck, just as it was and still is common knowledge in D.C. that the public schools suck, that they are among the worst in the nation.
I know what point you're making here, but even so: that sounds an awful lot like "Well, any Texas public-school student ought to know she's not cut out for a good college!"
Public school systems in Texas vary widely in the education they provide students. It is the nature of the weird ISD system Texas has.
Precisely. As I originally mentioned, there are local public school systems in the Dallas area that are on a par with good to excellent private schools. The Mesquite ISD is not among them. Not even close. That combined with the girl's SAT scores should have sufficed to give her pause at the very least. OTOH, had she aced the SATs, she would have had had a much better objective reason to believe she could not only survive but thrive. Moreover, my guess is that there would have been nothing in that statistics class that she couldn't have mastered, either.

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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 16:56

D.A. Ridgely wrote: The Mesquite ISD is not among them. Not even close. That combined with the girl's SAT scores should have sufficed to give her pause at the very least....
Except that, as IIRC Thoreau pointed out upthread, there are LOTS of reputable-media news stories out there reporting that SAT and ACT test scores actually do a shitty job of predicting college success, especially for minorities and low-income students. (I know, the infamous "regatta" question hasn't been on the test since probably before I was even born, but I'm sure there are equally facepalm-worthy questions, still.)
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 09 Sep 2016, 17:10

Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote: The Mesquite ISD is not among them. Not even close. That combined with the girl's SAT scores should have sufficed to give her pause at the very least....
Except that, as IIRC Thoreau pointed out upthread, there are LOTS of reputable-media news stories out there reporting that SAT and ACT test scores actually do a shitty job of predicting college success, especially for minorities and low-income students. (I know, the infamous "regatta" question hasn't been on the test since probably before I was even born, but I'm sure there are equally facepalm-worthy questions, still.)
I doubt it. There probably isn't even a WASP left on whatever board screens for that sort of thing, and if there is, she's probably one of those Edu-Fad people Thoreau gets along with so well.

Look, sure. Point taken. Kid could have been told her shit smelled like roses all her life in a barrio from which she almost never ventured. I doubt she read much reputable-media -- is there such a thing and does anyone in high school read it anymore? -- but yeah, the teachers and guidance councilors (no great brain trust there, either, I'm sure*) could have been telling her not to sweat those inherently unfair standardized tests, though I doubt "inherently" was used. I should never assume people can't possibly be as clueless as they are.

*I'm sure because I went to an excellent high school with supposedly great teachers and the majority of them were dull-normal as far as I could tell.

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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jennifer » 09 Sep 2016, 17:16

D.A. Ridgely wrote: I should never assume people can't possibly be as clueless as they are.
At the very least, you should not assume that a teenager who's doing "very well" by the standards of her school and is surrounded by authority figures reminding her how well she's doing and urging her to chase her [very modest] dream of becoming a nurse will be wise enough to second-guess everything she's ever been told regarding the matter.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by thoreau » 13 Nov 2017, 23:34

While critiquing drafts of lab reports, I came across yet another example of non-standard usage, something along the lines of "The data is shown at the graph" instead of "The data is shown in the graph." Sighing, I remarked "I don't think the k-12 system teaches the proper usage of prepositions these days." One of the students replied with "What's a preposition?"

I paused to collect myself and avoid screaming things that could result in a visit to HR. He said "I'm serious, they never discussed prepositions."

If he's telling the truth then he should file a lawsuit. I will gladly file an amicus brief.
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by the innominate one » 14 Nov 2017, 05:45

Human resources said prepositions are sexual harassment.

Also, "data are".

Also, that entire elocution is annoying. They should write "description of results (Fig. #)".
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Re: The real criminal is the P-S-D

Post by Jadagul » 14 Nov 2017, 05:51

I'm still struggling to break myself of the habit of "This is a paper, not just something I'm writing, so I have to write in this super stilted way that makes it sound all fancy."

I'm writing a teaching statement right now to apply to a few jobs, and it's so easy to slip into Bad Literary Undergraduate Paperese rather than just fucking telling people about how I teach.

Honestly, sitting on a hiring committee last summer was really helpful, because it gave me a much better sense of how people actually read these things and what they're looking for.

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