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View Diary: Why the Achievement Gap Matters and Will Remain (147 comments)

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  •  more bias (5+ / 0-)

    bell-shaped curve is a norm that is highly questionable as well. . .based on privileged-driven claims

    again, YES, students are being blocked from access based on classist-practices. . .that is my point

    NOT saying anyone should be denied challenging courses for anyone

    •  Half of all kids... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hmi, debedb

      ...are below average.

      That's just simple statistics.

      The term "bell-curve" is loaded because it is used in the title of Murray's book. But there are kids who are smarter, and they do need more challenging courses.

      •  This is not true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Toon, congenitalefty, Linda Wood

        We have a growing and significant body of really good brain research that began over a decade ago and has produced some incredible insights into the right conditions for learning that really need to be present for most brains. There are a few select brains that learn under any situation and essentially, those people are teaching themselves. The rest of our population of learners is, to one degree or another, dependent on some mix of right learning conditions coupled with conditions that are responsive to their particular learning strengths/challenges.

        Intelligence is now thought of as far more fluid, flexible and nuanced than ever before. While IQ tests are one marker, information about executive function and emotional regulation, social learning, and adaptive intelligence are all areas that have even greater correlation with success in life than simply a high level of skill in reading/writing/mathematics. That isn't to say that content isn't important.

        It's to say that this:

        But there are kids who are smarter, and they do need more challenging courses.

        is unbelievably oversimplified. Hell, even what teachers think about their students has been shown empirically to have a statistically significant impact on learning outcomes/performance of students. Intelligence can be situational, it can be extremely dependent on degrees of stimulation/stress in early childhood/infancy, there are different types, and it increases over time. So we really have to incorporate those complex pieces in our educational policies if we want our understanding of intelligence to have any precise meaning within and educational context.

        Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

        by Tookish on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 04:01:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a Bell Curve (0+ / 0-)
          There are a few select brains that learn under any situation and essentially, those people are teaching themselves. The rest of our population of learners is, to one degree or another, dependent on some mix of right learning conditions coupled with conditions that are responsive to their particular learning strengths/challenges.

          Under any given set of environmental conditions, some people learn more and some learn less.  

          Moreover, under the same set of conditions, some people consistently learn more, some consistently learn less, and most cluster around the media.

          That's a Bell Curve.

          Intelligence is now thought of as far more fluid, flexible and nuanced than ever before. While IQ tests are one marker, information about executive function and emotional regulation, social learning, and adaptive intelligence are all areas that have even greater correlation with success in life than simply a high level of skill in reading / writing / mathematics.

          There is actually very little evidence for this.

          IQ measures are extremely robust - scores on a huge variety of different types of IQ tests ranging from verbal to mathematical to symbolic have very strong correlations with each other.

          Even people from totally different cultures can take the same tests and show the same correlations.  This means that it is even possible to calculate comparable IQ scores using verbal IQ tests in two different languages.

          IQ scores themselves strongly correlate with a number of measures that logically seem related to the fuzzy concept of intelligence ranging from educational achievement to income in later life to likelihood of not being jailed.

          Twin and adoptee studies show that IQ has surprisingly strong heritability and that it is surprisingly insensitive to socioeconomic status.  On the other hand, the strong correlation to socioeconomic status among the general population indicates that IQ is a predictor of financial success, not a result of it.

          IQ scores also remain very constant throughout life - you are more likely to remain in the same IQ decile from infancy to adulthood than the same height decile.

          There are no similar results for "Emotional Intelligence" or other postulated facets of intelligence.  Either these measures correlate so closely with IQ that they are apparently just different IQ tests or they lack the robustness of the IQ measure.

          •  only if (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tookish, Linda Wood

            Only if you remain within the assumptions of IQ testing:

            Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined
            http://www.amazon.com/...

            The Mismeasure of Man
            http://www.amazon.com/...

          •  You're wrong. Just wrong. And you can say (0+ / 0-)

            what you say as many times as you'd like to say it--you are still wrong.

            This is wrong:

            Even people from totally different cultures can take the same tests and show the same correlations.  This means that it is even possible to calculate comparable IQ scores using verbal IQ tests in two different languages.

            This is misinterpreted data, and therefore wrong:

            Twin and adoptee studies show that IQ has surprisingly strong heritability and that it is surprisingly insensitive to socioeconomic status.

            This is wrong wrt adaptive intelligence:

            IQ scores also remain very constant throughout life - you are more likely to remain in the same IQ decile from infancy to adulthood than the same height decile.

            As to this:

            There are no similar results for "Emotional Intelligence" or other postulated facets of intelligence.

             I didn't say emotional intelligence. There is no quantified emotional intelligence. There is social cognition, which isn't an intelligence but is quantifiable and correlates w/ success in life far more than straight cognitive IQ tests. And you didn't mention executive function, probably b/c you don't know what it is.

            So, in sum, this is as I said, far more complex than you are apparently aware of.

            Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

            by Tookish on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 09:39:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As a smart kid who moved a lot (4+ / 0-)

        and whose family economic status changed due to divorce and remarriage, class does effect which track a kid gets placed on.

        They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Terry Pratchett

        by Toon on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 05:00:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Especially in ye olden days (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tookish, Linda Wood

          that some people seem to think were a nirvana of education.

          Certainly kids of my generation were transferred out of calculus and into woodshop because they were brown.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 10:40:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But that's definitely not the only factor. (0+ / 0-)

          Like I wrote above, my family was usually about at the median in terms of economic class in the schools I went to. My family was stable financially but never well-off, and my brothers and I were always pretty conscious growing up that our parents didn't make as much as other kids' parents... but because they were smart with their money (something I kinda inherited, I hope), they were always stable and had well more than enough to "get by," have some extras, and donate to church and charity. The biggest benefit, I think, for my own upbringing was that my parents both have college degrees, and always strongly encouraged us to read as kids—particularly me, since I was bright from a very young age.

          If I'm recalling and estimating correctly, there weren't a whole lot of folks from the top one or bottom two economic quintiles there, pretty much all from the 40-80% set and probably a lot more concentrated in the 50-60% range. Income disparity wasn't a huge issue. Further, the schools I went to growing up were largely racially homogenous... while we had a few African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, the schools were probably 90-95% white. So racial disparities really weren't an issue either.

          As I recall, the gifted/AP classes they put me in weren't all the kids from the upper end of the income scale... yeah, it probably skewed a bit on average a little higher than the median income of the school as a whole, but there were plenty of kids from average-income homes like mine there, and plenty of upper-income kids in the "normal" classes. And then there was me—yes, I won't deny that I was "privileged" by having parents who valued education and reading, and who were stable financially, but my brothers had the same conditions and didn't end up in gifted classes. (I say that not out of ego, but simply as demonstration of my point.)

          Yes, class does affect track, I have no doubt about that. Yes, we need to fix that. But it seems to me a form of Lysenkoism to take as an ideologically-based starting point the notion that all kids have equal intelligence, and then suggest that any disparities are from differing home or economic conditions. My own experience, as well as plenty of sound science, suggests that there really are some people who are more intelligent than others, just as there are some people who are taller or faster or stronger or better at music or arts or nicer or better at healing. Yes, nurture plays a role, but there's some nature there too.

          •  We need to be more conscientious of class. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tookish

            And we have been to a certain extent. Subsidized lunches and breakfasts are one piece of it. A hungry kid can not concentrate to the same extent that a full one can, and kids who are hungry most days aren't going to learn much in school no matter what their native abilities are.

            But there are other factors such as stress. Yes, kids of every class have some stress but stress levels go up as income goes down. Being aware of stress factors and helping kids cope is going to help all the kids of whatever class or ability level but should help the lower class ones the most.  

            They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Terry Pratchett

            by Toon on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 09:20:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I would never make the claim that all (0+ / 0-)

            children have the same intelligence; however, I think our understanding of intelligence is growing so quickly that it's not precise, meaningful, or true to make claims about it as fixed, easily determinable, or absolute wrt public education policy. Far more useful would be to begin w/ the way the brain is wired to learn. If we used the principles of learning based on 20 years of research in neuropsychology and applied those principles to how we teach and the learning objectives we expect, add more socially equitable public education funding (iow, $$ shouldn't depend on fancy neighborhoods, as it does here in CA), we'd have a much better overall outcome than to try to make this about the intelligence of individual students.

            As one example, a recent study which I'll link to later if I have the time and can find it, showed that when poverty was controlled for, school districts in the U.S. had higher or equivalent math scores to countries such as Japan and Sweden.

            Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

            by Tookish on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 09:49:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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