April 23, 2009

Occam's Butterknife strikes again

The LA Times runs a big article on a completely shocking discovery, one that's even more surprising than the fireman's test results in the Supreme Court's Ricci case. Oh, when will the never-ending surprises finally end?

Who could possibly have imagined back when the solons of California came up with the idea of having a high school exit exam that NAMs would fail it at a higher rate? And that girls would do worse at math than boys? That's just crazy talk!

But now, the unbelievable has happened:
High school exit exam hinders female and non-white students, study says

The mandatory test is keeping at least 22,500 California students a year from graduating who would otherwise fulfill all their requirements, researchers say. State education officials defend the exam.

By Mitchell Landsberg

California's high school exit exam is keeping disproportionate numbers of girls and non-whites from graduating, even when they are just as capable as white boys, according to a study released Tuesday. It also found that the exam, which became a graduation requirement in 2007, has "had no positive effect on student achievement."

The study by researchers at Stanford University and UC Davis concluded that girls and non-whites were probably failing the exit exam more often than expected because of what is known as "stereotype threat," a theory in social psychology that holds, essentially, that negative stereotypes can be self-fulfilling.

In this case, researcher Sean Reardon said, girls and students of color may be tripped up by the expectation that they cannot do as well as white boys.

Reardon said there was no other apparent reason why girls and non-whites fail the exam more often than white boys, who are their equals in other, lower-stress academic assessments.

Yup, no apparent reason whatsoever. I'm drawing a complete blank.
Reardon, an associate professor of education at Stanford, urged the state Department of Education to consider either scrapping the exit exam -- one of the reforms for which state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has fought the hardest -- or looking at ways of intervening to help students perform optimally. Reardon said the exam is keeping as many as 22,500 students a year from graduating who would otherwise fulfill all their requirements.

Stanford has a School of Education? Who knew? Wouldn't it be fun to hear what Stanford's Electrical Engineering Department professors say in private about the quality of their colleagues in the Education Department?
"No one can be happy with these results," Reardon said. "The exit exam isn't working as it was intended."

O'Connell issued a statement containing measured praise of the report but defending the exam, saying it "plays an important role in our work to ensure that a high school diploma has meaning." Other officials in the Education Department reacted skeptically to the study, sharply rejecting its assertion that the test has no positive effect on learning.

"I'm not ready to agree with that at all," said Deb Sigman, deputy superintendent for assessment and accountability. The researchers, she said, "don't look at grades, they don't look at classroom observation or interviews with children."

But Russell Rumberger, a professor of education at UC Santa Barbara who directs the California Dropout Research Project, called the study "very sophisticated" and said policymakers need to take heed of its conclusions and perhaps consider an alternative test.

Because an alternative test will no doubt show that blacks and Hispanics are just as smart as whites. Obviously, there is some flukish flaw in this single test, just like the test in the Ricci case produced never-seen-before results.
State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) issued a statement saying that the research "reinforces the concerns that many of us have had about the exit exam from its inception." She said the results "must make us all pause and take stock of whether the exam could be fixed or is fatally flawed."

"Fixed" is the right word for what Speaker Bass wants. Fixed like the 1919 World Series.
The exit exam, which students can take multiple times beginning in their sophomore year, includes math and English tests, with the math aligned to eighth-grade standards and English to 10th-grade standards. It has been criticized both for being too easy and for unfairly denying a diploma to students who otherwise might graduate.

The study, funded by the private, nonprofit James Irvine Foundation, is based on analysis of data from four large California school districts, those in Fresno, Long Beach, San Diego and San Francisco. Reardon said the results were very similar for all four districts, suggesting that the conclusions had broad application for all California schools.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the exam was toughest on students in the bottom quarter of their class, based on state standardized test scores. That was also where the study found the strongest inequality of results.

"Graduation rates declined by 15 to 19 percentage points for low-achieving black, Hispanic and Asian students when the exit exam was implemented, and declined only one percentage point . . . for similar white students," the study said. Low-achieving girls had a 19 percentage-point drop in their graduation rate, compared with a decrease of 12 percentage points for boys.

Reardon said he initially was skeptical of the "stereotype threat" effect, but that it has been well-established by social psychologists and appears to apply to the test disparities.

mitchell.landsberg @latimes.com

"Protective stupidity" is still "stupidity."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

63 comments:

Tanstaafl said...

"stereotype threat" = "if you dare generalize based on what's happening here we'll make sure something bad happens to you"

Anonymous said...

"Reardon, an associate professor of education at Stanford"

Our arrogant, ignorant and ideological elites busily destroying the last vestiges of higher standards. Once the country is too dumbed down to live in, these elites seek out another victim country to move to and start all over again. They will never see any connect. People like Charlize Theron move away from South Africa, the rape capital, and then start campaigns against rape, all the while adoring Mandela and kissing his feet. The elites practice radical non-blinking moral opportunism and then mostly get irritated enough by the bad fallout to move to another place which is still functioning, only to repeat the cycle.

AMac said...

> Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the exam was toughest on students in the bottom quarter of their class, based on state standardized test scores. That was also where the study found the strongest inequality of results.Well, we've already established that words have no meaning, and concepts exist only in some wholly relativistic aether.

Therefore, I take grave offense at reporter Landsberg's unjustified slur about students in the so-called "bottom quarter" being somehow weaker or less-able than those getting A's in honors classes.

Landsberg is also due Two Minutes of attention for mentioning the hatefact about "standardized test" results correlating with real-world outcomes. Obviously, they do not, because they cannot, except when they do.

RobertHume said...

The whites in the bottom quartile are, apparently, fairly bright; and the test reveals this. The test has identified the true underachievers; they should be given extra help to reach their full potential. :)

Reminds me of an article in today's Washington Post showing that only 75% of residents in a town in far SW Virginia (almost certainly all white)are HS graduates. Appalachia is probably the US's most underdeveloped human resource and billions of scholarship dollars directed there would pay off handsomely. Don't hold your breath.

David said...

"it has been well-established by social psychologists"

There's the essential problem. How were these "social psychologists" trained and who are they? Marxists, feminists, Culture of Critique'ers, egalitarians.

To destroy society, they always appeal to implicitly Christian fairness.

"More of group x than group y is locked in prison. That's unfair."

"More of group x than group y failed the firefighter test. That's unfair."

"More of the majority than the minority were graduated. Unfair."

"Fewer girls than boys make the football team. Unfair."

However, fairness flies out the window when group x is given any power. For example, even in many traditionally non-feminine jobs most employees are now female (as a female commenter here admitted recently, and as all of us can see with our own eyes). Men, try to get a job from a female employer versus from a male employer. (I am not the commenter t99.)

Fairness can have two different meanings:

1. According to merit;
2. According to equality.

Guess which is the traditional American meaning?

Guess which the "social psychologists" push?

I used to think this corruption came from an army of losers with mistaken ideas. But the corruption is too blatant for their ideas to be merely mistaken. I concede that the old rank-and-file v. leadership divide exists; but all are corrupt.

If a committed leadership wished explicitly to destroy our culture, nation, and people without provoking a bloody revolution, would the results look any different?

All their "studies by social psychologists" are just transparent rationalizations for what they want. The studies have been exploded again and again.

The real conflict is a Culture War. The people who want merit and the good, versus those who want equality and destruction. All the rest is blah.

It may come to a shooting war, like the War Between the States.

Mr. Anon said...

"California's high school exit exam is keeping disproportionate numbers of girls and non-whites from graduating, even when they are just as capable as white boys."

"Even when they are just as capable as white boys"? How would that be assessed other than by testing? And if not tested for, how would it be known other than just taking it to be axiomatic?

"Low-achieving girls had a 19 percentage-point drop in their graduation rate, compared with a decrease of 12 percentage points for boys."

Is that true for white girls? Do math exams pitched at 8th-grade level (pre-algebra) really filter out so many. I suspect this "women and minorities" tack is simply an attempt to make white women feel upset so that they'll take the side of black and hispanic minorities. As a poster in a previous thread pointed out, the "women and minorities" line is intended to divide the white majority by inducing women to take sides against white men.

"Reardon said he initially was skeptical of the "stereotype threat" effect, but that it has been well-established by social psychologists and appears to apply to the test disparities."

Really? How skeptical? And how well established among psychologists is stereo-type threat? As well established as psycho-analysis once was among psychiatrists? (i.e., is it just a well-established, widely-believed, and yet completely false theory?).

jb said...

"The study actually found that girls and non-whites fail the exam more than those white boys who are their equals in other assessments."

In the interest of scientific inquiry, wouldn't it make sense to look at whether the "other assessments" could be at fault?

Some observations:
1) boys consistently show less enthusiasm for busy work/homework/neatness than girls [often attributed to the female desire to please]. One would assume that "other assessments" may reflect this giving a skewed picture of ability.

2] Teachers may penalize boys for acting like boys

3] In the Ricci case commentary, I have seen no data about the amount of time spent studying [other than Ricci's efforts]of those who were successful versus those who were not.

4] I am always skeptical when I hear that straight A students do not perform well on a test due to anxiety, particularly after consistently getting As on tests for their entire academic career. I have long suspected that the As they have gotten in the past are more a reflection of their willingness to study lots more hours than their peers. Further, teachers often give tests that do not test the ability to think as much as to memorize the material in a text book. Ergo, when it comes time to take a test that cannot be studied for, these students crater.

5] Lastly, studies increasingly show that black students have the highest self-esteem of all groups [contrary to media mythology] with Asian students having the lowest. Perhaps the need to actually work hard stems from the students' view of themselves.

6] If one has been raised in an evironment in which failures have been attributed to others [racism], perhaps one does not realize what it actually takes to suceed. The notion that white success is merely due to privilege has consequences.


just some thoughts......

Anonymous said...

"The exit exam isn't working as it was intended."

Shades of "The Five Year Plan isn't working as intended."

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Graduation rates declined by 15 to 19 percentage points for low-achieving black, Hispanic and Asian students when the exit exam was implemented, and declined only one percentage point . . . for similar white students," the study said.So they separated out the "low-achieving" students from all the rest, then studied them? So what were the overall pass/fail rates on the tests for each group, and what were their average scores - or does the article tiptoe around that basic data? It sounds to me like a way to avoid reporting the fact that Asians did better than whites, because that piece of data just wouldn't fit into the whole "whitey is out to detsroy us" meme.

Fernandinande said...

Here
(http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/evaluations.asp)

is the "Independent Evaluation of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)."
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/documents/cahsee08evalrpt.pdf

Page 58:

Table 3.11. Estimated Number and Percent of Students in the Class of 2008
Passing Both Parts of the CAHSEE Through May 2008
[I just included % passed, cum. total for 2007, 2008]

Group %Passed
All Students 90.4%
Females 91.8%
Males 89.0%
Amerindian* 89.2%
Asian 95.7%
Meztizo* 86.2%
Black 80.5%
White 96.0%
Poor* 85.5%
English Learner[sic] 73.5%
Stupid* 54.5%

*I replaced their NewSpeak terms with more correct terms.

It doesn't quite match the statements in the LaTrine article, does it?

silly girl said...

I tell my students, education is about learning not about getting a piece of paper that says you know something.

A teacher told me of a student who failed his class. The parents wanted him to change the grade. He was retiring and fed up with the school game. So, he asked the parents what grade he would like them to write down, A, B, C ? He told them he could write any grade they wanted and but it wouldn't change the fact that she didn't know anything.

You can pass kids through the education system at any rate you please. However, you can't make them demonstrate knowledge and skills they don't posses.

Anonymous said...

This is what we teachers expected would happen eventually. Anyone looking at the exit exam would be shocked by how fair it is. That's not to say all the questions are easy, just that it doesn't take a great score to pass it. Furthermore, the test is given over and over for those who fail it.

From its inception, the schools, understanding their own reputations were at stake (unfairly so and fairly so), knew that there'd be individual parents, as well as organized groups, who'd claim the test was unfair. This is post-1960s America, after all. Everything is unfair, isn't it? The individual is responsible for nothing. Therein lies one of the biggest reasons for the deterioration of the school as an institution.

That is it college profs who claim this lunacy makes me want to punch them out. They are idiots who wish to protect their jobs and who must, after all, produce something to justify their existence. They know nothing of a real school, of a real classroom.

I can't tell you how much tutoring is offered to students at risk, but the same circumstances which cause these students to do poorly from the moment they enter the school system are the same circumstances which lead to their failing the exit exam.

Is it true that some kids get passing grades in classes like algebra, then fail the math portion of the test? Yes, it is. There are indeed teachers who are much too easy on kids and who give the gift "D" which enables the kid to get a diploma but which indicates he is not prepared to pass the exit exam. I hate that that happens, but I can tell you some reasons why it happens.

In untold high schools in CA, students enter high school not knowing basic arithmetic--they don't know their multiplication tables(I am dead serious), can't multiply or divide fractions, can't "do" percent (or even understand the concept of percent). The same is true with language and reading. They can't write a grammatical sentence much less a coherent, unified paragraph so of course they can't produce what could be termed an essay. Why should this shock us when many read at the 4th, 5th, 6th grade levels?

Why is this so? Has the quality of educators deteriorated in the last twenty years? Yes. Why? Aside from the rotten pay, let me tell you: every single attempt to make Johnny and his parents responsible for anything regarding Johnny's education has been blocked. If Johnny is not at school 2 or 3 days out of 5 each week from the primary grades on, well then, we must "find out why" so that we can help him and his parent(s) get him to school. We are to understand that his "circumstances" are to blame. His lack of achievement is secondary to his other problems and those of his family. Everyone tells us so, right? We must, at all costs, protect Johnny's self-esteem.

So yes, everyone in the system is expected to be social workers even though that's not what we are trained to do --not that a social worker could change anything anyway. So, if Johnny doesn't leave the second grade, a crucial year, having learned the basics of that year's curriculum, the pressure is applied to the teacher, and that failing, to the principal, to pass him to the third grade if the parents demand it, and many do. Retention is a thing of the past in most schools no matter the recommendations of the teacher. The argument is always, "What will it change except to make Johnny feel bad about himself?"

You know what? In many cases holding Johnny back will indeed change nothing because his attendance patterns will not change.

By the time kids in CA reach high school, they've grown accustomed to moving from one grade to the next with little or no achievement. Not until 9th grade do "grades matter" one hears parents and kids say all the time.
It's as if they believe that suddenly upon entering his freshman year, a kid who is grade levels behind will magically be able to read and make sense of a high school-appropriate novel or selections from a lit text, will be able to read and follow the directions for a biology lab, will be able to understand the concept of an unknown in algebra, will have the discipline necessary to do homework.

Oh, I can't tell you what a mess it is, and I can't tell you how utterly helpless the average classroom educator feels.

Look at all the pap written about education. Even district admins and school admins spew the politically correct "the school is ultimately responsible for the child learning" nonsense. Never do they ever look at the camera or at the reporter and bluntly say, "You know, the kid has responsibility for his learning."

The left wants to throw money at the problem. What else is new? The right thinks charter schools are the answer. What else is new? Actually, both are wrong.

To the left, I say, "Give me a decent text, a chalkboard, some chalk, and 35 kids who have some semblance of respect for authority and some expectation that there are rules that will be enforced not just in the classroom but outside it, and I'll give you a kid who learns what he ought to learn in my class.

To the right I'd say, "Charter schools? Vouchers? If you want, yes, go right ahead. However, wouldn't it make more sense to allow the public schools to have basically the same rules that charter schools are allowed? How about demanding that from the legislators? How about letting judges who've made silly decsions about how we are allowed to keep order in the schools know about your displeasure with their judicial offerings?"

We are facing something to which we really don't know the answer because we've not had to face it before. Is there a school system that can do either an adequate or good job educating the masses when there exists no family structure that supports learning? When there exists no family structure that holds the child accountable?

I don't see it happening. The schools are just a microcosm of what is dysfunctional in the family units and in the politics of America today.

rob said...

If stereotype threat were significant, we could eliminate simply by not collecting or releasing performance data by race.

I wonder if the left wants to do that. Outside the tiny, uninfluential hbd community, the people most concerned with performance by race are not conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your diligence on this important, radioactive topic that is so thickly shrouded in willful ignorance.

I've found that all but the most committed leftist/social engineer type knows this is a charade.

The knowing shrug. The eyeroll...

What I find more interesting is the way some people actually believe it is a necessary charade, or are afraid of what would happen if the charade were abruptly terminated.

A good friend of mine - conservative-ish - actually said he believes such achievement obfuscation is necessary to avoid riots.

Anonymous said...

Mismatch and Affirmative Action

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous isn't it?


We can admit West Africans can run faster and jump higher on average than other peoples.


We can admit that Kenyans and some obscure group of highland Mexicans can distance-run better than other people.


We can admit that Inuits can bear the cold better than other people.


We can admit that Sherpas can deal with altitude better than other people.



We can admit that Samoans tend to be bigger than most people.


We can admit that Danes tend to be taller than most people.


We can admit that the Irish have red hair more often than most people.


We can admit that Asians have black hair (and less body hair) than most people.


We can admit that Norwegians have blonde hair and blue eyes more often than most people.



We cannot admit however, that Jews, Asians, and Europeans (especially northern Europeans for dual reasons) tend to be a little more intellectually gifted and mathematically astute with less work at it than other people, with greater future-time-orientation (the biggie in my opinion, because it guarantees that you think things out). That would be racist.
Its funny the "racial thing" that is considered so "racist" is something that you cannot see with your eyes when you look at somebody isn't it?

I mean hell, we could go into who has the biggest and tightest and most hygenical and odorless genitalia here, and I could see some people getting a little uptight about that, but admitting that little Korean guy had to study less than me to pass College Algebra (I still made an "A", I just had to work for it) doesn't bother me all that much.


sorry for the rant......m

kerdasi amaq said...

I can understand why teachers are worried, bad results made them look bad, and would call their competence into question, since they are competent(and have the certificates to prove it) the exam has to go.

Can you imagine the consequences if the exam were correct, they would have to start teaching for real! the horror, the horror.

Anonymous said...

It's a mystery, Steven. A conundrum, a paradox. Please shut your impertinent yap and leave the experts to their work.

Seriously though, I love this new "social psychology" theory: girls and NAMs score lower because they're girls and NAMs. Groundbreaking stuff.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't it be fun to hear what Stanford's Electrical Engineering Department professors say in private about the quality of their colleagues in the Education Department?"

Mr. Sailer, you need to stop cracking me up while I'm in the library.

It's the law library - I wonder what the engineering department here thinks about us? Maybe I don't want to know ;_;

poolside said...

At my 7th-grade daughter's track meet, watching the black kids sail past the white girls in event after event, I remarked out loud that it was clear our school needed additional funds and equipment to improve our track program.

If only we put more money into track,I said to anyone listening,we would improve our running times and win more races.

In fact, I said,we needed a significant infusion of cash to be able to overcome the years of neglect our track program was obviously suffering from. Without that investment, our white kids would continue to underperform their black peers no matter how hard they worked.

It took a minute or two but eventually the other white parents around me caught on to my message, and they all starting laughing and agreeing, with a wink.

Then my wife elbowed me sharply in the ribs and I had to shut up.

Anonymous said...

The stereotype threat defense is inherently ludicrous, but it's especially hilarious when it comes to male v. female achievement in math, cause most high schoolers haven't the faintest idea that males dominate at the high ends in math. This will be especially true of the mediocrities, as they won't be in the high end classes to see who really is the best. Indeed, the opposite will happen, as in the lower level classes it will still be clear who's screwing off and not doing their work, and these will be overwhelmingly male.

Also, I gotta second the idea that it is hilarious to assume that "other assesments" are more accurate than tests, despite being performed by thousands of individuals and often w/o any objective basis. Sure, Billy does better on the final test, but Sally always did her homework, always showed up on time and always listened oh so attentively. And isn't that what math is all about? (By the way, I don't think considering these sorts of things on grading is a bad thing. Kids, boys especially, need to learn to behave properly and follow a schedule. But don't confuse this with raw ability.)

testing99 said...

Girls and women need little persuasion to side against Straight White Males.

Straight White Males are formidable competitors in the workplace, and academia, and so women would want them gone and replaced by other groups more amenable. Women also find during peak attractive years Straight White Males the bearer of unwanted attention, since most Straight White Men are not Alpha-dominant. When women age out of attractiveness, they resent being invisible to Straight White Men and the latter's attention to younger women.

Since most Women are now single (2007 Census Bureau Report) there is no reason to take into account a husband's well-being for family income. Getting rid of Joe Average also helps women find out who is "Alpha-dominant" and who is not, by definition the only Straight White Men left in the workplace and such will be assumed dominant. Or academia, same thing.

This is why the charades and pretend-schemes. Steve does not see that most Straight White Women have powerful short-term self interested reasons to support Affirmative Action and pretend-schemes about reality as long as they remove most Straight White Men from being competitors and from their social circles. There is nothing a woman despises more than a competitive threat "beta" guy both lusting after her and a workplace rival.

Tab Numlock said...

But aren't 60% of college students female? Why are we still worried about them?

White boys usually learn more than their grades would indicate. I rarely turned in homework so my grades weren't great but still got 99 percentiles on the finals and 1500 on the SAT.

Tab Numlock said...

Also, white boys are more clever about taking tests. On a timed test, I would always set my watch's minute hand on twelve. I knew a dumb answer when I saw one and didn't waste time on question I didn't know.

Then there's the matter of confidence in the face of a challenge. Lots of white boys actually enjoy testing themselves.

Shall we penalize white boys for these racial and gender traits? Maybe we could distract them with loud noises and make them wear mittens.

Argent Paladin said...

Ah, Stereotype threat!! That's why I didn't make the Stanford Basketball team! It had nothing to do with the fact that I am 6' 1", Asian, overweight and not particularly agile. Nope, I must have sabotaged myself because I internalized all those anti-Asian stereotypes! If only Yao Ming had been playing when I was a boy. I'd be the center for the Lakers now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what they can do is rather than pick the top candidates they can pick from somewhere in the middle. They could claim that the top picks are over qualified and would be likely to move on to better paying jobs in the near future. Better to get someone where the Peter Principle applies full force.

SKT said...

"But aren't 60% of college students female? Why are we still worried about them?

White boys usually learn more than their grades would indicate. I rarely turned in homework so my grades weren't great but still got 99 percentiles on the finals and 1500 on the SAT."

The other thing is that it's not the same to educate a female as it is to educate a male. Of course, many women at colleges study worthless, non-career oriented things like English and Art History.

But let's control for that. I'm in the medical field. 50% of today's medical candidates are women. This is going to create a huge doctor shortage in the future. Many practicing women doctors work 3-4 half days a week, compared to a typical male doctor whose working about 60 hours. If you go to web sites for medical residencies, check out the alumni. Often times you'll read "Housewife in Dallas, TX". Great. Someone who was educated for 4 years in college, 4 years in medical school, 4 years in residency, and now stays at home for a living! If that spot had gone to male, he might actually be contributing something now.

Our society is blowing an enormous amount of resources on educating females. I'm not saying we should be like the Saudis and just lock them up at home all day, but if I had daughters in the future I wouldn't encourage them to get graduates degrees and be really career oriented... unless they were just really ugly and couldn't get a husband or something.

David Davenport said...

Steve'

Get a load of this:

Author Jared Diamond sued for libel


Email this Story

Apr 22, 4:24 PM (ET)

By SAMUEL MAULL


NEW YORK (AP) - Two New Guinea tribesmen have filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit claiming Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond wrote a New Yorker magazine article that falsely accused them of murder and other crimes.

Henep Isum Mandingo and Hup Daniel Wemp say in a single-page filing in Manhattan's state Supreme Court that Diamond's article published April 21, 2008, accused them "of serious criminal activity ... including murder."

The article was titled, "Vengeance Is Ours: What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even?"

The New Yorker spokeswoman Alexa Cassanos said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. She added: "We stand by our story; we stand by Jared Diamond."

An article summary on The New Yorker's Web site says Diamond describes feuds and vengeance killings among tribes in the New Guinea highlands. In particular, he tells of a man who felt a duty to avenge an uncle's slaying by a neighboring clan.

The article says the tribesman is Daniel Wemp of the Handa clan. He was about 22 when his uncle Soll was killed in 1992 fighting the Ombal clan.

...


Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 book "Guns, Germs, and Steel." He is also the author of 2005's "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed."
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090422/D97NNPMO0.html

Anonymous said...

"A good friend of mine - conservative-ish - actually said he believes such achievement obfuscation is necessary to avoid riots."

I hear that sometimes. And it is working so well, we never have riots! Truth is, we can't afford to pay off the malcontents anymore(not that it prevented riots anyway). The usual suspects think they can and will sure as hell try, but the well is going dry pretty quickly. Kellerman of Freddie Mac offed himself as I'm pretty sure he saw the writing on the wall. Chrysler is about to go bankrupt, GM will follow shortly. Taxes will be raised big time and that still won't matter. People had better be prepared for riots, we'll get them anyway...

monkeyboy said...

see this yet?
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x58z2a_justice-stress-official-video_music

Lawful Neutral said...

"Fixed like the 1919 World Series."

Priceless, Steve! You've brought a smile to my face after a long day in the salt mines.

Anonymous said...

Peter Schiff has predicted that one of the results of our coming economic correction is that massive numbers of American univerisities will close their doors, battered by both dwindling endowments and fewer non college-worthy students being able to get loans.

I find this exciting, since far fewer young people will go into the pseudoscience that the American educational elite has become, and many of these skill-less "professors" will have to work on the free market for once.

Most won't last.

Grumpy Old Man said...

"Stereotype threat" reminds me of the Ptolemaic epicycles, used to describe the seemingly erratic orbits of planets going around the earth. The simpler, more elegant hypothesis was that they, and the earth, went around the sun.

Culture and genetics, in some proportion subject to debate, play a big role in determining academic ability when groups are compared.

No reason to get one's knickers in a twist about it. No reason to deny opportunities to the academically (or musically, artistically, athletically) gifted from any group.

Willful ignorance powered by wishful thinking is annoying and expensive, however.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

Yes, SKT, you note a phenomenon that has been willfully ignored. Women who take up spots in professional schools and do little with their degrees after graduating.
I'm a lawyer. Most, and I mean most, of the female lawyers I have worked with (lesbians excepted)have either quit, or gone part-time,within a decade of passing the bar exam. Today, more than half of all law students are female. It's good thing that we have too many lawyers, because we are producing fewer of them than we're educating.
Now, doctors, that's another matter.

David said...

"Maybe we could distract them with loud noises"

Turn up the hip-hop. Don't allow anyone to have a peaceful moment.

Black Sea said...

Argent Paladin sort of beat me to it, but I was going to claim "stereotype threat" as the reason I was never particularly good (read "bad") at basketball. I'm white and under 6' tall.

Grading, to a large extent, takes into consideration factors such as turning in the assignment on time, meeting the required page length, staying in your seat in class, responding to questions, demonstrating an enthusiastic attitude toward the subject material and a cooperative attitude toward the teacher . . . and I'm talking about university grading here. One can only imagine what it's like in high school.

Anonymous said...

The way to defend these tests is by keeping anonymous stats of the students' sexual orientation. Then when the results show that homosexuals do better than heteros, accuse those who want to abolish the tests of homophobia.

Anonymous said...

Low-achieving Asians = Hmong, Cambodians, ethnic Vietnamese, maybe Filipinos.

Big Bill said...

"The schools are just a microcosm of what is dysfunctional in the family units and in the politics of America today."

Ma'am, I feel your pain. It isn't "America", though. White schools in the Midwest still teach children. Small white towns across this country still turn out admirable, polite, well-educated young men and women, just like California did back in 1965.

I wish some California would just turn to the camera one day and say "Oaxacans have had over 500 years to learn Spanish and still cannot speak it. How on earth do you expect us to turn them into English-speaking Anglo Americans with 5 years of schooling?"

hadley said...

@anon: "Peter Schiff has predicted that one of the results of our coming economic correction is that massive numbers of American universities will close their doors."

I disagree. They will go international. They are already opening branches all over th world to lure more students.

The Ivy League was created by white Christians to provide a Christian education for themselves and the Indians. They are now the property of the Professors and educate Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews.

White Christians are a small fraction of their student body, and they will dump them as soon as they are so poor they cannot pay up.

Likewise the major state universities. UW-Madison in 40 years will be independent of the state of Wisconsin and will educate a predominately foreign student body.

The "Wisconsin Idea" of a university dedicated to the state and the people is a peculiarly German Christian notion that is pretty much a nostagic anachronism.

Do you realize how much money it takes to lure a Jewish, Japanese, Indian or Chinese Superstar Academic? A heckuva lot more than a farmboy from Mauston, WI can afford to pay in tuition!

Anonymous said...

Poolside,

Your analogy is appreciated, but I have to add that in the high school in which I taught, the lack of achievement among whites is just as disturbing. Their failure rate is not as high as that of non-Asian minorites, but it's much, much higher than it should be.

Many of these failures are the direct result of cavalier attitudes about school being passed from parent to child. Parents aren't what they used to be.

If one looks at the history of most of these kids, one sees in their cum files a history of absenteeism that began in the primary grades. Another critical period is junior high where we lose many of them to drugs and other "distractions."

A lot of the remaining failures are non-native English speakers.

A lot of social problems in a state=a lot of social and educational problems in a school sytem. Nothing too hard to figure out here.

Anonymous said...

"but admitting that little Korean guy had to study less than me to pass College Algebra (I still made an "A", I just had to work for it) doesn't bother me all that much."

Anyone who has been in a science or engineering program will tell you that the Asians studied much, much more than the whites for the same grades.

Takahata Y said...

"Anyone who has been in a science or engineering program will tell you that the Asians studied much, much more than the whites for the same grades."

Yet somehow their proportions in the honor rolls and scholarships are far, far greater, considering they supposedly have the "same grades".

By the way, "Asians" do not uniformly have high grades. Look up some SAT scores sometime by David Hu. Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Indians are academically successful in the U.S. But Vietnamese, Filipino, Cambodian, Hmong, Malay, range from average to mediocre.

Roger Chaillet said...

This is not ridiculous.

There's too much money and power at stake.

That, and the radical egalitarians wouldn't be able to finish the cultural revolution begun in the 50s.

All cultures are the same.

Two adult males can "marry."

All races have the exact same talents equally distributed. Any evidence to the contrary is prima facie evidence of "racism," and must be dealt with by instituting programs to "remediate past injustices." IE, there's an elusive "level playing field" out there just waiting to be discovered.

IQ tests are biased because they reflect the hegemony of the white race. The only way to eliminate this bias is to destroy the white race.

Should I go on?

Oh yeah, Islam is the Religion of Peace (TM).

We share much in common with Mexican culture.

Wait.

Those last two were spoken by George Bush during a brief moment of sobriety.

Silly me.

I conflated George Bush with a revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

Big Bill said to me,

"Ma'am, I feel your pain. It isn't "America", though. White schools in the Midwest still teach children. Small white towns across this country still turn out admirable, polite, well-educated young men and women, just like California did back in 1965."

Bill, you are right, to a degree. About a decade ago, our transfer kids from Texas and from some Midwestern states like Iowa offered a stark contrast to our students. However, even that is changing, we can see.

CA is infectious, do you understand? Whatever is good about us (HELP--I am struggling to identify what it is that remains that is good) and whatever is bad about us eventually finds its way to other places. We are a highly virulent contagion.

Aw, I'll make a food analogy: everyone knows we are bad for them, but like lots of pepperoni and cheese on a pizza, they just can't resist.

Anonymous from Canada said...

"The elites practice radical non-blinking moral opportunism and then mostly get irritated enough by the bad fallout to move to another place which is still functioning..."------------------------------
I'm afraid the world is going to run out of places that are still functioning, because of immigration from developing countries to first world countries, and also the large size of families amongst immigrants from certain countries.

What worries me about the immigrants isn't their race or IQ, but that some of them are bringing with them the corrupt ethical practices that are the norm in their countries of origin. For example in the Vancouver area there have been cases where trucks, vans and drivers have fraudulantly passed inspections or tests, then went on to cause serious accidents. Corruption will bring a country down faster than almost anything else.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008

Anonymous from Canada said...

I think the differences between males and females in math ability are only really evident if you look on the very upper fringes of ability. Look at the names of the students who do well on the Putnam exam--they are almost all male.

I teach math at the college level and I don't notice any systematic difference in ability between the genders at the first year level.

The students of African decent that I have had in my classes have (in most cases) come directly from Africa. I've noticed that females from Africa are usually much more successful than the males. I'm guessing this might be because the girls generally have to be really bright to have the opportunity to come to Canada to study, while perhaps the males only need a rich father. Mind you, the place I teach is in a small town and not a big name university.

Anonymous said...

"The study actually found that girls and non-whites fail the exam more than those white boys who are their equals in other assessments."

I heard Reardon on a SF radio station today. He said the reason for concluding it was stereotype threat is because the white boys in question do just as poorly as the NAMs and white girls on the CA STAR tests ("the other assessments"). But what my 4 kids explained to me (3 girls) is that "everyone" knows most boys in HS blow off these tests because they know "they don't count" (except to rank the school against other CA schools). However the white boys know the HS exit exams DO count so they perform up to their abilities and therefore the difference in scores emerge.

Anonymous said...

Rene Descartes' famous dictum:
"I think, therefore I am.".
The dictum of the PC American lefties':
"I think, therefore it is".

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous from Canada

Psychoactive substances which produce positive effects in small, therapeutic doses (e.g. caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol), can have extremely unwelcome effects if the maximum therapeutic doses are exceeded.

Androgens, in particular testosterone, have psychoactive effects. Adolescent male mammals of many species, including Homo sapiens sapiens, exhibit impulsive and aggressive behaviour and impaired concentration when under the influence of high levels of testosterone.

IIRC, our host, Mr. Sailer, noted a study showing testosterone levels some 18% higher in men of West African ancestry than testosterone levels in men of European ancestry. Assuming a similar difference exists in adolescents, I'd wager that boys and very young men with that much circulating testosterone would be highly distractible, particularly when sharing co-educational classrooms with pretty girls.

At higher levels, testosterone may continue to have beneficial physical effects (athleticism), while simultaneously having cognitive and psychological effects which may be unwelcome when trying to study mathematics.

In short, high testosterone levels in a co-educational environment may be why you're seeing the young men from Africa struggle to keep up with the young women from Africa.

My subjective impression is that young people from Africa do not reject and stigmatize studiousness the way underclass young people in the U.S.A. and U.K. do, so you probably are working with a population of students who are motivated and who want to learn.

Richard Hoste said...

T99,

As a long time reader of your rant (and it's always the same rant), can I ask you, what do you think is the thought process of single white women who are out to get the single white male? Does a girl go to the bar, get hit on by a bunch of annoying losers, watch the news the next morning and see what happened in the Ricci case and say "This'll weed out the betas!"?

Anonymous said...

Does a girl go to the bar, get hit on by a bunch of annoying losers, watch the news the next morning and see what happened in the Ricci case and say "This'll weed out the betas!"?

Furthermore if they are as a group capable of thinking that through. Wouldnt they see that AA will be deployed against them in turn by their black and brown sisters.

Anonymous said...

"Do you realize how much money it takes to lure a Jewish, Japanese, Indian or Chinese Superstar Academic?"

A lot, I'm sure. But how come they MUST be lured? Why MUST they be educated in Wisconsin, of all places in the world? Why can't they be educated in Israel, Japan, India and China? Why are those countries incapable of providing world-class universities for their homegrown superstars?

As far as the farmboys go, are you aware that Storey Musgrave, the astronaut who flew all 5 shuttles and fixed the Hubble Telescope, was, in fact, a farmboy? Who grew up wanting to fix tractors? He once said, well, fixing the Hubble wasn't quite the same as fixing tractors, but pretty good, I guess.

The superstar farmboys are out there. U of Wisconsin OUGHT to be devoted to finding them and educating them. Being's how the people who paid taxes to build U of Wisconsin expected that that is exactly what U Wisconsin would do -- not go gallivanting around the world looking for Chinese superstars to woo at vast expense.

Truthiest said...

T99 is right! We need to convert to Islam and wage jihad! Only then will we be able to put those snooty skanks in their place and finally get some. Allahu akbar!

David Davenport said...

Likewise the major state universities. UW-Madison in 40 years will be independent of the state of Wisconsin and will educate a predominately foreign student body.But will Wisconsin taxpayers still be paying for this independent UW-Madison? If not, how will UW-Mad. be supported? Are the Chinese, Muslims, etc. going to finance the U. if their children are no longer getting US taxpayer subsidized assistantships there? I doubt it.

Foreigners don’t choose Wisconsin universities because of the dee-lightful climate and local kulchur. Diminished US taxpayer subsidies = diminished foreigner interest in attending UW-wherever.

The "Wisconsin Idea" of a university dedicated to the state and the people is a peculiarly German Christian notion that is pretty much a nostagic anachronism. People said that about the founding of modern Israel prior to 1948.

Do you realize how much money it takes to lure a Jewish, Japanese, Indian or Chinese Superstar Academic? A heckuva lot more than a farmboy from Mauston, WI can afford to pay in tuition!(a) As if there’s not enough regional intellectual talent available;

(b) The cost of college in the US is going to have to deflate – a whole ‘nother topic.

ben tillman said...

Lots of good thoughts there, JB.

Anonymous from Canada said...

"Why MUST they be educated in Wisconsin, of all places in the world? Why can't they be educated in Israel, Japan, India and China? Why are those countries incapable of providing world-class universities for their homegrown superstars?"

---------------------
My theory is that in many places in the world the universities are corrupt and there is widespread cheating, selling of grades, degrees, etc. This devalues the degrees for everyone. These things don't happen (or only rarely) in most of western Europe and the places colonized and settled by people from western Europe (Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand). Japan is not very corrupt--an exception. Most of the rest of the world is very very corrupt. Look at this map:
http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008

So what Wisconsin has, and what the small university in western Canada that I work at has, is integrity. The professors don't take bribes. We don't sell degrees. I think this is what makes degrees Wisconsin, etc, worth more than degrees from, say, China.

We do every thing we can to prevent cheating. In many parts of the world cheating and bribing professors is the norm. China is particularly bad for this. And Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. The educational systems in these places have fallen on hard times.

jb said...

Derbyshire had an interesting piece on NRO about Ricci. Apparently, the search for the perfect test - that would be one that makes all groups look good while still exhibiting a reasonable performance spread - has been a dismal failure.

http://tinyurl.com/cf4wwk

Also, discriminations.us had some great commentary on Ricci.

http://tinyurl.com/c73juc

jb said...

Random thoughts...

1] After spending decades overseas, my exposure to a diverse environment - yes, the "m" word - consisted of superb ethnic food, enhanced cultural exposure, highly competitive schools for my kids,international travel, stimulating conversations with well-educated folks from around the world, and yadayadayada.

Never once did I kid myself that multiculturalism would be experienced the same way by those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale.

Are our elitists so obtuse that they cannot begin to understand why a family making $50,000 might not find it wonderful to have an influx of "other"?

2] There is a level of arrogance among liberals that leaves me breathless. For some reason, they assume that all dialogues are about who loves the poor down-trodden the most, rather than who has the most effective problem-solving approach. For a group that prides itself on being high-context, they are often clueless about the context of their own conversations.

3] Commentary on race is virtually always responsive in nature. Generally, the dynamic involves a liberal insisting that racism is at the root of a disparity. When someone responds to the often hyperbolic statement, they are condemned for being obsessed with race.

At the end of the day, it is the liberal fixation on race and disparities - along with their expensive boondoggle solutions - that keep the issue boiling in the public consciousness.

4] When commenting on "black" blogs, I frequently see the comment; "Why don't you ever mention "trailer-trash crackers"? Setting aside the perjorative nature of the term, the reality is that dysfunctional whites are seldom brought up because NO ONE - I repeat NO ONE - is defending this group unilaterally.

This makes me wonder whether liberal bloggers understand that the dialogue is with THEM, in response to THEIR comments.

none of the above said...

The interesting and unsettling thing about this article is that it lets you see all kinds of psychological mechanisms people use to avoid unpalatable truths. The people analyzing the data and discussing it are, mostly, very smart people. They're mostly not evil people, or people who intend to be dishonest. And yet, they manage to just mentally edit out this obvious feature of reality, to see big black/white differences in test scores and never let it cross their minds that the cause might be big black/white differences in ability.

Understanding how those mechanisms work is much more important and valuable than understanding IQ differences between groups. For example, I suspect most of the disasters of the Bush administration can be best understood in terms of getting smart people to sort-of edit out inconvenient evidence. Steve has talked about how this worked with the mortgage crisis. Other people have documented in detail how it worked with the assessment of how hard it would be to occupy and convert Iraq and Afghanistan to democracies.

Anonymous said...

"My subjective impression is that young people from Africa do not reject and stigmatize studiousness the way underclass young people in the U.S.A. and U.K. do, so you probably are working with a population of students who are motivated and who want to learn."I'm a white South African. I can only affirm your comment. In ex British and German colonial Africa Education is seen as the ticket to a better life. Its a relic of those colonial systems.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore if they are as a group capable of thinking that through. Wouldnt they see that AA will be deployed against them in turn by their black and brown sisters.In South Africa the white sisters were also generally happy about the AA installed by the new black ├╝berclass, because it landed them jobs which formerly white guys held. But now the black gov. caught up with the scheme and is bouncing the white babes. I guess their love of the new black ruling class is cooling somewhat. This AA thing is ridiculous because it’s so obviously about envy and taking advantage of a false premise in order to enrich yourself at the expense of those who deserve the jobs based on merit.

Anonymous said...

Envy? I'd guess it's more about patronage.