Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Asians shine  when ability counts

What does 9 blacks versus 620 Asians tell you?  It tells you of two IQ distributions that barely overlap

It’s match day in New York City, when eighth grade hearts beat a little faster as they find out if they got into their first choice high school, or, in a minority of cases, one at all.

Of the 63,658 students who submitted an application to a public school, 90 percent received a match. Eighty-four percent of students matched to one of their top five ranked schools, while nearly half, 47 percent, matched to their top choice. These numbers are similar to last year’s match results.

Students who took the specialized high school admissions test (SHSAT) also found out today whether or not they received an offer of admission to one of eight schools. Education officials said about 28,000 took the test and a total of 5,229 students received admission based on their test scores.

SchoolBook reported this week on the single-test admissions policy at these schools, along with the test prep programs meant to prepare students for the exam.

The one-test admissions policy is the subject of a legal complaint, which argues that not enough black and Latino students gain admission to the specialized schools — particularly Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School which are the most competitive.

This year, the racial breakdown of admission offers at these three schools looks like this (race and ethnicity data were not available for about 14 percent of test-takers):

—Stuyvesant offered admission to 9 black students; 24 Latino students; 177 white students; and 620 students who identify as Asian.

—Bronx Science offered admission to 25 black students; 54 Latino students; 239 white students; 489 Asian students; and 3 American Indian/Alaskan Native students.

—Brooklyn Tech offered admission to 110 black students; 134 Latino students; 451 white students; 960 Asian students; and 5 American Indian/Alaskan Native students.


Univ. of Colorado Begins ‘Bold Experiment’ — Appoints Professor of ‘Conservative Thought and Policy’‏

The University of Colorado-Boulder is attempting a “bold” new experiment — hiring a professor of “conservative thought and policy.”

Appointed to a one-year term beginning this fall, Dr. Steven Hayward joins the university thanks in part to over $1 million in private funds donated to the cause.

Long considered a liberal stronghold, the school first unveiled plans to establish a visiting scholar endowment in 2007, but the economic downturn forced it to push back the three-year pilot program. Hayward, the author of books on Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill and the Biblical perspective on nature, has signed on for the first year.

“This is a bold experiment for the university and me to see whether the ideological spectrum can be broadened in a serious and constructive way,” Hayward commented.

Steven R. Leigh, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, added in a statement: “Dr. Hayward brings an impressive breadth of knowledge to this position, having researched a range of environmental, historical and political issues.”

The professor will tentatively teach three political science classes and one in environmental studies about free market environmentalism. He wants to include the conservative perspective but said he won’t advocate for conservatism in the classroom.

“I’ll teach the whole spectrum, from blue to red,” he promised.

While he expects to invite speakers to campus and hold conferences during his time in Boulder, Hayward doesn’t think he’ll be engaging in debate on “front page issues” like gun control and civil unions, which have been hotly contested in Colorado in recent months.

Jon Caldara, president of the free-market Independence Institute in Denver, expressed doubts about the program but confidence in Hayward for the Washington Times.

“What a superb choice — [Hayward's] work speaks for itself, and he’s got an incredible reputation,” Caldara said.  “He’s going to be an anomaly, but since there’s only one of him at a campus of 30,000, that’s a ratio CU can handle.”


Homework haters in Australia

Learning to study and work by yourself is an essential skill.  You will learn that way for most of your life so you need to learn how.  And you probably learn best by studying at your own pace

HOMEWORK hijacks family life, is stopping children from exercising and should be reviewed, a leading child psychologist has warned.

As debate continues over the effectiveness of homework, The Sunday Mail can reveal Education Queensland has abolished its homework time guidelines, including that Prep students "generally" should not be set any.

Students aged 4-5 are now often being sent home with "readers".

Early Childhood Teachers Association president Kim Walters said they were against that idea, with Prep students better off reading practical texts such as recipes and catalogues at home, or having stories read to them by parents.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, who has been voicing concerns about homework for years, said while he was not opposed to it, he was opposed to how it was being delivered.

"The reason I want a change is because the evidence base is there that says there is no academic benefit from homework in primary school, it hijacks family life, they (children) are not doing enough exercise and it causes fights," he said.

He said homework should be reviewed nationally and either abolished in primary school or include practical activities such as housework, shopping, sport and board games.

Associate Professor Mike Horsley of Central Queensland University said homework should be reformed.

Prof Horsley, who co-wrote the book Reforming Homework, said while research showed homework had no effect on achievement in children aged under eight, and little benefit in Years 4 to 6, it did have benefits for younger students by teaching them to "self-regulate" if it was of high quality.

"Research done in Germany shows that often kids who spend a long time doing homework actually achieve less than kids who spend a very small time doing homework," he said.

"It has to involve new learning - not drill and practice ... and they (children) have to have a fair degree of say in how and when and what they do in their homework."

He said homework did make a difference to achievement in Years 10 to 12 and was a contentious issue.

An investigation by The Sunday Mail has found many Queensland Year 11 and 12 students are being set about three hours of homework a night, including assignments.

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Norm Fuller said in state schools about 15 hours a week was the general guideline for homework in Year 12, but ambitious students often studied more.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said "the happy medium is to make sure kids can still be kids".

Education Queensland assistant director-general Marg Pethiyagoda said state schools developed homework policy in consultation with their school community.

"Teachers are best placed to decide the extent and type of homework that suits the individual learning needs of their students in all year levels, including Prep," she said.


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