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very interesting, but I don't agree with you

Roz Stevenson

Nice report! Read it cover to cover. I must disagree with you, though, that "showing up on time" is an "obsolete value." Showing up on time is an essential job skill, because NOT showing up on time IS a problem and a quick way to unemployment! Try scheduling a class, business meeting, job interview, or event- physical or virtual- with someone who has not mastered or internalized this "LEARNED BEHAVIOR." Arriving punctually for scheduled appointments, whether with a teacher in a classroom, a doctor, or the IRS, is not only courteous, but it also conveys respect for, and appreciation of the people involved and their time. As a high school classroom teacher and GED educator, I have personally experienced the state curriculum "shift" to include "job readiness skills" and the need for teaching these basic skills. The shift has been strongly supported by, and is likely the result of persistent lobbying from the business community. The business world runs on protocol and schedules where courteousness and respect are relevant values and "showing up on time" is not an option!

Best regards,

Roz Stevenson
Roz Stevenson
Youth Program Manager
Volunteer Center of Madison County
Huntsville, Alabama

Reinhard Ruescher

My school (Lake Forest College) has joined other schools in making standardized test scores optional in order to avoid "penalizing bad test takers." Since I believe that the strength of an academic institution lies primarily in the strength of its faculty and student body, I thought that this was a bad decision. But I didn't really have a well-researched or defined opinion why. But what immediatly jumped to mind was the question: what ARE you going to select students by? Their high school grades?!? I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that my high school counselor (who I met twice for 30 minutes total over a four-year span) wrote a college recommendation for me. Hey, it wasn't my idea, but it is generally required.
First I googled "bad test takers" and I read mostly anti-SAT articles. The first thing I noticed is that a common criticism of the test is that it under-predicts the college grades for women. This is a misuse of statistics, because the correlation is being used in a causational way. Besides, it seemed like a standardized, objectively graded score would have trouble being more biased than grades. It occured to me that it would be just as valid to point out that women are being rewarded, maybe because of a misconception of being bad test takers. I came across a site that offered a counterview to mainstream. It's a blog article by a professor; his methods are far from sound, but there is still some food for thought.
The SATs are also said to discriminate against blacks. When I came across "The Bell Curve," I learned that a consistent finding was that IQ tests do not discriminate against ethnic groups, but that these groups just do better or worse on them. So why, over ten years later, is this still a commonly cited reason to criticize the SAT when it seems that the SAT is just an indicator of a much larger phenonemon? When I googled "rich white high schools vs poor black high schools" I came across another articulate article which I recommend (a lot more than the first link above!) which seems to get at why blacks do worse on SATs.
Next, I explored the possibility that the hyper-parenting attitudes of some parents was leading to two things: their kids turning in all their immaculate work (and thereby inflating their GPA) and also to a decrease in learning. Why a decrease in learning? By telling someone that they need to study SO MUCH in order to be able to succeed at something, you are implicitly telling them that they are too stupid to be able to it, well, like a normal, non-study-aholic, non-NERDY, person. Performance is consistently affected by expecations. Besides, learning is inherently interesting and challenging.
Today I googled "grade inflation" and found entry into an interesting dialogue. I ended up linking all the way to your site, and I wanted to tell you that what you are saying makes a lot of sense. If you could respond with some general thoughts, and maybe also some specific places where I can continue to research, it would mean a lot to me. Thanks for your time in any case!

PS LFC is 58% women.

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