Sunday, December 29, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: momof4, Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking, Anonymouses, and C T

On Edufallacies: correlation vs. causation


momof4 said...

I've been saying that the ed world is unable/unwilling to differentiate correlation from causation for decades. Eighth-grade algebra, Latin, modern foreign languages, debate team, algebra II/trig/precalc,and AP classes have all been cited as causative factors in higher performance on various measures, including SAT/ACT, HS graduation, college attendance and graduation etc. Such results have fueled the XYZ-for-all push. Unfortunately, such courses are simply correlation, not causation. In the real world, only the most able, prepared and motivated kids take these courses, which are a proxy variable for identification of such kids. It's idiocy, but that hasn't stopped schools/districts from pushing kids who can't do multiplication and division.

Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking said...
When an IT person was in the building, excitedly telling me about the new iPad cart they were installing, I had to stop myself from shouting "Our kids don't need iPads, they need FATHERS."

Anonymous said...
Don't forget the mother of all educational correlation / causation confusions: 
A school where students score low on standardized tests must have bad teachers, so they should be penalized and reshuffled frequently. September 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM Auntie Ann said... I don't get the shuffling thing! When an LAUSD school finally starts pulling itself together, when the head of the school shows talent and success; the first thing they do is move her to a different school! 
You'd think they'd let success stand, instead of trying to break it apart. September 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM   
Anonymous said...
Letting success stand would probably help the kids. But who wants praxis when we can have theory? When they penalize and reshuffle teachers at schools whose student body tests low, they are inevitably penalizing students for being poor and penalizing teachers for teaching poor students.'If you want to keep your job, don't teach poor kids' is the message they end up sending.

C T said...
Wouldn't it be nice if formal logic were taught? I think most Americans, if they even know the word "fallacy", think it just means "dumb argument". It's important to know WHY an argument fails; otherwise, it just looks like opponents of an idea are name-calling. With all the calls for teaching students to be "critical thinkers", why don't we see the education world turning to teaching formal logic? It seems the K-12 world mostly thinks logic is just for math.

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