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The Anti-intelligence Climate Of Academia And It's Negative Effects


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#1 Kriminal99

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:04 AM

SAT and GRE scores (strong correlates with IQ) have played an ever decreasing role in University Admissions in recent years. In the recent University of Michigan lawsuits, it was identified that perfect SAT scores would have merited a 12 point boost on the way to the 100 point requirement to be admitted to the program. In contrast, simply being a member of a minority merited a 30 point boost.

http://en.wikipedia....tz_v._Bollinger

A recent study of Harvard Admissions policies identified minority status in some cases as equivalent to more than a 300 point increase in SAT scores.

“To have the same chance of gaining admission as a black student with a SAT score of 1100, a Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.”

This is equating people with slightly above average intelligence to outright genius.

We live in a society where the vast majority of the population does not understand what intelligence is, that it is immutable, or that it plays a pivotal role in a person's ability to function in just about any environment in a variety of ways.

Intelligence matters

Imagine you have 2 professors. Both have a functional knowledge of the subject matter, but one is a genius and the other is slightly above average intelligence. What are some ways you might expect them to differ?

The first thing to consider is that their measured ability to function as an academic is sort of a bare minimum of the types of skills we might expect an academic to have. They may simply participate in a minor fashion in a research project that was almost entirely driven by another person. They may make a minor revision to someone else's work that others consider too trivial to even bother with.

As for information dissemination, effective communication tools for many subjects already exist and require a minimal amount of skill on behalf of the presenter to share the ideas. Depending on just how deficient the academic is, they can simply copy arguments, presentation styles etc of high intelligence academics actually capable of engineering effective ways of disseminating knowledge. This may be seen to provide a useful function but of course it is no substitute for the skills of the original presenters who can adapt and tailor their presentations of ideas to their current audience.

What other functions might they also be lacking in? Intelligence grants with ease development in many aspects of a person's life as opposed to just their decided profession. Increased understanding of social structure, social interaction, psychology etc would allow them to perform their primary and secondary functions more effectively even though these skills may not be directly monitored. Professors who mumble or have poor pronunciation while avoiding eye contact with the audience, professors who easily become angry and defensive towards students or even other academics asking questions that they have not dealt with before, professors who are overly judgmental of things they do not understand or that differ from their preferential way of doing things.

Lower IQ Academics do harm as opposed to just less good

If lower IQ academics were being used to fill in gaps when there wasn't enough genius to go around, it would make a little more sense than the current situation where less intelligent people are given preference because of minority membership. However even in that case there is a question that such people may do more harm than good if given too much power.

For instance, various studies have determined that organizational skills and memorization of labeling conventions and other minutia can be used as a crutch for people of relatively lower intelligence to acquire knowledge that higher IQ participants can simply organize internally using their visual-spatial reasoning ability and therefore reason using the idea itself apart from it's labeling in any specific discipline. A professor of lower intelligence, can use his acquired social status to try and enforce the methods he must use to survive in academia as some sort of universal standard thus further deselecting people of higher intelligence for further participation in the academic network.

He can do this by testing not for functional knowledge of the material on exams, but for organizational skills and memorization of trivial minutia. Even if an intelligent student manages to gain access to the academic network, further discrimination may occur. Besides the above method, a professor may use other more direct forms of subjective grading to favor people they identify with. Asking open ended questions but then grading for specific answers (given by favored students, even if they are logically equivalent to unfavored students), testing on questions discussed in private with only certain members of the class etc.

As mentioned in an earlier thread of mine, Deductive argument requires different levels of explicitness depending on the intelligence and/or knowledge of the reader. A climate of academic research produced by those of lower intelligence can be expected to be much more cluttered, with each paper providing trivial advancement from the perspective of those with higher intelligence. Papers created by persons of higher intelligence, perhaps profound revelations, could be seen as "poorly supported" by those of less intelligence who have trouble following the arguments. This is assuming they are objective enough to even try, as opposed to being defensive against the authors of such arguments.

Thus the most capable people presenting the most useful ideas are specifically targeted and discouraged by an academic network consisting of those of middling intelligence.

#2 IDMclean

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:10 PM

Kriminal, your argument stands in direct contraindication of the social decree that the greatest number of people shall get the opportunity to participate in the system. What you are suggesting implies the selection of an extreme minority with higher priority than the average applicant. Such a proposition suggests discrimination between applicants and the preferential exclusion of a major class of people. Are you genuinely suggesting that people are of different capacity and capability?

What of Changing Paradigms and divergent thinking? What of multiple intelligences?

#3 Kriminal99

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:38 AM

I love that you just directly put forth the motivation behind most people's hatred of arguments such as the ones I have presented. But do they make good arguments?

Why should the largest number of people be able to participate? Shouldn't the most effective selection of people be allowed to participate, no more and no less? Is academia an amusement park ride or a service to the rest of humanity?

The extreme minority that should be selected is the most extremely effective. This is not a racial minority, or cultural minority, but a merit based minority group. Taking the top x % is not discrimination.

G factor is a scientifically validated phenomenon - in short yes it has been proven beyond even a shadow of a doubt that some people simply DO gather more information of any kind from their surroundings faster than others. These people should be given special consideration because they are the ones actually capable of accomplishing things and typically are better at what they do in the most significant ways than others.

I am not really addressing primary and secondary education with these arguments.
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#4 Ken

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:46 AM

Since you contend that higher education is the haven of low-intelligence faculty why would it matter who is accepted into these alleged low quality programs?

All you need do is Google everything and grab an internet degree from Fred's Academy of High Intelligence. :D

#5 Kriminal99

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 10:41 AM

Since you contend that higher education is the haven of low-intelligence faculty why would it matter who is accepted into these alleged low quality programs?

All you need do is Google everything and grab an internet degree from Fred's Academy of High Intelligence. :D


Of course you are right about having a group of people sharing information being a good thing. During my time in academia my knowledge did increase a little bit faster even if just from hearing more terms to google.

But we keep trying to include minorities in the academic network at the expense of intelligence requirements. Forced handicapping of people of high intelligence and analytical skills is prevalent all throughout society. But academia is supposed to be and once was the haven against this. You could go there, deal with other people of high intelligence, and make major contributions to society.

Now everyone wants to be part of the club. With affirmative action and associated downplay of GRE scores (intelligence) the network has horribly decayed. The design of the academic network doesn't even make sense in this context.

Professors for example are given a ridiculous amount of power over their classrooms and graduate students. This makes sense if it is a genius level professor with extreme emotional maturity who you couldn't make mad if you tried (he'd just feel sorry for you) and wants to see everyone succeed. Now they have been replaced with people of average or slightly above intelligence who perhaps have deep-seated insecurities towards people of a certain races or cultures, have trouble dealing with issues like ambiguity on test questions, produce minor revisionary works that seem trivial to people of high intelligence, and try to enforce memorization of minutia and overly dense explanations. And worst of all, when an intelligent student comes along, the professors get defensive and try to forcibly handicap or suppress them.

If the academic network isn't producing amazing results then what are we subsidizing it for? This naive approach of wanting to include everyone regardless of race, culture etc and apparently intelligence has wrecked everything...

#6 Ken

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 11:02 AM

Of course you are right about having a group of people sharing information being a good thing. During my time in academia my knowledge did increase a little bit faster even if just from hearing more terms to google.

But we keep trying to include minorities in the academic network at the expense of intelligence requirements. Forced handicapping of people of high intelligence and analytical skills is prevalent all throughout society. But academia is supposed to be and once was the haven against this. You could go there, deal with other people of high intelligence, and make major contributions to society.


Your deification of "g" gets in the way of dealing with any other more compelling data. From the very beginning "Intelligence" testing was designed, and used, as a measure for predicting academic success. From the beginning it was hopelessly confounded by prior academic successes. In other words, it primarily measured experiential factors not innate genetic factors.

Spearman's "g" assumes some over-arching general capability which fails even simple face-validity. Select any individual "Genius" and you will find huge discrepancies in cognitive performance with classic, but rare, idiot savants at one extreme and equally rare "renaissance men" at the other. The Wechsler series of tests attempts to measure "intelligence" by dividing the concept into two components Verbal Intelligence and Performance Intelligence but fails to escape the considerable influence of prior experience for most of the various sub-test components.

Now everyone wants to be part of the club. With affirmative action and associated downplay of GRE scores (intelligence) the network has horribly decayed. The design of the academic network doesn't even make sense in this context.


It makes no sense for an intelligent person to extrapolate from one small contact with the "academic network" to the entire "network". The error is compounded by other errors.

1. The GRE is NOT an "intelligence" test and is never promoted as such. It is an Achievement test. It's only similarity to "intelligence" tests is that for the most part they both measure past performance to predict future performance.

2. what evidence, other than political hearsay, do you have for any decay in higher education? Could any genius Electrical Engineer from 1920 have designed my Droid cellphone?

Now if you want to talk about the proliferation of programs that may be questionable, you might find some agreement from me. B)

Professors for example are given a ridiculous amount of power over their classrooms and graduate students.


Absolute nonsense. The "power" of professors has probably diminished, not grown. Certainly at the graduate level expectations are higher and performance is more closely monitored. I can't think of any reason why that should not be the case. What other "powers" are you talking about? Power over the classroom? Should the students determine the content of the coursework and the determination of evaluations of student performance? Should an instructor allow one student to attempt to extend discussion beyond reasonable time when there is a syllabus to cover in a limited time?

This makes sense if it is a genius level professor with extreme emotional maturity who you couldn't make mad if you tried (he'd just feel sorry for you) and wants to see everyone succeed.


As a proponent of "intelligence testing" how do you determine if your professor is "genius level"? Have you seen their test scores? If you can make the determination minus any objective test data then you deny the value of the tests.

As far as emotional maturity.... :rolleyes:

Now they have been replaced with people of average or slightly above intelligence


Data? Intelligent basis for the claim?

who perhaps have deep-seated insecurities towards people of a certain races or cultures,


Again, data?

have trouble dealing with issues like ambiguity on test questions, produce minor revisionary works that seem trivial to people of high intelligence, and try to enforce memorization of minutia and overly dense explanations.


What an hodgepodge of complaints.

Ambiguity? Perhaps you didn't have enough knowledge to differentiate fine distinctions?

Memorization of minutia? Over-dense explanations? You have to be kidding. In many fields of knowledge the Devil IS in the details. Skip over those details from intellectual laziness and you have no basis for deep understanding. And some issues do require extensive, and difficult, explanations. All of the things that make structured education far superior to uncritically reading and accepting "data" from unknown, often unqualified, Internet sources.
Trivial research? Perhaps triviality is in the mind of the beholder and/or the expert? What may seem trivial today might be of huge significance in the future.

And worst of all, when an intelligent student comes along, the professors get defensive and try to forcibly handicap or suppress them.


And some students assume intelligence and get defensive when challenged. :P

If the academic network isn't producing amazing results then what are we subsidizing it for? This naive approach of wanting to include everyone regardless of race, culture etc and apparently intelligence has wrecked everything...


Yawn.
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#7 Kriminal99

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:37 AM

Your deification of "g" gets in the way of dealing with any other more compelling data. From the very beginning "Intelligence" testing was designed, and used, as a measure for predicting academic success. From the beginning it was hopelessly confounded by prior academic successes. In other words, it primarily measured experiential factors not innate genetic factors.

Spearman's "g" assumes some over-arching general capability which fails even simple face-validity. Select any individual "Genius" and you will find huge discrepancies in cognitive performance with classic, but rare, idiot savants at one extreme and equally rare "renaissance men" at the other. The Wechsler series of tests attempts to measure "intelligence" by dividing the concept into two components Verbal Intelligence and Performance Intelligence but fails to escape the considerable influence of prior experience for most of the various sub-test components.

It makes no sense for an intelligent person to extrapolate from one small contact with the "academic network" to the entire "network". The error is compounded by other errors.

1. The GRE is NOT an "intelligence" test and is never promoted as such. It is an Achievement test. It's only similarity to "intelligence" tests is that for the most part they both measure past performance to predict future performance.

2. what evidence, other than political hearsay, do you have for any decay in higher education? Could any genius Electrical Engineer from 1920 have designed my Droid cellphone?

Now if you want to talk about the proliferation of programs that may be questionable, you might find some agreement from me. B)

Absolute nonsense. The "power" of professors has probably diminished, not grown. Certainly at the graduate level expectations are higher and performance is more closely monitored. I can't think of any reason why that should not be the case. What other "powers" are you talking about? Power over the classroom? Should the students determine the content of the coursework and the determination of evaluations of student performance? Should an instructor allow one student to attempt to extend discussion beyond reasonable time when there is a syllabus to cover in a limited time?



As a proponent of "intelligence testing" how do you determine if your professor is "genius level"? Have you seen their test scores? If you can make the determination minus any objective test data then you deny the value of the tests.

As far as emotional maturity.... :rolleyes:



Data? Intelligent basis for the claim?



Again, data?



What an hodgepodge of complaints.

Ambiguity? Perhaps you didn't have enough knowledge to differentiate fine distinctions?

Memorization of minutia? Over-dense explanations? You have to be kidding. In many fields of knowledge the Devil IS in the details. Skip over those details from intellectual laziness and you have no basis for deep understanding. And some issues do require extensive, and difficult, explanations. All of the things that make structured education far superior to uncritically reading and accepting "data" from unknown, often unqualified, Internet sources.
Trivial research? Perhaps triviality is in the mind of the beholder and/or the expert? What may seem trivial today might be of huge significance in the future.

And some students assume intelligence and get defensive when challenged. :P

Yawn.



Despite what IQ testing may have been used for in the past, G is far better understood now. Thanks to that objective understanding it no longer falls victim to your circular anti-intelligence logic. If a person is more intelligent, they are force handicapped everywhere they go. If they are force-handicapped, they are less successful. Therefore intelligence is a poor indicator of success.

I'm afraid not. Intelligence is known to represent complex reaction time: the time your brain takes to extract meaning from a situation for example. That's why vocabulary is such a good indicator for example. The smarter you are, the more words you can extract the meaning of from it's context when it is briefly presented to you.

It means people with high IQ's are better. Period. It is the more compelling factor. If you want to make sure that people of high IQ live up to their potential the most effective way to do so would be to exclude lower IQ personnel from participating in whatever endeavor you are working in, or to make sure they are prevented from any kind of force handicapping (which is hard to do).

IQ does not change with experience taking the IQ test - at least not once you have familiarized yourself with the basic format of the test. The max score you can get is what is correlated with IQ not the one you get when you don't know what to expect from the test. You are not going to change your score by doing word puzzles. Effort allows you to add small constant numbers of words to your vocabulary, more intelligence affords a percent increase in speed of vocabulary growth. Vocab tests sample from huge banks of words, the chance of changing your score at all because a word you looked up instead of learned through context is minuscule.

One IQ society (prometheus) for example takes for admissions scores from a game called "ThinkFast!", where a player is asked to solve minor puzzles as quickly as possible, and score higher for doing it faster. They found it was at least as correlated with IQ as any IQ test. People's scores would increase to a certain point by becoming familiar with the game, then they would top out. This max score for a given person was correlated with IQ, not their first scores.

What one small contact with the academic network?

The GRE correlates with IQ. Vocabulary tests are highly correlated with IQ. The math portion is similarly designed. They tell you it's just an achievement test because they don't want your naive sense of egalitarianism to interfere with the recruitment process. They failed.

Well, Tesla demonstrated an RC car at one of his little demonstrations. Ancient Chinese farmers used linear algebra to manage their crops. All to often the advance of human knowledge depends on having smart enough people involved to help understand and explain what some people already know.

The power of professors has declined, rightfully so, but started in such an obscenely ridiculous place that a huge decline still wouldn't be enough. Education is an entire discipline with it's own professors yet professors in every discipline are expected to be capable of not only educating students but gauging those student's success in learning. Not only are these professors incapable of correctly doing so, they don't even feel pressured to do try. The only oversight they have requires them to be sufficiently obscure in their ego driven selection of favored students for A's that the student cannot easily call them out on it.

One professor in particular that I know of likes to ask completely open ended questions then decide only after the fact what precisely he was looking for, which always turns out to be whatever answer the student's he is comfortable with gave.

Ah, we are into what should happen. Post-Secondary education should be privatized. Teaching and grading should be two completely different industries, with teaching having the students as customers and private industry being the customers of the Testing firms. The testing firms develop the test to have the highest overall correlation with success in the field, or in preparation for higher level programs with the same goal. Teaching will be geared towards getting the students to pass the tests. Non-disclosure agreements should be made illegal, then there will be a constant drive for people with new information to go work for the education firms.

No I do not deny the value of the tests because I am interested in the professor's emotional maturity level. As I said people with high IQ are better period. They mature emotionally faster than everyone else. Every good quality depends on possession of some information that people with high IQ get faster. There is some question of early conditioning of certain types having a strong impact - however in every case where a bad trait other than IQ is claimed to be inherent to the person for this reason the factors which initially conditioned the person are still present. It is my belief that early conditioning is easily overcome when later factors that can be perceived as further conditioning of the same type are removed.

Your constant whining for data denotes a naive modern approach towards the search for knowledge driven by of course people with lower intelligence being involved. Most arguments that I make can be reasoned from common experience and good analytical skills. GRE is correlated to IQ, GRE scores have been used less and less (which I did give a link for), Students of lower intelligence are being admitted to the academic network across the board, most of these students are successful as students, we begin to include those people in teaching because they represent a large percentage of students etc. etc.

This intelligence differential is disastrous in so many ways. It's even possible for a professor to go from thinking a paper presentation is genius because he actually understands it to claiming it's plagiarism because he cannot follow the chain of reasoning and thinks the final conclusion was stolen from some other paper that this paper's author never even read.

You fail to understand the learning methods of people of extreme intelligence and analytical skills. The more meaningful a "detail" is, the more likely such a person knows it even using their 10x normal speed learning techniques. The trick is, those people are experts at effective generalization. Most everything they learned is something they already saw an instance of somewhere else, and they have 100% accuracy in determining what is the same and what is different between those two instances. The only details they miss are the ones that are not significant to high level understanding of the material. In the field of computer science for example, this mostly translates to syntax errors.

For people who only learn through memorization of details until an understanding begins to emerge, all details seem equally important. So of course you are going to think that ignorance of details automatically implies poor understanding. A "difficult" explanation is a poorly formed one. If you have the high level understanding of a topic, it is always easy to communicate. My guess is that you are someone who can only borrow those explanations from other people, as opposed to engineering them yourself. When you make the academic rounds and don't hear a good explanation you think that there isn't one. Until someone like me creates one.

#8 Ken

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:40 PM

Despite what IQ testing may have been used for in the past, G is far better understood now. Thanks to that objective understanding it no longer falls victim to your circular anti-intelligence logic. If a person is more intelligent, they are force handicapped everywhere they go. If they are force-handicapped, they are less successful. Therefore intelligence is a poor indicator of success.

I'm afraid not. Intelligence is known to represent complex reaction time: the time your brain takes to extract meaning from a situation for example. That's why vocabulary is such a good indicator for example. The smarter you are, the more words you can extract the meaning of from it's context when it is briefly presented to you.

It means people with high IQ's are better. Period. It is the more compelling factor. If you want to make sure that people of high IQ live up to their potential the most effective way to do so would be to exclude lower IQ personnel from participating in whatever endeavor you are working in, or to make sure they are prevented from any kind of force handicapping (which is hard to do).

IQ does not change with experience taking the IQ test - at least not once you have familiarized yourself with the basic format of the test. The max score you can get is what is correlated with IQ not the one you get when you don't know what to expect from the test. You are not going to change your score by doing word puzzles. Effort allows you to add small constant numbers of words to your vocabulary, more intelligence affords a percent increase in speed of vocabulary growth. Vocab tests sample from huge banks of words, the chance of changing your score at all because a word you looked up instead of learned through context is minuscule.

One IQ society (prometheus) for example takes for admissions scores from a game called "ThinkFast!", where a player is asked to solve minor puzzles as quickly as possible, and score higher for doing it faster. They found it was at least as correlated with IQ as any IQ test. People's scores would increase to a certain point by becoming familiar with the game, then they would top out. This max score for a given person was correlated with IQ, not their first scores.

What one small contact with the academic network?

The GRE correlates with IQ. Vocabulary tests are highly correlated with IQ. The math portion is similarly designed. They tell you it's just an achievement test because they don't want your naive sense of egalitarianism to interfere with the recruitment process. They failed.

Well, Tesla demonstrated an RC car at one of his little demonstrations. Ancient Chinese farmers used linear algebra to manage their crops. All to often the advance of human knowledge depends on having smart enough people involved to help understand and explain what some people already know.

The power of professors has declined, rightfully so, but started in such an obscenely ridiculous place that a huge decline still wouldn't be enough. Education is an entire discipline with it's own professors yet professors in every discipline are expected to be capable of not only educating students but gauging those student's success in learning. Not only are these professors incapable of correctly doing so, they don't even feel pressured to do try. The only oversight they have requires them to be sufficiently obscure in their ego driven selection of favored students for A's that the student cannot easily call them out on it.

One professor in particular that I know of likes to ask completely open ended questions then decide only after the fact what precisely he was looking for, which always turns out to be whatever answer the student's he is comfortable with gave.

Ah, we are into what should happen. Post-Secondary education should be privatized. Teaching and grading should be two completely different industries, with teaching having the students as customers and private industry being the customers of the Testing firms. The testing firms develop the test to have the highest overall correlation with success in the field, or in preparation for higher level programs with the same goal. Teaching will be geared towards getting the students to pass the tests. Non-disclosure agreements should be made illegal, then there will be a constant drive for people with new information to go work for the education firms.

No I do not deny the value of the tests because I am interested in the professor's emotional maturity level. As I said people with high IQ are better period. They mature emotionally faster than everyone else. Every good quality depends on possession of some information that people with high IQ get faster. There is some question of early conditioning of certain types having a strong impact - however in every case where a bad trait other than IQ is claimed to be inherent to the person for this reason the factors which initially conditioned the person are still present. It is my belief that early conditioning is easily overcome when later factors that can be perceived as further conditioning of the same type are removed.

Your constant whining for data denotes a naive modern approach towards the search for knowledge driven by of course people with lower intelligence being involved. Most arguments that I make can be reasoned from common experience and good analytical skills. GRE is correlated to IQ, GRE scores have been used less and less (which I did give a link for), Students of lower intelligence are being admitted to the academic network across the board, most of these students are successful as students, we begin to include those people in teaching because they represent a large percentage of students etc. etc.

This intelligence differential is disastrous in so many ways. It's even possible for a professor to go from thinking a paper presentation is genius because he actually understands it to claiming it's plagiarism because he cannot follow the chain of reasoning and thinks the final conclusion was stolen from some other paper that this paper's author never even read.

You fail to understand the learning methods of people of extreme intelligence and analytical skills. The more meaningful a "detail" is, the more likely such a person knows it even using their 10x normal speed learning techniques. The trick is, those people are experts at effective generalization. Most everything they learned is something they already saw an instance of somewhere else, and they have 100% accuracy in determining what is the same and what is different between those two instances. The only details they miss are the ones that are not significant to high level understanding of the material. In the field of computer science for example, this mostly translates to syntax errors.

For people who only learn through memorization of details until an understanding begins to emerge, all details seem equally important. So of course you are going to think that ignorance of details automatically implies poor understanding. A "difficult" explanation is a poorly formed one. If you have the high level understanding of a topic, it is always easy to communicate. My guess is that you are someone who can only borrow those explanations from other people, as opposed to engineering them yourself. When you make the academic rounds and don't hear a good explanation you think that there isn't one. Until someone like me creates one.



:D :D :D

If you've been stringing me along, you've accomplished a great piece of satirical writing.

If you were not, you've demonstrated a sad sense of frustrated entitlement and frustration with your current status. I really feel badly for you, I don't think you will ever accept any personal responsibility for your status, nor ever reflect that you might be part of your personal issues.

Having rejected the reality-based world for your own special brew of views, biases, and excuses you throw more barriers in your own path. That makes me sad. :(

#9 Kriminal99

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 08:55 AM

Right.. in other words you lost the argument. These arguments are all well understood by specialists in these fields.

Also, my current status is actually pretty good. I have just been fighting to make my surroundings a better place. Anyone who tries to stand in my way is going to regret it.

The academic network is no place for forced egalitarianism. Further the recent lawsuits in 2004 against the University of Michigan demonstrate that the law does not approve of forced egalitarianism either.

We do not need a bunch of slack-jawed students running around pointing at stuff they don't even remotely understand and saying "That's stupid!" and watching movies for their phd thesis...

#10 Ken

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 09:12 AM

Right.. in other words you lost the argument. These arguments are all well understood by specialists in these fields.

Also, my current status is actually pretty good. I have just been fighting to make my surroundings a better place. Anyone who tries to stand in my way is going to regret it.

The academic network is no place for forced egalitarianism. Further the recent lawsuits in 2004 against the University of Michigan demonstrate that the law does not approve of forced egalitarianism either.

We do not need a bunch of slack-jawed students running around pointing at stuff they don't even remotely understand and saying "That's stupid!" and watching movies for their phd thesis...



:D :D :D

You think Internet discussions are "won" or "lost"? How curiosly naive.

#11 HydrogenBond

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 10:12 AM

When I was in college, grades where done with pure A,B,C, and not the current grade inflation standard using B+, A-, etc, One could get an 88 on an exam, and that would be given a B=3.0, not B+=3.5, or A-=3.75 etc. The new and improved standard was designed to help students inflate self esteem via grade inflation. When I went to school the professors also needed to adjust their exams to fit the curve of the students. Now distributions of grades is fit to the curve. This means the current professors have it easier, since they don't need to know their students ability well enough to develop an exam that brings the distribution of grades smoothly on the 100, A, B, C scale.

In grad school the professors would give 3 hour exams and then give you 1 hour to do it. The curve tended to make 28 out of 100 about a B. The class geniuses might get 65, which was a shock to the grade conscious who were used to 90-100. It was interesting to see the geniuses shocked to a sense of humility trying to justify a D as an A. The idea may have been to break you down to build you up, so one could realize not everything you do will be a perfect A. Now one is more open to being imperfect.

#12 Ken

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 11:37 AM

When I was in college, grades where done with pure A,B,C, and not the current grade inflation standard using B+, A-, etc, One could get an 88 on an exam, and that would be given a B=3.0, not B+=3.5, or A-=3.75 etc. The new and improved standard was designed to help students inflate self esteem via grade inflation. When I went to school the professors also needed to adjust their exams to fit the curve of the students. Now distributions of grades is fit to the curve. This means the current professors have it easier, since they don't need to know their students ability well enough to develop an exam that brings the distribution of grades smoothly on the 100, A, B, C scale.


I think you have to look at it from both sides.

For the instructor there are minimum expectations for "success". You go into a course with the goal of conveying certain information, challenging students to perhaps view from a broader perspective, and give them at least some fluency in the material.

You assess the success or failure in reaching that goal by some form of evaluation. To do that you formulate questions and/or problems that require the student to demonstrate achievement. Some questions are "easy" and some are "difficult".

For difficult questions the instructor must consider whether poor performance is a function of little learning (or poor teaching) or of poorly constructed test items. I don't think using a rigid Gaussian distribution is appropriate. 1) because the distribution of students is likely to be more homogeneous the further into the academic process the student's are, and 2) it assumes that a numerical score at the right end of the distribution must be close to 100% of the distribution.

One way of dealing with this for short answer questions is to do some form of item-analysis. You look particularly at the items missed by the highest scoring students. Were they missed because they were ambiguous, or assigned incorrect answers, or actually covered material beyond the scope of the instruction? My own feeling is that you can't assess the top students if many of them score 100% because you short-change their opportunity to demonstrate mastery, i.e., you've introduced an arbitrary ceiling.

So, I would attempt to navigate these subjective waters by having what I considered realistic goals for the students, taking into consideration their level (UG or PG), and the needs of the subject matter curriculum in preparing them for more advanced course-work.

I knew what I expected. I looked to see if the evaluations of the top scoring students met those expectations and when they did I considered that A level, or excellent. If the top scoring students didn't meet those expectations I demanded of myself a careful look at the exam - were my expectations unreasonable or were the top scorers not top students?

I don't consider the transformation of a numerical score into a letter-symbol a move in the direction of increased accuracy nor do I see it as grade inflation. It's a convenient device but consider how it actually works. You take some kind of numerical estimate translate it into a broad category letter score then for over-all performance evaluation you translate it back into a different numerical system for ease of manipulation.

There are an infinite number of possible intermediate scores that would fit an unlimited number of decimal point GPAs. It's simply a idiosyncratic decision that one must make to decide how many intermediate steps are rational.

Consider, in an A to F system you have five "bins" for categorizing students. My view is that is like trying to count the facets on a diamond, by touch, wearing boxing gloves.

Adding the intermediate "+" turns A, B, C, D, F into A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, and F, into nine bins (or 8 if you exclude A+). I think it is more fair to students to make some attempt at getting a little more (subjective) precision in the evaluation.

The only evidence of grade inflation that I would acknowledge would be the case where every student "earns" an A in lower level courses. In graduate work, the criterion is reasonably that A (excellent) and B (very good) are, and should be, the only acceptable grades. Anything less means inadequate achievement.

In grad school the professors would give 3 hour exams and then give you 1 hour to do it. The curve tended to make 28 out of 100 about a B. The class geniuses might get 65, which was a shock to the grade conscious who were used to 90-100. It was interesting to see the geniuses shocked to a sense of humility trying to justify a D as an A. The idea may have been to break you down to build you up, so one could realize not everything you do will be a perfect A. Now one is more open to being imperfect.


And that is a worthy goal. :D It's important that education convey that NO ONE ever knows 100% of available knowledge. That encourages an attitude of skepticism and a motivation to acquire more rather than be satisfied with the current level.

BTW, my UG experience dates from 1958 to 1962, and we had +/- letter grades back when Dinosaurs roamed the earth. :P

#13 Kriminal99

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 10:29 PM

:D :D :D

You think Internet discussions are "won" or "lost"? How curiosly naive.


All arguments are either won or lost, and as someone who makes frequent use of debate fallacies you obviously know this is the case. One argument defeats the others when all fallacies are removed. And then when you make a sound argument it impacts all listeners or readers whether they want to be impacted or not.

When I pick apart all of your arguments and then you resort to poorly reasoned assaults on the other person's character it's pretty clear you know you were wrong.

#14 Kriminal99

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 10:52 PM

When I was in college, grades where done with pure A,B,C, and not the current grade inflation standard using B+, A-, etc, One could get an 88 on an exam, and that would be given a B=3.0, not B+=3.5, or A-=3.75 etc. The new and improved standard was designed to help students inflate self esteem via grade inflation. When I went to school the professors also needed to adjust their exams to fit the curve of the students. Now distributions of grades is fit to the curve. This means the current professors have it easier, since they don't need to know their students ability well enough to develop an exam that brings the distribution of grades smoothly on the 100, A, B, C scale.

In grad school the professors would give 3 hour exams and then give you 1 hour to do it. The curve tended to make 28 out of 100 about a B. The class geniuses might get 65, which was a shock to the grade conscious who were used to 90-100. It was interesting to see the geniuses shocked to a sense of humility trying to justify a D as an A. The idea may have been to break you down to build you up, so one could realize not everything you do will be a perfect A. Now one is more open to being imperfect.


I heard those were done for the opposite reason. Student's would beg to be knocked up to a 90 if they had an 88.5, and if they didn't get it they would simply blame it on grading errors and appeal the grade - a pretty accurate standpoint. The reasoning was grading error can be limited to a few points, and small grade ranges are more accurate with this in mind. Of course in reality grading error is so large that grades given by professors are all but meaningless, but to recognize that would be to recognize the failure of higher education. By grading error I am including anything from ambiguous open ended questions to poorly designed class assignments/projects to outright bias in grading etc. I think they found it resulted in less grade appeals.

I would just look at my grade relative to everyone else's and not even look at the absolute grade as relevant. Although stuff like that can throw me off because sometimes on normal exams I don't even study and just deduce relevant information from whatever I remember from lecture. I've never seen anyone use that particular approach, but professors do other things. For instance asking what page in the book something was on, who came up with it, or just asking some meaningless detail that isn't necessary to understanding the concepts. All of these things can deselect the most capable students who might understand the material as an iteration of some higher level general principle that the professor might not be familiar with. The problem is people who don't have access to those higher level general principles are going to have more trouble solving novel problems or creating novel ideas.

When professor's are going out of their way to trick or deselect certain students they don't like, I don't see it as something that has any degree of legitimacy or that should be supported by the university system. When it's an across the board type of thing, I tend to look at whether I personally care about the subject enough to put that level of effort into it. If I just want to know some general principles from that area and don't want to specialize in that field, then I might not deal with a class that forces you to memorize every detail. I guess it depends on the area whether a class might be offered to people who aren't ever going to use that level of detail in their actual career.

#15 Kriminal99

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:00 PM

FI don't think using a rigid Gaussian distribution is appropriate. 1) because the distribution of students is likely to be more homogeneous the further into the academic process the student's are, and 2) it assumes that a numerical score at the right end of the distribution must be close to 100% of the distribution.


This statement fails miserably, unless your department has students with GRE scores within a very tight range. This is scientifically verified fact and well understood by anyone in the field of education.

The second part just demonstrates a poor understanding of statistics. Do it based on all students ever not just the ones in the recent class. If no student ever got higher than a certain amount, then that is 100%. It's not the students' fault for not trying hard enough.

After watching you mutilate concept after concept in your arguments it's pretty clear that you must have scored low on your GRE's and that is why you defend low intelligence students so strongly. What have your produced research wise during your career? Anything worth mentioning?

And that is a worthy goal. :D It's important that education convey that NO ONE ever knows 100% of available knowledge. That encourages an attitude of skepticism and a motivation to acquire more rather than be satisfied with the current level.


Some of those students may understand such concepts far better than you do and simply be tired of professors testing useless minutia on exams. The goal is to know the USEFUL information. If you are the type of professor that gets defensive when a student asks a novel question in class that you do not know the answer to, then you are demonstrate the exact opposite behavior.

#16 Ken

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 07:40 AM

This statement fails miserably, unless your department has students with GRE scores within a very tight range. This is scientifically verified fact and well understood by anyone in the field of education.

The second part just demonstrates a poor understanding of statistics. Do it based on all students ever not just the ones in the recent class. If no student ever got higher than a certain amount, then that is 100%. It's not the students' fault for not trying hard enough.

After watching you mutilate concept after concept in your arguments it's pretty clear that you must have scored low on your GRE's and that is why you defend low intelligence students so strongly. What have your produced research wise during your career? Anything worth mentioning?


Some of those students may understand such concepts far better than you do and simply be tired of professors testing useless minutia on exams. The goal is to know the USEFUL information. If you are the type of professor that gets defensive when a student asks a novel question in class that you do not know the answer to, then you are demonstrate the exact opposite behavior.


I think I included a link to my Curriculum Vitae in my response to Tormod's Achievement thread. Basically my career path was shaped to some extent by availability of funding during the Viet Nam war, a secondary interest in a non-biological area in Psychology which resulted in substantial off-campus consulting, and early promotion to Professor and department chair for the last 28 years of my academic experience.

Perhaps your pre-judgements of a slacker like me are justified.

Or not. :rolleyes:

#17 HydrogenBond

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 11:12 AM

One problem with good students asking even good questions, is it can take away class time from everyone else. For example, say the teacher is talking about electrons orbiting the nucleus like the planets orbit the sun, This is an elementary way to introduce the atom, but is a good building block for what will come next. A bright student who is reading way ahead brings up wave functions.

Avoidance may not be the teacher avoiding this good question. It is more complicated than that. If they try to answer that question they may lose most of the class, who is just getting their hands on the orbit analogy. Even if they wanted to explain wave functions, at what level do you do that? Do you use the phD version for this bright college sophomore, which may make him feel embarrassed? Or do you dumb it down to the level of what that bright student might understand. Even if you chose that, you may also need to build other background, since he may not know all the jargon and math for how even the simple answer is derived. In the mean time, this private tutorage during class time is not fair to the other 25 students who are not being taught. You may lose them, as they get bored and begin to phase out. If the phase out happens, when you go back to the formal lessons, getting them back becomes another problem.

Many professors use a lecture format to avoid interruptions so they can keep the ball rolling for all. The extra questions is where office time comes in. But even that is more geared to help the students who are having problems with the lessons. There are only so many hours, and so many students, so it makes no sense to give all that time to one student, who already knows the lessons, at the expense of the many students who need help.

One solution for the bright student is to volunteer to tutor. This frees teacher time so he/she will have more time to answer some of the more interesting but unrelated questions.
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