Social-Science

Category archives for Social-Science

It’s NCAA tournament time, which is time for everybody to break out the moralizing stories about the pernicious aspects of college athletics that they’ve been sitting on since the football season ended. The Associated Press (via the New York Times) clocks in with a particularly discreditable entry, a story on a study of racial disparities…

Science Stereotypes and Threats

One thing that I thought of while writing yesterday’s mammoth post about scientific thinking and stereotypes was the notion of stereotype threat, the psychological phenomenon where students who are reminded of negative stereotypes right before a test tend to score worse than they do when taking the test without the negative reminder. This is a…

Academic Poll: Correlation and Evaluation

The always fraught question of student course evaluations has come up again on campus. In discussions, the correlation between “expected grade” and “overall evaluation” has once again been noted– that is, students who report expecting a higher grade are more likely to give a good overall score to their professors than students who expect a…

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing in academic circles this week over the release of a book claiming college students are “Academically Adrift” (see also the follow-up story here). The headline findings, as summarized by Inside Higher Ed are: * 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during…

The Problem of the Humanities

I’ve probably gotten a dozen pointers to Gregory Petsko’s open letter in support of the humanities, addressed to the President of SUNY-Albany, over the last couple of weeks (the link is to a reposting of the letter at Inside Higher Ed; it was originally on Petsko’s own blog). I haven’t linked to it or commented…

Socialization of Toddlers

In last weekend’s post about arguments from innate differences, I suggested that I might be willing to illustrate my position with adorable toddler pictures. On thinking more about it, I’m a little hesitant to write about this at length, because it could easily topple over into arrogant-physicist territory. But then, it’s an excuse to post…

The Problem With Innate Differences

In yesterday’s post about the experience of science, I mentioned that I had both a specific complaint about the article by Alexandra Jellicoe (which I explained in the post) and a general complaint about the class in which the article falls. I want to attempt to explain the latter problem, partly because I think it…

Poll: The Peter Threshold

As a sort of follow-up to yesterday’s post asking about incompetent teachers, a poll on what you might call the “Peter Threshold,” after the Peter Principle. Exactly how many incompetent members can an organization tolerate? The acceptable level of incompetence in any organization (that is, the fraction of employees who can’t do their jobs) is:Market…

As mentioned in the previous post, there has been a lot of interesting stuff written about education in the last week or so, much of it in response to the manifesto published in the Washington Post, which is the usual union-busting line about how it’s too difficult to fire the incompetent teachers who are ruining…

There have been a bunch of interesting things written about education recently that I’ve been too busy teaching to comment on. I was pulling them together this morning to do a sort of themed links dump, when the plot at the right, from Kevin Drum’s post about school testing jumped out at me. This shows…