PDA

View Full Version : Chris Woodhead= Cnut



Pages : [1] 2

matt b
15-05-2009, 10:56 AM
Showing his true colours:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/may/11/education-policy-class-bias

I bet he thinks that god made black kids stupid too. All the better for enslaving them.

The shadow of Charles Murray returns to dissensus...

Grievous Angel
15-05-2009, 12:11 PM
I wonder what David Davis would say about it...

matt b
15-05-2009, 12:33 PM
DD is just happy that he's one of those exceptional working-class types, rather than dirty and stupid like the rest of them.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 04:05 PM
If one believes that a) intelligence has a significant heritable component and that b) intelligence has a bearing on life chances, then this is hardly an outlandish thesis: one's genes are likely to be better if one is middle-class, as are one's offsprings' genes.

That said, the probability of middle-class offspring being more able than that of the working-class is less than of the parents being so, as intelligence regresses to the mean through generations: very bright parents are more likely to have bright children rather than as or more bright; bright parents to have middling ones.

The thread title reminds me of die-hard leftie Cambridge lecturers frothing at the mouth at the very mention of the educational AntiChrist Woodhead's name = amusing.

There, you can call me cnut now, too. ;)

john eden
15-05-2009, 04:18 PM
If one believes that a) intelligence has a significant heritable component

Do you believe that?

STN
15-05-2009, 04:20 PM
My parents are well clever, and I am probably thicker than both of them, to be honest, but then one (probably the smarter of the two) is working-class and the other's family are filthy rich. Hmm.

martin
15-05-2009, 04:29 PM
How do you measure intelligence? Cos my dad thought art and literature was a load of rubbish, but he could pull a JCB apart and put it back together like it was a piece of piss.

Don't most education ministers think this way anyway?

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 04:30 PM
Do you believe that?

Psychologists tend to think it's at least 50% determined by heredity; some seem even to think 90%+. But then again, I'm not a psychologist.

From personal observation, it seems that hereditary factors are significant as, even when dealing with parents at school, the sharper parents tend to have the brighter children and the children themselves tend to have siblings of similar ability. I certainly don't think that children's intelligence is decided by some random process - it just wouldn't make sense given that it is a product of actual physical stuff, that itself is determined largely genetically.

It also seemed to be the case at Oxbridge that students very often had siblings also at the university. I doubt that this is solely the product of insider knowledge or particularly crazed familial work ethics (especially as so many of them were lazy cnuts).

john eden
15-05-2009, 04:40 PM
Psychologists tend to think it's at least 50% determined by heredity; some seem even to think 90%+. But then again, I'm not a psychologist.

It's been two decades since I started my psychology degree but I seem to remember that general consensus back then was that intelligence being genetic was a load of bollocks.

Course, I am a bit thick so I may not be remembering that properly.

More recently there was a study mentioned in Freakonomics that academic success was directly related to how many books you had in the house as a kid. Perhaps that is also genetic tho? :slanted:

droid
15-05-2009, 04:46 PM
It also seemed to be the case at Oxbridge that students very often had siblings also at the university. I doubt that this is solely the product of insider knowledge or particularly crazed familial work ethics (especially as so many of them were lazy cnuts).

This wouldn't have anything to do with those siblings coming from the the class/economic/social backgrounds which are more likely to be accepted to posh Universities?

Also - since when was university attendance a measure of intelligence? The opposite could also be true in my experience... :D

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 04:47 PM
More recently there was a study mentioned in Freakonomics that academic success was directly related to how many books you had in the house as a kid. Perhaps that is also genetic tho? :slanted:

Well, if you are smart you are more likely to be interested in gaining knowledge and more able to take it in. So, the number of books you have is a consequence and sign of your (genetically-determined) intellectual endowment - there is no point owning books that you do not need or cannot understand.

droid
15-05-2009, 04:49 PM
Well, if you are smart you are more likely to be interested in gaining knowledge and more able to take it in. So, the number of books you have is a consequence and sign of your (genetically-determined) intellectual endowment - there is no point owning books that you do not need or cannot understand.

Or simply a sign that you can afford to buy and have time to read a lot of books.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 04:53 PM
This wouldn't have anything to do with those siblings coming from the the class/economic/social backgrounds which iare more likely to be accepted to posh Universities?

Also - since when was university attendance a measure of intelligence? The opposite could also be true in my experience... :D

I agree that there is probably a bias on the interviewers' parts towards ppl who are like themselves. That said, intelligence is their uppermost consideration as it is far more desirable to have an intellectually adaptable (intelligent) working class student than a hot-housed, dim middle-class one. After all, they have to teach them and teaching able students is more fun.

Intelligence is obv strongly correlated with academic success.

btw (pomposity alert) Anglia Ruskin's quiz machine was the easiest machine I had ever played - the university's low entrance requirements + creaming from other universities creates a social environment with an abnormally low ceiling of ability/knowledge.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 04:55 PM
Or simply a sign that you can afford to buy and have time to read a lot of books.

Well, you have to be able to profit from them in the first place, otherwise you wouldn't buy them even if you had gold bars cluttering up your house.

And you are more likely to be able to afford them if you are more intelligent, as intelligence enables you to get more of what people generally want - money, for instance.

IdleRich
15-05-2009, 04:57 PM
"the number of books you have is a consequence and sign of your (genetically-determined) intellectual endowment - there is no point owning books that you do not need or cannot understand."
I think that the point is that it's due to the parents rather than the child - a child that has parents that have a lot of books is likely to be at an advantage relative to other children as it is clear that they have parents who both value learning and are wealthy enough to purchase books. It's then hard to say that the children have inherited intelligence, it may just be that they are in a favourable environment.
That's not to say that intelligence may not have a genetic element.

john eden
15-05-2009, 04:58 PM
Or simply a sign that you can afford to buy and have time to read a lot of books.

the time and money for which you would genetically inherit from your parents, right?

droid
15-05-2009, 04:59 PM
Well, you have to be able to profit from them in the first place, otherwise you wouldn't buy them even if you had gold bars cluttering up your house.

And you are more likely to be able to afford them if you are more intelligent, as intelligence enables you to get more of what people generally want - money, for instance.

LOL Have you ever watched the Apprentice?

Also - have you ever heard the term 'poverty trap' and do you understand what it means?

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:00 PM
I think that the point is that it's due to the parents rather than the child - a child that has parents that have a lot of books is likely to be at an advantage relative to other children as it is clear that they have parents who both value learning and are wealthy enough to purchase books. It's then hard to say that the children have inherited intelligence, it may just be that they are in a favourable environment.
That's not to say that intelligence may not have a genetic element.

Yes, point taken

john eden
15-05-2009, 05:02 PM
This reminds me of a colleague of mine who recently discovered she had a sister.

She was going on about how much they had in common and how amazing it was because they'd never met.

Then it transpired that they both grew up around the same time about 10 miles away from each other, in Essex.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:03 PM
LOL Have you ever watched the Apprentice?

Also - have you ever heard the term 'poverty trap' and do you understand what it means?

Are the Apprentice candidates not specially selected for their cnutishness, however?

You are more likely to break out of the poverty trap if you are intelligent, as intelligence = problem-solving ability with poverty being the problem.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:06 PM
This reminds me of a colleague of mine who recently discovered she had a sister.

She was going on about how much they had in common and how amazing it was because they'd never met.

Then it transpired that they both grew up around the same time about 10 miles away from each other, in Essex.

Did they have the same number of books? :D

john eden
15-05-2009, 05:08 PM
Are the Apprentice candidates not specially selected for their cnutishness, however?

In the main they are selected for their televisual attributes rather than their business acumen.

It's very similar to Oxbridge, in fact.

droid
15-05-2009, 05:09 PM
Are the Apprentice candidates not specially selected for their cnutishness, however?

You are more likely to break out of the poverty trap if you are intelligent, as intelligence = problem-solving ability with poverty being the problem.

They are successful, rich, educated people who are also total idiots.

Its difficult for even the most intelligent person to develop their intelligence if they cant afford to go to school beyond primary as they need to contribute to their household instead.

The idea of the meritocracy is a classist self-serving myth.

This is all so obvious that I'm beginning to suspect that you are working class. ;)

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:09 PM
the time and money for which you would genetically inherit from your parents, right?

Yes, in the same way that tall people genetically inherit Long Tall Sally loyalty cards and basketballs.

john eden
15-05-2009, 05:12 PM
Yes, in the same way that tall people genetically inherit Long Tall Sally loyalty cards and basketballs.

See I don't even know what Long Tall Sally is, does that make me intelligent or ignorant?

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:13 PM
They are successful, rich, educated people who are also total idiots.

Yes, but idiots would obviously comprise a smaller proportion of these people than they would of unsuccessful, poor, uneducated people. (I'm talking about the UK here)


The idea of the meritocracy is a classist self-serving myth.

Do you mean that the purported meritocracy doesn't actually reward those of more merit or that there are no intrinsic differences in merit and so a meritocracy can never apply?

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:13 PM
See I don't even know what Long Tall Sally is, does that make me intelligent or ignorant?

Male, probably ;)

Slothrop
15-05-2009, 05:16 PM
Its difficult for even the most intelligent person to develop their intelligence if they cant afford to go to school beyond primary as they need to contribute to their household instead.
What percentage of working class people in the UK does that apply to, though.

The idea that class is perpetuated purely by economic exclusion and divided along lines of income seems like a fairly dramatic oversimplification these days...

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 05:16 PM
In the main they are selected for their televisual attributes rather than their business acumen.

It's very similar to Oxbridge, in fact.

I don't think they were ever that fussy on Morse.

You do know you have to pass exams well etc to get into a good university - it's not just about the secret handshake.

john eden
15-05-2009, 05:23 PM
I don't think they were ever that fussy on Morse.

You do know you have to pass exams well etc to get into a good university - it's not just about the secret handshake.

You certainly have to pass the entrance exams and the interview yes. Which people who go to public school are specifically trained for, and the rest of us are not.

Obviously they are genetically predisposed to being able to perform well in these exams and interview tho, so I don't know why the schools bother.

Tentative Andy
15-05-2009, 05:25 PM
What percentage of working class people in the UK does that apply to, though.

The idea that class is perpetuated purely by economic exclusion and divided along lines of income seems like a fairly dramatic oversimplification these days...

Well, sticking specifically to what Droid said, at my high school most of the kids from poorer families were working part-time from 13/14 onwards, which must have some impact on how much time and energy you have for studying etc. I was lucky enough not to have to work regularly until I was 16, and I still found the process of juggling commitments hard to adjust to.
Having said that, I can take your point that class in general is more complicated than it used to be.

Will try and comment on the main debate that is happening with m_b versus most of the rest once I've actually read the article.

IdleRich
15-05-2009, 05:34 PM
"You certainly have to pass the entrance exams and the interview yes. Which people who go to public school are specifically trained for, and the rest of us are not."
I didn't go to public school but my maths teacher did offer to give people practice for the Oxbridge exams and interview. I guess that that was just out of the goodness of his heart and a genuine interest in his pupils and also the type of problems involved so it's definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Slothrop
15-05-2009, 05:35 PM
You certainly have to pass the entrance exams and the interview yes. Which people who go to public school are specifically trained for, and the rest of us are not.
Tbh, slating posho oxbridge admissions tutors for rejecting anyone without a title and an estate in Derbyshire seems like something that the government trot out to emphasize the point that there are obviously ABSOLUTELY NOT massive inequalities all the way down the education system...

john eden
15-05-2009, 05:41 PM
Tbh, slating posho oxbridge admissions tutors for rejecting anyone without a title and an estate in Derbyshire seems like something that the government trot out to emphasize the point that there are obviously ABSOLUTELY NOT massive inequalities all the way down the education system...

Quite clearly working class people do get admitted to Oxbridge. I happen to know one very well - she felt very out of place there, though. Must have been her chromosomes.

vimothy
15-05-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm interested in the movement of working class to middle class that happened during my parents generation. How does genetics explain that? (NB: I'm not particularly well up on the science, but I feel instinctively that it's a mix of nature and nurture.)

Slothrop
15-05-2009, 05:48 PM
Quite clearly working class people do get admitted to Oxbridge. I happen to know one very well - she felt very out of place there, though. Must have been her chromosomes.
I'm not saying that there isn't massive class imbalance at oxbridge, just that it's not entirely because working class kids are being treated brilliantly by society and the education system and on the road to being top acheivers until an evil and slightly camp admissions tutor quaffing cognac in a smoking jacket crushes their nascent ambitions. And that focussing on the oxbridge interview process provides a nice easy scapegoat for people who don't want to do anything about the bigger picture.

vimothy
15-05-2009, 05:50 PM
I also think that doing well academically is 90% effort, to quote the cliche. I haven't met many smart students, and I work for a university.

Tentative Andy
15-05-2009, 05:51 PM
Okay, well having given that a read, here's some initial thoughts. I would have to say that I was a bit concerned about the 'how God made them' comment and would be interested to know how literally he meant it, it's hard to tell without full context. But the main thing that struck me relates to what Martin mentioned - that Woodhead hasn't really specified what he means by 'intelligence'. Some of his comments seem to indicate that he's referring to what one would informally call 'book smarts' and perhaps to an interest in theoretical knowledge, but surely we would all agree that intelligence is more complicated and that there's a lot more too it than this?
As for introducing selection, even if for the sake of argument we allow that this is an acceptable idea, intuitvely the end of primary school seems like too young an age to set it, some children won't have sufficiently matured for it to fair.
I've certainly no objection to more opportunities being provided for the teaching of practical skills to teenagers, but don't feel that this is something that people should be forced or pushed into, obviously that would be something that further enforced class and economic divisions.

mixed_biscuits
15-05-2009, 06:00 PM
Quite clearly working class people do get admitted to Oxbridge. I happen to know one very well - she felt very out of place there, though. Must have been her chromosomes.

Yes, I know of other people who felt the same way, for the same reasons.

It is certain that more able yet worse-prepared students can lose out to less able, better-prepared ones.

The solution is either to set subjects tests that are hard to prepare for (because they have fiendish questions that require ppl to think on their feet rather than requiring regurgitation of recondite material) or use metrics that judge some inherent property of the candidate that may be otherwise partly obscured (such as IQ).

By making the upper grades more accessible, the education system negates the advantages that high ability might confer to the ostensibly unappealing candidate and plays into the hands of candidates who have been trained to play the social game.

Tentative Andy
15-05-2009, 06:03 PM
My basic ideas about intelligence, genetic endowment and childhood environment, based on absolutely no scientific research whatsoever -
I have doubts that there can be one single definition of 'intelligence' that covers all the common uses of the concept. The closest I think we can come to one that is general enough yet still contentful is to define it as a basic capacity to learn, to adsorb information and make use of it, probably with some reference to the speed of this process. It would make sense if this capacity was at least partially genetically inherited, and related at base to properties of the brain.
There is a potential argument that this basic skill will always come bundled with some innate specification to a domain - we see this in our talk of people having more practical or more theoretical minds, more artisic or more scientific minds, etc. I am genuinely unsure about the evidence for or against this claim.
What is clear, however, is that whether or not intelligence is innately tied to an object, the environment a child grows up in, which will include the influence of family, wider community and education, will to some extent limit and direct their intelligence towards certain objects, some of which will happen to be favoured by society and the economy at certain times, some of which will not. It is in this way that a gap between intelligence and success can arise.

droid
15-05-2009, 07:06 PM
What percentage of working class people in the UK does that apply to, though.

The idea that class is perpetuated purely by economic exclusion and divided along lines of income seems like a fairly dramatic oversimplification these days...

Yeah sure, its an extreme example to illustrate a point. There are thousands of different ways that social, economic and cultural factors influence 'success' as well as pure luck and chance of course.

Intelligence (whatever that is) is just one factor. The idea that higher social/economic status is a prime indicator of genetic superiority is something that has been trotted out for millenia, and is, in my eyes, unprovable and dangerous bollocks.

droid
15-05-2009, 07:10 PM
Do you mean that the purported meritocracy doesn't actually reward those of more merit or that there are no intrinsic differences in merit and so a meritocracy can never apply?

That the meritocracy does not exist. That 'merit' (a totally nebulous term) is only one of many factors which influence success, that the idea of the 'meritocracy as actuality' is used by elites to justify their own positions and ignores widescale structural inequalities perpetutated by those elites.

nomadthethird
15-05-2009, 07:29 PM
I think that the point is that it's due to the parents rather than the child - a child that has parents that have a lot of books is likely to be at an advantage relative to other children as it is clear that they have parents who both value learning and are wealthy enough to purchase books. It's then hard to say that the children have inherited intelligence, it may just be that they are in a favourable environment.
That's not to say that intelligence may not have a genetic element.

The problem with the idea that intelligence is only genetic is that, while it's partially true (everything is ultimately genetic at a reductionist level), this belief doesn't account for the fact that phenotypes (that is, genetic traits) often will not or cannot express themselves without certain environmental cues. So an impoverished child with an unstable home life who ends up with ADD and can't graduate from high school is not necessarily genetically less intelligent. But what's certain is that his/her environment was not conducive to expressing the phenotypes that amount to intelligence--it was actually counter-counducive to this.

So there's no possible way to tell who has more intelligent "genes" than others, since there's no way to isolate environmental factors and then test genes for "intelligence", which is an epiphenomenon anyway and can't be easily algorithmically tested. In humans, anyway. Maybe someone could do it with apes or monkeys, but then it wouldn't be a very good experimental model, isolating them from their environment, either.

nomadthethird
15-05-2009, 07:39 PM
Quite clearly working class people do get admitted to Oxbridge. I happen to know one very well - she felt very out of place there, though. Must have been her chromosomes.

I got a scholarship for undergrad for a school that cost more for just one year than my parents were making as salary at the time. When I got there, I was mildly shocked to learn that almost nobody there was on financial aid, and nearly everyone's parents paid out of pocket for tuition and fees. (There were some black kids for diversity's sake of course--African princes...)

I hated it. I had to do really stupid things just to afford to stay there. I shouldn't have bothered. I hated the vast majority of those people, all so "caring" and leftist--except they had no fucking clue how most of the world lives. None whatsoever. They were most of them raging narcissists with received notions from mommy and daddy what they should believe and how they should denounce their privilege.

Fuck those idiots.

don_quixote
15-05-2009, 09:04 PM
not read it yet, but this is the topic i have waited my whole life for. he is the biggest dickhead imaginable. i have seizures whenever he is on the radio. I HATE HIM SO FUCKING MUCH. i want him to rot.

don_quixote
15-05-2009, 09:08 PM
It also seemed to be the case at Oxbridge that students very often had siblings also at the university. I doubt that this is solely the product of insider knowledge or particularly crazed familial work ethics (especially as so many of them were lazy cnuts).

and how many of them went to state schools? give me a fucking break. you know they all went to exclusive public schools with oxbridge 'heritage'.

don_quixote
15-05-2009, 09:24 PM
sorry that was a bit of a knee jerk reaction. i knew people at cambridge who were very clever and not from 'those' schools and my best friends brother was just as intelligent as anyone at oxbridge but hey. my sisters are just as clever as me, just in different areas. thing is, we all had parents who went to uni. it was expected that we were going to go to uni.

going back to the article though:

In his latest book, The Desolation of Learning, which is published next week, he tracks A-level and GCSE exam questions from 1929 to today and argues that standards now are much lower.

BIG CLAP

any fucker can do that.

but judging education on it's exam output rather than it's overall effect is so blinkered it barely justifies comment.

don_quixote
15-05-2009, 09:26 PM
it's like judging how good an album is on how well it has been reviewed.

Mr. Tea
16-05-2009, 12:53 AM
If one believes that a) intelligence has a significant heritable component
Do you believe that?

I was under the impression this is fairly well established.

Mr. Tea
16-05-2009, 01:13 AM
and how many of them went to state schools? give me a fucking break. you know they all went to exclusive public schools with oxbridge 'heritage'.

OK, you admit that was a knee-jerk, but still - there are in fact a number of UK universities with a private/state intake ratio higher than either Oxford or Cambridge. Which goes to show it's not impossible to find an identifiable group of young people who are both posher and less intelligent than a typical year of Oxbridge undergrads. :)

padraig (u.s.)
16-05-2009, 01:26 AM
That the meritocracy does not exist. That 'merit' (a totally nebulous term) is only one of many factors which influence success, that the idea of the 'meritocracy as actuality' is used by elites to justify their own positions and ignores widescale structural inequalities perpetutated by those elites.

bang on. there are many factors which determine success, not the least of which is pure dumb luck.

for all our "classless society" bit there is actually relatively little class mobility here. I don't know for a fact but I suspect this is also largely true in Britain.

I don't know who Chris Woodhead is, but the argument being made in this thread strikes me as about one step up from saying poor people are poor cos they don't work hard enough. only in this case it's cos they're not smart enough.

don_quixote
16-05-2009, 08:51 AM
OK, you admit that was a knee-jerk, but still - there are in fact a number of UK universities with a private/state intake ratio higher than either Oxford or Cambridge. Which goes to show it's not impossible to find an identifiable group of young people who are both posher and less intelligent than a typical year of Oxbridge undergrads. :)

http://www.suttontrust.com/reports/UniversityAdmissions.pdf


Oxbridge admissions
 100 elite schools making up under 3% of 3,700 schools with sixth forms and sixth form
colleges in the UK accounted for a third of admissions to Oxbridge during the last five years.
 At the 30 schools with the highest admissions rates to Oxbridge, one quarter of university
entrants from the schools went to Cambridge and Oxford universities during the five years.
 The schools with the highest admissions rates are highly socially selective. The 30 schools are
composed of 29 independent schools and one grammar. The 100 schools with the highest
admission rates to Oxbridge are composed of 78 independent schools, 21 grammar schools, and
one comprehensive.
 Overall, the top 200 schools and colleges made up 48% of admissions to Oxbridge during the
five years, with 10 per cent of their university entrants going to the two universities. The other
3,500 schools and colleges accounted for the remaining 52% of admissions, with one per cent
of their university entrants going to Oxbridge during the period.

http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/pdfs/loweststateschoolintake.pdf

i know what you're thinking, but it isn't true. oxbridge is still an old boys club. no doubt about it.

don_quixote
16-05-2009, 09:03 AM
and look, i still remember being there in my first week absolutely mystified when people asked me what school i went to. i was all, you're from tunbridge fucking wells, how the hell do you know the schools in leicester? of course they didn't, they just assumed i went to uppingham. or loughborough endowed schools. or whatever other blazer brigades there were around us.

DannyL
16-05-2009, 10:21 AM
Intelligence (whatever that is) is just one factor. The idea that higher social/economic status is a prime indicator of genetic superiority is something that has been trotted out for millenia, and is, in my eyes, unprovable and dangerous bollocks.

I'm only halfway through reading the thread, but true dat.

Some reactionary arsehole trots out a similar line every couple of years in fact.

It's often related to race, as well.

crackerjack
16-05-2009, 11:33 AM
I assumed from the title that this was a revival of an old thread.

But I guess dissensus wasn't around back when Woodhead, as Chief Inspector of Schools, was saying how "experiential and educative" it was for teachers to shag their pupils.

Mr. Tea
16-05-2009, 02:37 PM
http://www.suttontrust.com/reports/UniversityAdmissions.pdf



http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/pdfs/loweststateschoolintake.pdf

i know what you're thinking, but it isn't true. oxbridge is still an old boys club. no doubt about it.

I wasn't saying it wasn't, I just thought there were some unis with lower state-school admissions rates than Oxford or Cambridge - though a quick google tells me this isn't actually the case. I could have sworn things were (slightly) different ten years ago or so when I was making my UCAS applications but maybe things have gone backwards since then? I dunno, I was probably just assuming St. Andrew's was Posho Central because Prince Wills went there. ;)

Tentative Andy
16-05-2009, 03:05 PM
But I guess dissensus wasn't around back when Woodhead, as Chief Inspector of Schools, was saying how "experiential and educative" it was for teachers to shag their pupils.

What? Really???
:eek: :eek: :eek:

don_quixote
16-05-2009, 03:09 PM
yes, really:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22experiential+and+educative%22

Tentative Andy
16-05-2009, 03:13 PM
yes, really:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22experiential+and+educative%22

Fuckin hell....

crackerjack
16-05-2009, 03:53 PM
Fuckin hell....

Perhaps what he really meant was that they can be "experiential and educative" if the teacher happens to be headmaster and future Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead. After all, he should know (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sex-row-crisis-for-woodhead-1069173.html).

don_quixote
16-05-2009, 04:11 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/1999/apr/24/guardianletters

here, bizarrely commented on by future masterchef star john torode

mixed_biscuits
17-05-2009, 01:17 PM
over-representation of some schools' pupils at Oxbridge

The very best public schools and state schools are highly competitive - you would need to be 11+ standard or (far) above to get in. The top students at these schools have scholarships which may pay a large proportion or the entirety of their fees (in other words, you can be poor and a student at Eton).

Many of the ppl I knew at Oxford or Cambridge paid little or nothing for their elite secondary education: smarts got them into a top public or state grammar school, before then gaining them admittance into university. It is the not-so-talented children's parents who will pay through the nose to send them through the private system as, in their parents' eyes, they stand to lose the most by missing out. These students make up the majority of a public school's cohort, but not necessarily the majority of those that they send to the top universities.

It is no wonder that a minority of schools dominate when these schools act precisely as Oxbridge does but at a preliminary stage: exacting entry standards selecting a choice crop of pupils for an education that, being academically demanding, plays to their strengths. They also profit from a virtuous circle: their success attracts a widening pool of applicants, whose increasing talent brings ever more glory come A-Level time.

That said, prep schools offer far more support to children gunning for public school scholarships than state primaries do! (Though many schools use reasoning tests for entry, which are quite resistant to training).

poetix
17-05-2009, 02:28 PM
It's interesting to consider the subset of private or grammar school educated pupils who are encouraged to apply to Oxbridge, and the further subset who are successful. How do they stand in relation to their classmates? You have a tranche of pupils whose social position is fairly (not entirely) homogenous, with some on scholarships/bursaries or government assisted places (although I think the latter scheme, from which I benefitted, has since been discontinued) but probably a majority on neither, with families from the professional middle and upper-middle class. What distinguishes the Oxbridge candidates from the rest? Are they simply the most affluent, those with the most cultural capital in their family background (my parents were primary schoolteachers, who got their teaching diplomas at Bognor Regis college of higher education - but I should also disclose the aunt who went to Oxford on a choral scholarship)? What other factors - sheer luck included - might be involved?

I appreciate that for everyone outside this particular circle of privilege a reasonable reaction might be "who cares?", but if you want to understand why the Oxbridge set tend to think that something other than their social privilege sets them apart, you might want to consider what - if anything - sets them apart from others with the same kinds of social privilege. It may for example be an advantage to be slightly maverick (relative, let me underline again, to one's peers in an already socially/academically selective educational setting) and slightly less comfortably-off, if this makes one appear alert, ambitious and eager to get on.

don_quixote
17-05-2009, 10:17 PM
The very best public schools and state schools are highly competitive - you would need to be 11+ standard or (far) above to get in. The top students at these schools have scholarships which may pay a large proportion or the entirety of their fees (in other words, you can be poor and a student at Eton).

Many of the ppl I knew at Oxford or Cambridge paid little or nothing for their elite secondary education: smarts got them into a top public or state grammar school, before then gaining them admittance into university. It is the not-so-talented children's parents who will pay through the nose to send them through the private system as, in their parents' eyes, they stand to lose the most by missing out. These students make up the majority of a public school's cohort, but not necessarily the majority of those that they send to the top universities.

It is no wonder that a minority of schools dominate when these schools act precisely as Oxbridge does but at a preliminary stage: exacting entry standards selecting a choice crop of pupils for an education that, being academically demanding, plays to their strengths. They also profit from a virtuous circle: their success attracts a widening pool of applicants, whose increasing talent brings ever more glory come A-Level time.

That said, prep schools offer far more support to children gunning for public school scholarships than state primaries do! (Though many schools use reasoning tests for entry, which are quite resistant to training).

have i ever mentioned how much i hate private education:mad:

poetix
17-05-2009, 11:03 PM
have i ever mentioned how much i hate private education:mad:

Just private, or selective in general? Woodhead's class/genetic determinism came up in the context of an argument about grammar schools - the notion being that selection was good for the smattering of mute-inglorious-miltons whom it "lifted out" of their class, while comprehensivisation was bad because it imposed a watered-down academic education on people for whom even that was essentially inappropriate (disclaimer: the foregoing is intended as a precis of that cnut's argument, not a statement of a position that I hold, or am remotely interested in defending).

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 07:37 AM
the foregoing is intended as a precis of that cnut's argument, not a statement of a position that I hold, or am remotely interested in defending).

I am - differentiation is unquestionably pedagogical good practice; grammar schools are part of a differentiation writ large; so grammar schools are good.

The top students deserve an education that is geared to their rate of understanding. This is not necessarily a 'better' education than the comprehensive one; the poor student would find grammar school teaching utterly unsuited to their need for thorough repetition and multimodal delivery.

Would you be against selective university entrance by the same token?

@Don Quixote: would you ban home schooling or block any other attempts by the individual to remove their child from the over-arching apparatus of the state educational system?

Slothrop
18-05-2009, 10:02 AM
Fuck, if someone had told me that I could get in to Cambridge on 'social privilege alone' I wouldn't have bothered revising like a bastard for my A-levels, bricking it over STEP papers and all that sort of stuff. But then I'm a champagne swilling moron so I guess I didn't know any better.

Grammar schools are a bit of an odd one (I went to one, fwiw) - obvious massive down sides but they did at least give some interruptions of the middle class hegemony that seems to have come out of the selection-by-expensive-postcode system we've got at the moment. The obvious answer is forking out for an education system that's universally good, but I guess that would be a bit too easy.

poetix
18-05-2009, 12:37 PM
Very academically-focused pupils are generally correct in their perception that the kind of education offered by the state secondary system isn't well-suited to their needs or abilities. The question is, whose needs and abilities are properly addressed by that system? And are its inadequacies with respect to the academically-inclined specifically due to its being not specially tailored to them, or simply facets of a larger problem experienced in different ways by everyone who remains within it?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 01:04 PM
Very academically-focused pupils are generally correct in their perception that the kind of education offered by the state secondary system isn't well-suited to their needs or abilities. The question is, whose needs and abilities are properly addressed by that system? And are its inadequacies with respect to the academically-inclined specifically due to its being not specially tailored to them, or simply facets of a larger problem experienced in different ways by everyone who remains within it?

I would guess that a standard comp would be geared towards the middle ground, with both the very able and least able losing out due to provision being, inevitably, targeted at the average pupil.*

There has to be a critical mass of very able students before providing suitable teaching becomes viable. It's hard to differentiate effectively for the top 2 or 3 in a comp. class - gather these odd students together to comprise a full grammar set and gearing your teaching to their needs becomes an imperative.

* This also applies at grammars themselves with the very best students often easily besting their teachers.

matt b
18-05-2009, 01:07 PM
Late to reply to this thread, so I'm having to go back a few pages first...


That said, intelligence is their uppermost consideration as it is far more desirable to have an intellectually adaptable (intelligent) working class student than a hot-housed, dim middle-class one. After all, they have to teach them and teaching able students is more fun.

Intelligence is obv strongly correlated with academic success.

All this talk of 'intelligence' is stupid in practice, because that is not what the school/education system are measuring/looking at most of the time.

Indeed, as we have discussed many times before, there is no meaningful way of measuring intelligence. Academic success measures someone's ability to be academically successful (ability to sit exams), not intelligence.

So, what university admissions tutors are actually looking at is an individual student's cultural capital and their ability to express themselves (indeed, some tutors have argued that they would prefer a student who confidently knows nothing over a correct but less self assured candidate).

Those students are far more likely to be middle class, because educational institutions are middle class and the knowledge they favour is middle class knowledge.

Of course this is somewhat of a generalisation- it is a multi-causal process, but genetics has very little to do with Oxbridge success

matt b
18-05-2009, 01:11 PM
And you are more likely to be able to afford them if you are more intelligent, as intelligence enables you to get more of what people generally want - money, for instance.

:rolleyes:

So, according to this logic, Prince Harry's and Paris Hilton's access to means they are more intelligent than a poor person by definition?

matt b
18-05-2009, 01:18 PM
Yes, but idiots would obviously comprise a smaller proportion of these people than they would of unsuccessful, poor, uneducated people. (I'm talking about the UK here)


I love your use of 'obviously' here- do you have any evidence to back this up?

poetix
18-05-2009, 01:32 PM
I would guess that a standard comp would be geared towards the middle ground, with both the very able and least able losing out due to provision being, inevitably, targeted at the average pupil.*

Well, here there's a problem. There really isn't any such thing as the average pupil. If you start measuring aptitude (or whatever it is you think you're measuring) through standardised testing, you get a curve of normal distribution which gives you a sort of image of a large rump of people who are fairly alike with small numbers of outliers at either extreme; but this should be regarded as a fact about statistics rather than a fact about people. (For instance, if you set a multiple choice exam and everyone just guesses the answers, you'll still get a curve of normal distribution, because there are many, many more ways of getting about half the answers right than there are of getting three quarters of them right, and only one way to get them all right).

If you study what actually goes on in an environment where people are learning (not necessarily a classroom), you'll see a lot of variety where you'd expect there to be a homogenous "middle ground"; particularly if people are working together, pooling their strengths and dividing their cognitive labour. There are reasons why it's difficult to get that kind of dynamic going in a classroom full of UK teenagers, particularly when the task at hand is as unengaging for most of them as a lot of schoolwork is, but when it does work it's a force-multiplier for everyone's "intelligence".

poetix
18-05-2009, 01:42 PM
The other reason people tend to think there's a large rump of "average" pupils, is that people tend to look a lot more like each other when they're bored and not trying particularly hard. It's amazing how much more alert and interesting some teenagers turn out to be when you meet them outside the classroom.

baboon2004
18-05-2009, 02:31 PM
I appreciate that for everyone outside this particular circle of privilege a reasonable reaction might be "who cares?", but if you want to understand why the Oxbridge set tend to think that something other than their social privilege sets them apart, you might want to consider what - if anything - sets them apart from others with the same kinds of social privilege. It may for example be an advantage to be slightly maverick (relative, let me underline again, to one's peers in an already socially/academically selective educational setting) and slightly less comfortably-off, if this makes one appear alert, ambitious and eager to get on.

two things, in my experience, one good and one bad -

(i) a general interest in issues and thought, going beyond whatever subject is applied for;
(ii) gobshite levels of confidence - sometimes justified, but often not.

Edit: Must admit I haven't read all of this thread, but my personal irritant re discussions of univerisites, is how people often miss the point by criticising Oxbridge for being elitist, whereas it's the fact that the whole fucking univiersity system is elitist (and certainly not in an academically meritocratic sense) that is the real problem.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:21 PM
:rolleyes:

So, according to this logic, Prince Harry's and Paris Hilton's access to means they are more intelligent than a poor person by definition?

No - they could well be less intelligent than the average poor person but, given two random people - one rich and one poor - the rich one is more likely to be intelligent.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:22 PM
No - they could well be less intelligent than the average poor person but, given two random people - one rich and one poor - the rich one is more likely to be intelligent.

oh, ffs

droid
18-05-2009, 03:22 PM
No - they could well be less intelligent than the average poor person but, given two random people - one rich and one poor - the rich one is more likely to be intelligent.

Absolute nonsense.

Exactly what is this judgment based on?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:23 PM
I love your use of 'obviously' here- do you have any evidence to back this up?

Well, because the mentally disabled, for instance, would be far more likely to be poor than rich. This in itself would drag the average down.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:25 PM
Absolute nonsense.

Exactly what is this judgment based on?

The very slow - those with learning difficulties etc - are not going to live lives of independent means, unless they are very lucky.

Similarly, those in bottom sets of comprehensives (<80 on reasoning tests, perhaps) would have real difficulty holding down a job with any real complexity.

droid
18-05-2009, 03:26 PM
oh, ffs

Give him a chance Matt, he's obviously poor so his brain is smaller. I hear he also has the brain pan of a stage coach tilter.

http://shewalkssoftly.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/wells_physiognomy.gif?w=450&h=458

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:27 PM
Well, because the mentally disabled, for instance, would be far more likely to be poor than rich. This in itself would drag the average down.

what are you talking about?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:30 PM
All this talk of 'intelligence' is stupid in practice, because that is not what the school/education system are measuring/looking at most of the time.

Indeed, as we have discussed many times before, there is no meaningful way of measuring intelligence.

Intelligence is reflected in the quality of people's productive acts. Intelligence tests came into being because someone noticed that people who tend to do comparatively well in task A also tend to do well in task B. Those questions that gave most predicative information about a candidate's chance of doing well on other questions were selected for intelligence tests. The tests are a distillation of a wide range of tasks.

Reasoning scores correlate very highly with SATs and GCSE scores - there is plenty of research out there; I'll post it.

As for 'cultural capital', this has more plausibility if one thinks of students bullshitting their way through a humanities interview, less if the subject is maths or science. What kind of 'cultural capital' would a maths tutor want, other than an understanding of the subject?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:31 PM
what are you talking about?

Well, drag down the average IQ of those people that are poor.

I see that Droid has resorted to ad hominem attack and vague connotation rather than any kind of reasoned argument.

droid
18-05-2009, 03:34 PM
Well, drag down the average IQ of those people that are poor.

I see that Droid has resorted to ad hominem attack and vague connotation rather than any kind of reasoned argument.

Actually, I'm just taking the piss, because your comments seem so demented that further 'reasoned' discussion seems pointless. Sorry for any offense caused.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:38 PM
Intelligence is reflected in the quality of people's productive acts. Intelligence tests came into being because someone noticed that people who tend to do comparatively well in task A also tend to do well in task B. Those questions that gave most predicative information about a candidate's chance of doing well on other questions were selected for intelligence tests. The tests are a distillation of a wide range of tasks.

Reasoning scores correlate very highly with SATs and GCSE scores - there is plenty of research out there; I'll post it.

what are you defining as 'productive tasks'?
what 'intelligence tests' are you refering to?
how are you measuring 'reasoning'?
what do SATS/GCSEs measure?


As for 'cultural capital', this has more plausibility if one thinks of students bullshitting their way through a humanities interview, less if the subject is maths or science. What kind of 'cultural capital' would a maths tutor want, other than an understanding of the subject?

Things like how it is taught, examples used, language used, not forgetting what is put on the curriculum in the first place.

cultural capital has nothing to do with 'bullshitting...'

droid
18-05-2009, 03:39 PM
Well, because the mentally disabled, for instance, would be far more likely to be poor than rich. This in itself would drag the average down.

BTW - there are far more 'poor' people than 'rich' people, so in all likelihood there would be far more mentally disabled 'poor' than 'rich', therefore the contention that an 'average poor' person would be less intelligent than an 'average rich' person due to this factor is just rubbish - statistically speaking of course. It's specious logic.

If you wanted to somehow prove your assertion you would of course exclude people with learning disabilities for this very reason.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:40 PM
Well, drag down the average IQ of those people that are poor.


So rich people either do not have offspring with learning disabilities, or else cast them out, so they are forced to go and live with those working class types?

Slothrop
18-05-2009, 03:45 PM
Things like how it is taught, examples used, language used, not forgetting what is put on the curriculum in the first place.

But this is basically getting down to 'has been taught to be good at maths'. Which represents a problem further down the education system, rather than with the evil admissions tutors giving offers to pupils who actually do well at solving difficult maths problems.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:49 PM
But this is basically getting down to 'has been taught to be good at maths'. Which represents a problem further down the education system, rather than with the evil admissions tutors giving offers to pupils who actually do well at solving difficult maths problems.

my bad, i read it as teachers rather than tutors. Maths tutors want the same as humanities ones, so the point stands.

i haven't said tutors are evil btw.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:50 PM
BTW - there are far more 'poor' people than 'rich' people, so in all likelihood there would be far more mentally disabled 'poor' than 'rich', therefore the contention that an 'average poor' person would be less intelligent than an 'average rich' person due to this factor is just rubbish - statistically speaking of course. It's specious logic.


'More' as in the proportion, as this would effect the average.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:52 PM
So rich people either do not have offspring with learning disabilities, or else cast them out, so they are forced to go and live with those working class types?

Yes, of course they may have offspring with learning difficulties BUT these offspring are less likely to be able to hold on to their money or make more of it than those with higher IQs.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:52 PM
But this is basically getting down to 'has been taught to be good at maths'. Which represents a problem further down the education system, rather than with the evil admissions tutors giving offers to pupils who actually do well at solving difficult maths problems.

...and indeed, it is a problem throughout the education system- able working class kids are less likely to be encouraged to apply to (top) universities, more likley to be put on vocational courses etc etc. As I said upthread, it is a multi causal problem, but class is the single most important factor. 'Intelligence' is a huge red herring.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:55 PM
what are you defining as 'productive tasks'?
what 'intelligence tests' are you refering to?
how are you measuring 'reasoning'?
what do SATS/GCSEs measure?

'Productive tasks' = anything that is produced: utterances, spoken or written; artefacts etc etc

'Intelligence tests' = IQ tests, NVR or VR tests, CAT tests - the latter three all commonly used in British schools.

SATs/GCSEs measure competence in a subject but reflect intelligence as much as anything else - SATs Maths scores, for instance, correlate highly with scores on the ostensibly unrelated material in Non-Verbal Reasoning scores (no arithmetic required, for instance).

Tentative Andy
18-05-2009, 03:55 PM
This thread is starting to make me a little angry. Thanks to matt, droid and d_q for talking sense. Will try and help out, such as I can, in a lil minute.

matt b
18-05-2009, 03:56 PM
Yes, of course they may have offspring with learning difficulties BUT these offspring are less likely to be able to hold on to their money or make more of it than those with higher IQs.

compared to who? Non-disabled people from the same social class? what has that got to do with what we're discussing?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 03:57 PM
...and indeed, it is a problem throughout the education system- able working class kids are less likely to be encouraged to apply to (top) universities, more likley to be put on vocational courses etc etc. As I said upthread, it is a multi causal problem, but class is the single most important factor. 'Intelligence' is a huge red herring.

What you may not know is that reasoning tests, more often than not, serve those without cultural capital, not those with it. A disruptive but bright pupil can turn up at an entrance exam, ace a one-off test involving picking out patterns in symbols and end up with a scholarship.

There were a small bunch of very able, but often very naughty, children at the sink comp I taught in who had Cognitive Ability Test scores that would have made them shoe-ins for local private schools.

The problem was that their parents didn't even know what a private school really was.

Slothrop
18-05-2009, 03:58 PM
my bad, i read it as teachers rather than tutors. Maths tutors want the same as humanities ones, so the point stands.
Assesing someone's potential as a humanities student seems to rely a lot more on intangible impressions, though, which makes the process more susceptible to favouring people who know how to talk the talk. Whereas afaik Cambridge still base a lot of their maths interview process on 'give them some hard elementary problems, see how they get on with them / give them an exam full of hard elementary problems, see how they get on with that.'

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:00 PM
'Productive tasks' = anything that is produced: utterances, spoken or written; artefacts etc etc

'Intelligence tests' = IQ tests, NVR or VR tests, CAT tests - the latter three all commonly used in British schools.

SATs/GCSEs measure competence in a subject but reflect intelligence as much as anything else - SATs Maths scores, for instance, correlate highly with scores on the ostensibly unrelated material in Non-Verbal Reasoning scores (no arithmetic required, for instance).


So you believe that intelligence can be objectively measured?

Even though there is huge amounts of data to suggest that IQ tests measure only the ability to take IQ tests

You believe that vocabulary is a measure of intelligence?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:00 PM
Well, here there's a problem. There really isn't any such thing as the average pupil. If you start measuring aptitude (or whatever it is you think you're measuring) through standardised testing, you get a curve of normal distribution which gives you a sort of image of a large rump of people who are fairly alike with small numbers of outliers at either extreme; but this should be regarded as a fact about statistics rather than a fact about people. (For instance, if you set a multiple choice exam and everyone just guesses the answers, you'll still get a curve of normal distribution, because there are many, many more ways of getting about half the answers right than there are of getting three quarters of them right, and only one way to get them all right)

This argument would be plausible if, on retesting, people's rank within the tested sample changed randomly.

However, reasoning scores are pretty consistent over time and over retesting (this consistency is what test-makers aim for):

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/staff/stevestrand/strand_2004_bjep_consistency_in_reasoning.pdf

droid
18-05-2009, 04:00 PM
'More' as in the proportion, as this would effect the average.

Do you have access to data which shows the distribution of mental disability in relation to income and fertility?

It's 'affect' not 'effect' btw.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:02 PM
So you believe that intelligence can be objectively measured?

Even though there is huge amounts of data to suggest that IQ tests measure only the ability to take IQ tests

You believe that vocabulary is a measure of intelligence?

Yes - though there is a problem in that it can only really be measured in relation to other people's measurements. Psychologists are looking for an objective metric and various candidates appear: eg. reaction time, inspection time etc

Post the data!

Vocab size correlates positively with intelligence, generally speaking.

BareBones
18-05-2009, 04:02 PM
this is sort of weird, but i'm enjoying it

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:02 PM
Assesing someone's potential as a humanities student seems to rely a lot more on intangible impressions, though, which makes the process more susceptible to favouring people who know how to talk the talk. Whereas afaik Cambridge still base a lot of their maths interview process on 'give them some hard elementary problems, see how they get on with them / give them an exam full of hard elementary problems, see how they get on with that.'

I agree to a great extent- maths and physics are two subjects where an entrance exam is still the most important factor in selection. I don't think that has much to do with what we're talking about though, because in the main working class kids will have been selected out of that process long before any admissions test.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:03 PM
Do you have access to data which shows the distribution of mental disability in relation to income and fertility?

It's 'affect' not 'effect' btw.

Sorry, am having to write too many posts. :D

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:07 PM
Yes - though there is a problem in that it can only really be measured in relation to other people's measurements. Psychologists are looking for an objective metric and various candidates appear: eg. reaction time, inspection time etc

Post the data!

Vocab size correlates positively with intelligence, generally speaking.

ok, I would disagree wholeheartedly- IQ tests do not measure innate intelligence. Nor does vocab size

See: Klineberg (1969), (1971); Vernon (1969), various responses to the work of Hernstein and Murray.

There have been a couple of (long) threads here about it over the years.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:10 PM
ok, I would disagree wholeheartedly- IQ tests do not measure innate intelligence. Nor does vocab size

See: Klineberg (1969), (1971); Vernon (1969), various responses to the work of Hernstein and Murray.

There have been a couple of (long) threads here about it over the years.

These are very old!

It's odd: social science has (partly) decided long ago that IQ is meaningless, whilst vast swathes of psychology and neuroscience plough on ahead with it. Go figure...

Vocab size is a reflection of intelligence. Why would it not be?

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:11 PM
This argument would be plausible if, on retesting, people's rank within the tested sample changed randomly.

However, reasoning scores are pretty consistent over time and over retesting (this consistency is what test-makers aim for):

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/staff/stevestrand/strand_2004_bjep_consistency_in_reasoning.pdf

Again, I question the assumption that such tests are measuring intelligence. They are not.

I think you are going even further than Woodhead- at least he sneaks in a 'nurture is important too...' qualification

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:13 PM
Again, I question the assumption that such tests are measuring intelligence. They are not.

I think you are going even further than Woodhead- at least he sneaks in a 'nurture is important too...' qualification

Well, okay, they 'measure the likelihood of doing well in intellectual tasks'.

But that's pretty much the same thing. ;)

btw These reasoning tests are usually used, within schools, to upvalue not devalue individual pupils: a teacher would sooner think 'ooh, this one, from their CATs score is underperforming' than 'whytf is he doing so well when his score is 105?'

Of course nurture is important BUT there have been projects aimed at boosting IQ (with typically underwhelming outcomes)

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:14 PM
These are very old!

It's odd: social science has (partly) decided long ago that IQ is meaningless, whilst vast swathes of psychology and neuroscience plough on ahead with it. Go figure...

Vocab size is a reflection of intelligence. Why would it not be?


That they are old suggests how long ago IQ tests were demeaned.

I don't think the number of people ploughing on with something can be taken as a measure of the ideas accuracy.


vocab size not equalling intelligence: if you don't come into contact with people with large vocabularies for one

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:17 PM
That they are old suggests how long ago IQ tests were demeaned.

I don't think the number of people ploughing on with something can be taken as a measure of the idea's accuracy.

No, but perhaps of its usefulness. It's useful to psychology because it's a way of organising data; it's of no use to sociology because it minimises environmental factors and discussion thereof!

Even Chelsea had their players' IQs tested recently. ;)


vocab size not equalling intelligence: if you don't come into contact with people with large vocabularies for one

Yes, but given two children with identical backgrounds, the more intelligent one will notice and pick up more of their environment than the other. Ceteris paribus innit

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:19 PM
Well, okay, they 'measure the likelihood of doing well in intellectual tasks'.

But that's pretty much the same thing. ;)

btw These reasoning tests are usually used, within schools, to upvalue not devalue individual pupils: a teacher would sooner think 'ooh, this one, from their CATs score is underperforming' than 'whytf is he doing so well when his score is 105?'

Of course nurture is important BUT there have been projects aimed at boosting IQ (with typically underwhelming outcomes)

Obviously, they are not the same thing.

They are also used in streaming and banding etc, and also in the 'well he's only a 105...' manner, so can clearly have the opposite affect to the one you mention.

I don't really understand your last point

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:23 PM
Obviously, they are not the same thing.

They are also used in streaming and banding etc, and also in the 'well he's only a 105...' manner, so can clearly have the opposite affect to the one you mention.

I don't really understand your last point

Did you not read my explanation of how the tests came about? They are precisely the same thing!

In my experience, it's more of the former than the latter, that's all.

With streaming, it's probably fairer and more 'socially just' to band by reasoning scores than SATs results, as the prep-schooled pupils will have been hot-housed beyond their natural level, whilst the sink school ppl will have underperformed. It can serve as a corrective.

That environment is not all-important; that given equally rich soil, one seed will grow into a stronger plant than the other.

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:25 PM
No, but perhaps of its usefulness.

Even Chelsea had their players' IQs tested recently. ;)



Yes, but given two children with identical backgrounds, the more intelligent one will notice and pick up more of their environment than the other. Ceteris paribus innit

Why do you keep changing your frame of reference?

We are talking about social class and intelligence. You have stated that working class people are less intelligent than middle/upper class kids, thus explaining all the inequalities in both the education system and in wider society.

On average (and without making a value judgement) there is plenty of evidence to suggest that working class kids come into contact with fewer words than middle class kids. That doesn't make them less intelligent, and it highlights the foolishness of using vocab as a measure of intelligence.

It does however, allow us to put one small piece of the jigsaw in place that helps us to build the picture explaining why working class kids do less well in school.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:28 PM
We are talking about social class and intelligence. You have stated that working class people are less intelligent than middle/upper class kids, thus explaining all the inequalities in both the education system and in wider society.

By saying that I didn't mean to 'explain' (away) the inequalities of the education system and society at large. It may have, comparatively speaking, very little bearing on these, but I still contend that it is true (albeit for somewhat banal reasons).

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:28 PM
That environment is not all-important; that given equally rich soil, one seed will grow into a stronger plant than the other.

a beautiful, but entirely vacuous analogy

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:30 PM
By saying that I didn't mean to 'explain' (away) the inequalities of the education system and society at large. It may have, comparatively speaking, very little bearing on these, but I still contend that it is true (albeit for somewhat banal reasons).

you must have been the star of your debating society

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:30 PM
a beautiful, but entirely vacuous analogy

Of course it's vacuous if you don't believe in the premise. :D

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:31 PM
you must have been the star of your debating society

ad hominem :slanted:

btw I'm not meaning to pick on you or have a fervent debate. I'm quite phlegmatic nowadays.

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:34 PM
Of course it's vacuous if you don't believe in the premise. :D

You do? You believe that everyone starts out with equal life chances and equal access to the resources required for success?

Seriously?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:35 PM
You do? You believe that everyone starts out with equal life chances and equal access to the resources required for success?

Of course not - I haven't said that at all!

The 'premise' I was referring to was only that there are intrinsic differences between individual specimens that, other things being equal, decide to what extent they might flourish.

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:39 PM
Of course not - I haven't said that at all!

The 'premise' I was referring to was only that there are intrinsic differences between individual specimen that, other things being equal, decide to what extent they might flourish.

the point is, then that other things are not equal. In fact they are so unequal, as to leave any discussion of 'intrinsic differences' essentially irrelevant at the present time.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:44 PM
the point is, then that other things are not equal. In fact they are so unequal, as to leave any discussion of 'intrinsic differences' essentially irrelevant at the present time.

What would 'equality in education' look like? How would *you* set things up?

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:46 PM
"given equally rich soil, one seed will grow into a stronger plant than the other..."

however at the moment, some seeds get all the fertilizer leaves can buy, are talked to by time rich older plants, or even by other species of plants in return for a twig or two, get watered regularly and kept warm at night. They are often taken to entirely different fields to broaden their mulch experience, not to mention structural issues like the potcode lottery.

sorry

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:49 PM
"given equally rich soil, one seed will grow into a stronger plant than the other..."

however at the moment, some seeds get all the fertilizer leaves can buy, are talked to by time rich older plants, or even by other species of plants in return for a twig or two, get watered regularly and kept warm at night. They are often taken to entirely different fields to broaden their mulch experience, not to mention structural issues like the potcode lottery.

sorry

Yes, I agree with all that BUT there are limits to the improvements that one can make. However much some children are helped, they will always struggle with some or all subjects at school. Environmental manipulation is not the panacea.

I appreciate the pun.

Anyway, how would you 'equalise' education?

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:50 PM
What would 'equality in education' look like? How would *you* set things up?

well, you have to start by recognising the inequalities that exist at present. Until that point is reached, there's no point in discussing it

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:52 PM
Yes, I agree with all that BUT there are limits to the improvements that one can make. However much some children are helped, they will always struggle with some or all subjects at school.

No one has said otherwise. That is not the topic of the thread

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:52 PM
well, you have to start by recognising the inequalities that exist at present. Until that point is reached, there's no point in discussing it

Surely people already do recognise the inequalities, they just accord them different weightings when judging their influence.

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:54 PM
No one has said otherwise. That is not the topic of the thread

In a way, it is: working class children struggle at school not just because of social inequalities but because of innate deficiencies. Isn't that what Woodhead said?

DannyL
18-05-2009, 04:55 PM
the point is, then that other things are not equal. In fact they are so unequal, as to leave any discussion of 'intrinsic differences' essentially irrelevant at the present time.

nailed it.

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:55 PM
Surely people already do recognise the inequalities, they just accord them different weightings when judging their influence.

one person doesn't:

In an interview with Education Guardian, [BLANK] says government ministers have convinced themselves that they can make all children "brighter than God made [them]". A child's "genes are likely to be better if their parents are teachers, academics, lawyers", he says

I wonder who it is?

matt b
18-05-2009, 04:56 PM
In a way, it is: working class children struggle at school not just because of social inequalities but because of innate deficiencies. Isn't that what Woodhead said?

oh yeah, but woodhead is A CUNT

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:58 PM
one person doesn't:

In an interview with Education Guardian, [BLANK] says government ministers have convinced themselves that they can make all children "brighter than God made [them]". A child's "genes are likely to be better if their parents are teachers, academics, lawyers", he says

I wonder who it is?

So you think that Woodhead thinks that all children have access to an equally good education? Is that why he was OFSTED boss and bangs on about declining standards all the time?

In any case, you have agreed with his thesis: that environment is not all-determining and that innate differences exist, a few posts back. The only thing is now is to tie innate differences to heredity and you're in the same place as he is. :D

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 04:59 PM
oh yeah, but woodhead is A CUNT

ad hominem? ;)

Anyway, the main object of Woodhead's ire appears to be the Labour government ministers and their utopian policies.

DannyL
18-05-2009, 05:04 PM
In a way, it is: working class children struggle at school not just because of social inequalities but because of innate deficiencies. Isn't that what Woodhead said?

It is what Woodhead has said and it's wrong, because it leaves out so many other factors that affect learning and life chances, and falls back on an ill-defined (and I suspect ill understood) genetic intelligence. The problem with this is that it shows no awareness of the history of these statements, how they have been made throughout history to perpetuate and justify inequality - cultural privelege given a genetic explanation as part of a wider ideological project.

As I'm sure you must be aware, similar statements have been made for hundreds of years about Black people. How would you feel if I tried to explain the inequalities experienced by black people on the basis of their inferior genetics?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 05:06 PM
As I'm sure you must be aware, similar statements have been made for hundreds of years about Black people. How would you feel if I tried to explain the inequalities experienced by black people on the basis of their inferior genetics?

The working classes aren't a 'race' AFAIK, nor really particularly persecuted in the UK (votes too valuable)

john eden
18-05-2009, 05:11 PM
The working classes aren't a 'race' AFAIK, nor really particularly persecuted in the UK (votes too valuable)

Black people aren't "a race" either, are they?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 05:14 PM
Black people aren't "a race" either, are they?

That's why I put scare quotes around that.

All I'm saying... is that equating the historical struggle of black people with the present-day struggle of the British working class might be a bit of a 'stretch'... No?

I would also hazard a guess that one has more chance of ceasing to be working class than ceasing to be black.

DannyL
18-05-2009, 05:15 PM
Well, races aren't "races" either in the sense that they are normally used by agents of prejudice i.e. distinct, easily measurable, scientific catergories with inate characteristics. What they are is social/cultural constructions, which are often employed for ideological ends.

Which is exactly similar to how you're discussing the working classes in this instance.

DannyL
18-05-2009, 05:20 PM
That's why I put scare quotes around that.

All I'm saying... is that equating the historical struggle of black people with the present-day struggle of the British working class might be a bit of a stretch... No?

X post.

I'm not trying to equate the two. I'm pointing out both groups are subject to ideological manoeuvres that justify inequality and reinforce the status quo.



I would also hazard a guess that one has more chance of ceasing to be working class than ceasing to be black.

One may not cease to be black but the status and perception of that group are cetainly subject to huge change. Ideological subjects as I wos saying.

X

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 05:23 PM
I agree: Woodhead has lit the blue touchpaper. As I write, thousands upon thousands of mild-mannered teachers, civil servants and actuaries are sharpening their paperknives for the final assault on the working classes' last redoubt.

Wielding only pool cues, Sky subscription booklets and copies of the Racing Post, our blue collar brothers will soon be vanquished: oh yes, much salt of the earth will be spilt tonight.

DannyL
18-05-2009, 05:26 PM
That's why I put scare quotes around that.

All I'm saying... is that equating the historical struggle of black people with the present-day struggle of the British working class might be a bit of a 'stretch'... No?


I mean, are you saying there isn't a historical struggle that the working classes have engaged in? That'll be news to the SWP. And that present day struggles aren't continuations of this? Or that this was just unimportant, because their genetics were "wrong"? That seems to me to be the inevitable end point of your position.

DannyL
18-05-2009, 05:27 PM
I agree: Woodhead has lit the blue touchpaper. As I write, thousands upon thousands of mild-mannered teachers, civil servants and actuaries are sharpening their paperknives for the final assault on the working classes' last redoubt.

Wielding only pool cues, Sky subscription booklets and copies of the Racing Post, our blue collar brothers will soon be vanquished: oh yes, much salt of the earth will be spilt tonight.

Surely it is exactly in statements like Woodhead's that these ideological battles are fought?

mixed_biscuits
18-05-2009, 05:28 PM
Hmmm...I appear to have planned no lessons for tomorrow...But how could that be?

Gotta go!

*hugs* :D

john eden
18-05-2009, 05:29 PM
That's why I put scare quotes around that.

All I'm saying... is that equating the historical struggle of black people with the present-day struggle of the British working class might be a bit of a 'stretch'... No?


You could also argue that equating the historical struggle of black people with the present day struggle of black people in the UK might be a bit of a stretch.

john eden
18-05-2009, 05:30 PM
Surely it is exactly in statements like Woodhead's that these ideological battles are fought?

Exactly.

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 07:03 PM
These are very old!

It's odd: social science has (partly) decided long ago that IQ is meaningless, whilst vast swathes of psychology and neuroscience plough on ahead with it. Go figure...

Vocab size is a reflection of intelligence. Why would it not be?

Actually, no they don't, except in cases of obvious low function, in order to diagnose severe learning disabilities or mental retardation. No one in the scientific community uses IQ tests to determine intelligence, only to determine who will have difficulty learning.

don_quixote
18-05-2009, 07:03 PM
Assesing someone's potential as a humanities student seems to rely a lot more on intangible impressions, though, which makes the process more susceptible to favouring people who know how to talk the talk. Whereas afaik Cambridge still base a lot of their maths interview process on 'give them some hard elementary problems, see how they get on with them / give them an exam full of hard elementary problems, see how they get on with that.'

i was actually going to make this point to you when you brought up step papers.

however, step papers in themselves can be taught can't they? i mean, they require astounding cognitive ability, but you can still teach them. so those schools who can provide will stand a better chance of successful candidates.

maths is really tough to feign understanding in though, which is probably why a lot of students find it their least favourite subject.




right, on grammar schools;

differentiation; are you KIDDING?? and the idea that broad ability comprehensives only cater for those in the middle is utterly crazy. have you ever been into a school?

i admit i have never been into a grammar school or know what they do there which is so amazing, so i'm coming in as blind as you seem to be about the comprehensive system or whatever it's called nowadays. coming from leicestershire there's just schools and that's it.

but to me it just seems to be a system that perpetuates the myth that there's successful people in life and failures, and marks them down into their respective roles at the age of 11. why not ship them off to the factories then? it also seems to disregard the fact that kids can excel in one subject and not in another and further it just causes divides across families and communities.

that's not differentiation. differentiation is about success but individual success. it shouldn't put the students on a pedestal of 'intelligence'. it should be about individual effort and achievement and doing the best that you can and that ain't what grammar schools say to me.

don_quixote
18-05-2009, 07:06 PM
Vocab size is a reflection of intelligence. Why would it not be?

monkeys and typewriters?

you have to understand what you're saying.

don_quixote
18-05-2009, 07:24 PM
fucking hell...

Selective LEA's. First number is percentage of free school meals in the whole LEA. Second number is free school meals in their secondary moderns. Third number is percentage of free school meals in the selective grammars.

Bexley 13.2 16.5 3.5
Buckinghamshire 7.1 10.9 1.2
Kent 10.2 14.2 2.2
Lincolnshire 10.1 12.6 1.9
Medway 11.7 15.4 3.1
Slough 17.2 24.2 5.1
Southend 12.2 18.0 2.4
Sutton 7.6 11.1 1.2
Torbay 13.1 18.6 3.8
Trafford 20.3 25.7 4.0
All selective LEAs 12.3 14.3 2.4

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 07:26 PM
The other reason people tend to think there's a large rump of "average" pupils, is that people tend to look a lot more like each other when they're bored and not trying particularly hard. It's amazing how much more alert and interesting some teenagers turn out to be when you meet them outside the classroom.

Or when you allow for the fact that some people are shitty readers or writers but they have an aptitude for mechanical engineering, and some people who have "learning disabilities" mysteriously perk up during music class, some who can't stand history love math, etc.

The idea that students should be as "well-rounded" as possible is under fire now, with recent advances in the sciences that suggest that what American teachers are so quick to label a "learning disability" can actually be indicative of a highly focused and specialized intelligence in one area. The rise of autism and ADD also suggests that it's rather useless to try to make everyone fit into the classic "intelligence" mold, since some of the most intelligent people in the world are the farthest thing from intellectually "balanced"...it's possible that some "disabilities" are actually very high aptitudes that we simply can't fit into our little mold.

In the U.S. it's taken for granted that the public school system is only meant to force students through by passing them. This creates the problem of "lowest common denominator" teaching, where classically "intelligent" students are bored because the curriculum gets ever watered down to accommodate everyone. So the conventional wisdom is that smarter kids should go to prep schools that prepare pupils for college. And what kind of positive effect does this have? None, really. It means the common denominator keeps getting lower, and more "smart" students try like hell to get into magnet schools, while the public school system sinks farther and farther below its own standards.

Anyway, the issue is not that intelligence is one aptitude, or set of them, that everyone either has or doesn't--it's well-recognized that there are at least ten different sorts of "cognitive aptitude" and probably a lot more, so that in the future schooling will become more specialized rather than less so.

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 07:27 PM
monkeys and typewriters?

you have to understand what you're saying.

He should be thankful my friend who wrote her thesis on the anti-semitic origins of the SAT is not reading this thread.

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 07:42 PM
So rich people either do not have offspring with learning disabilities, or else cast them out, so they are forced to go and live with those working class types?

This is hilarious, since all (very literally, I can think of no exceptions) of the richest kids I knew in college had been labeled ADD thanks to their very concerned parents, who could afford to consult several shrinks till they found the script happy one, and did this happily so their child could get a legal prescription of dextroamphetamine that would give them a competitive edge over their prep schoolmates.

Only problem-- they were all on adderal so it didn't really give any of them an edge. It just made them drug addicts from a very young age.

For a while I worked at a doctor's answering service, and more than half the messages I took were from college students with ADD who had "lost" their script and needed a new one faxed to the pharmacy STAT.

vimothy
18-05-2009, 08:19 PM
maths is really tough to feign understanding in

Au contraire....

massrock
18-05-2009, 08:34 PM
This isn't necessarily just a reply to you nomad but I'll quote you because I pretty much agree with what you say here and it's usefully illustrative.

Or when you allow for the fact that some people are shitty readers or writers but they have an aptitude for mechanical engineering, and some people who have "learning disabilities" mysteriously perk up during music class, some who can't stand history love math, etc.

The idea that students should be as "well-rounded" as possible is under fire now, with recent advances in the sciences that suggest that what American teachers are so quick to label a "learning disability" can actually be indicative of a highly focused and specialized intelligence in one area. The rise of autism and ADD also suggests that it's rather useless to try to make everyone fit into the classic "intelligence" mold, since some of the most intelligent people in the world are the farthest thing from intellectually "balanced"...it's possible that some "disabilities" are actually very high aptitudes that we simply can't fit into our little mold.
I don't know much about the guy's (Woodhead) track record and the 'genes' bit seems pretty ill advised and also makes me wary of his motives but this above would seem to be kind of what he's getting at in that interview, though obviously he has his biases wrt what he considers the 'right' kind of intelligence. But broadly the (obvious) point is that not everyone is going to be at their best in classically 'academic' areas so it's not productive to try and fit all students into that mould or judge them by those standards. Should stress I'm not saying I agree with what might be proposed as solutions to the way schools fail to deal with these diversities or why that might be the case. Also most of what I can see in that article is the interviewer's interpretation so it's not really the best way to be informed.

Anyway, the issue is not that intelligence is one aptitude, or set of them, that everyone either has or doesn't--it's well-recognized that there are at least ten different sorts of "cognitive aptitude" and probably a lot more, so that in the future schooling will become more specialized rather than less so.
And the criticisms of one size fits all education would be much better and make more sense if stated in those terms.

Audio here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/audio/2009/may/11/school-standards-woodhead) btw. I listened but I didn't hear the comment about genes.

josef k.
18-05-2009, 08:44 PM
I mean, are you saying there isn't a historical struggle that the working classes have engaged in? That'll be news to the SWP.

The SWP are definitely the authorities.

massrock
18-05-2009, 08:54 PM
I mean obviously there are massive problems with what he says there and he does seem to be a bit of a cnut but I don't think it makes sense to hold off trying to make improvements to an education system until all of societies wider inequalities have been addressed.

I say this based in part on my own experience. I went to a badly failing and dysfunctional comprehensive school and I can say that it certainly would have been better for all concerned if there had been other options for some of the kids there than to be in those classes. Classes that were quite literally barely happening!

'Disruption' on the part of the kids and either a siege mentality or just total despair on the part of the teachers had become an endemic culture there and hardly anything in the way of 'eduction' was taking place*. It was totally out of control. Large numbers of students just weren't turning up anyway, myself among them at times. In the end exam results were terrible or non-existent and half the staff had quit or had had nervous breakdowns. Whatever the underlying reasons for all this in the end nobody was benefiting.

*Actually I now consider this to have been a fortuitous evasion of early indoctrination but still!

vimothy
18-05-2009, 09:10 PM
This has been an interesting thread.

vimothy
18-05-2009, 09:22 PM
I suppose that one of the ways I would read this thread is in terms of positioning relative to the issue of heritable intelligence. Positions are important, definitive, perhaps. So the positions are one thing, and the science is something else, though the two are probably not distinct. Intersecting this is the story about education, which is about institutional (organisational) incentives, and prescriptive policy, and also, of course, about positioning. A lot of stories...

massrock
18-05-2009, 09:31 PM
Stoner.

vimothy
18-05-2009, 09:34 PM
It's in my blood.

massrock
18-05-2009, 09:36 PM
Nothing wrong with getting a bit meta.

It seems that the heredity thing is something the Guardian article picked up on and it's surely questionable but it's not the only thing being discussed. Also I do get the impression that this chap Woodhead is not especially popular among public sector teachers ;)

vimothy
18-05-2009, 09:49 PM
Questions are interesting, and so are discussions. I'm also fascinated by the way organisations function and reproduce themselves, set themselves goals and assess their progress in achieving them. Thinking about it is quite instructive -- I mean, what actually is the purpose of the education system in general and, say, colleges in particular?

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 10:58 PM
And the criticisms of one size fits all education would be much better and make more sense if stated in those terms.

Audio here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/audio/2009/may/11/school-standards-woodhead) btw. I listened but I didn't hear the comment about genes.

I really don't know enough about British political parties to understand Woodhead's points about Labour's approach to education, but I do know that one thing he said rang true about American education as well: that both Labour's (the more leftwing) and the Conservative Party's (the more rightwing) approaches to education are lacking and suffer from being too similar in the wrong ways.

In the U.S., the Bush administration came swooping in and made a lot of noise about educational reform, overturning the Clinton era emphasis on "outcome-based" education with No Child Left Behind, an attempt to ensure that the educational progress of all students is rigorously watched after by the government and measured according to increasing numbers of standardized tests. The overall effect of this policy has been, however, not to challenge all students to meet a high standard of achievement; what has happened is copious financial resources that could have been much better spent instead were alloted to developing and proctoring tests that in fact lowered the educational bar. With all of the pressure on teachers to get all students up to standardized snuff, the curriculum has lost out tremendously, as has the creativity of individual teachers.

Teaching for the test, and only what is on the test, rather than teaching students how to learn and think critically, is ultimately the failure of any educational system rather than its saving grace.

don_quixote
18-05-2009, 11:02 PM
but woodhead's premise is that the whole point of teaching is the test! all he seems to analyse is the test.

but, on the other hand, the only immediate output of education that is valued is the test.

in a way it would be preferable to only have functional skills tests in maths, literacy and ict and building up other skills based training around that.

scottdisco
18-05-2009, 11:03 PM
fucking hell...

Selective LEA's. First number is percentage of free school meals in the whole LEA. Second number is free school meals in their secondary moderns. Third number is percentage of free school meals in the selective grammars.

Bexley 13.2 16.5 3.5
Buckinghamshire 7.1 10.9 1.2
Kent 10.2 14.2 2.2
Lincolnshire 10.1 12.6 1.9
Medway 11.7 15.4 3.1
Slough 17.2 24.2 5.1
Southend 12.2 18.0 2.4
Sutton 7.6 11.1 1.2
Torbay 13.1 18.6 3.8
Trafford 20.3 25.7 4.0
All selective LEAs 12.3 14.3 2.4

oh wow i went to a selective grammar in Trafford.

sorry nowt to add to the thread ;)

nomadthethird
18-05-2009, 11:19 PM
in a way it would be preferable to only have functional skills tests in maths, literacy and ict and building up other skills based training around that.

I think I agree...my suggestion would be percentage grades for math, spelling, multiple choice questions, and letter grades for the rest. In high school, percentage grades should count for only some of the final grade--in my college, "participation" or engagment with the material counted as 25% of your final letter grade, which helped motivate people without focusing too much on tests.

It's hard to say whether grades should be given up entirely...I know a few people who went to Hampshire and Sarah Lawrence, quite good colleges that don't give formal grades, just lengthy individualized progress evaluations. For some, the lack of accountability made them work harder and self-select high goals, while for others, they did jack shit and knew they'd get away with it. But is this any different than what goes on in formally graded classrooms? I learned quickly (tho I expected my college to be difficult) that I could scrape out an A- GPA if I wrote good papers, even if I rarely showed up for class. So that's what I did, unless a class was particularly thrilling to me, then I'd show up more often.

josef k.
18-05-2009, 11:50 PM
I mean, what actually is the purpose of the education system in general and, say, colleges in particular?

That is a very good question, which is only partially addressed by noting that certain sectors of society find themselves better equipped "to succeed" in the system that exists...

It seems clear that the reproduction of the middle class, even extending opportunities for all sectors of society to join the middle class, can't be the goal. Even if a genuine meritocracy could be achieved, which is doubtful, it wouldn't be enough to address the issue.

Once upon a time, the great goal of bourgeois education (Kant) was to "educate people for the good of humanity." Tony Blair stated later: the objective is to train the labor force. It strikes me that readjusting the traps in the rat race (so people from less privileged backgrounds receive the same opportunities as people from more privileged backgrounds) while desirable, isn't a comprehensive political solution to the question of the role that education has to play in society. Ranciere wrote some stuff about this, but I haven't read it.

vimothy
19-05-2009, 12:18 AM
I'm convinced that education is not a panacea, and think that the most important determinant of educational outcome is cultural, not genetic.

But what education should do and what it does do are obviously not necessarily the same. Blair might have claimed that training the future workforce is the goal -- perhaps his vision is not so different to Kant's -- and he might have even believed it, but he confuses what he wants with what an organisation actually does, which is to say, one might hope that future workers are well trained by the education system (or not), but what the education system does is produce performance indicators and measures of attainment, which is not quite the same thing, if a lot more straighforward.

Mr. Tea
19-05-2009, 12:46 AM
Those students are far more likely to be middle class, because educational institutions are middle class and the knowledge they favour is middle class knowledge.


I know this is from aaaages back, but what do you mean by "middle-class knowledge", matt? Do you mean academic knowledge rather than vocational skills, or what? No-one is born with knowledge, are they, so the kind and quantity of knowledge they pick up at school will depend on a) what they're interested in, b) how attentive/motivated they are and c) the make-up of the teacher body at that school (plus also perhaps d) the general culture among the other kids). Obviously there's not much a particular child or his/her parents can do about c) and d)* but a huge factor in determining a) and b) will be the kind of culture they come from at home. A lot of kids grow in houses with hardly any books in them, and where academic learning is regarded with suspicion or indifference, and whatever congenital disposition towards intelligence exists is going to be facing an uphill struggle to manifest itself to anything like the same degree it would in a home where learning is encouraged. And parents that value education are more likely have benefited from it themselves and will probably have above-median incomes. Hence the smaller proportion of kids on free meals attending grammar schools. Note, by the way, that none of this argument depends in the least on genetics.

Anyway, got a bit sidetracked there. So if you're saying that it would be a lot better if pupils were offered more specialised education from an earlier age to fit their aptitudes and interests, then I agree with you entirely. Someone mentioned earlier that clever working-class pupils are more likely to be encouraged to take up vocational training rather than a university degree and this is a problem; at the same time a hell of a lot of kids are going to university to do degrees or 'degrees' that won't really benefit them and are going to end up being largely a waste of time and money.

[wide-eyed naivety]
Ideally, people should be encouraged to find something they like and are can do, with as little prejudice (either for traditional academia or against it) as possible. If a solicitor's daughter shows interest and aptitude as a welder, or a welder's son wants to take a law degree and can pass the exams to get in, then great, go for it.
[/wide-eyed naivety]



*other than move to the catchment area of a school with better exam results, and we all know what that leads to.

don_quixote
19-05-2009, 06:20 AM
all human beings have an awesome capacity to learn; this isn't based on class. see how girls will learn unbelievably complex dance routines to their favourite pop songs or how boys will adopt swathes of knowledge about football teams or cars.

have there ever been studies done on adopted kids in middle class families?

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 07:26 AM
right, on grammar schools;

differentiation; are you KIDDING?? and the idea that broad ability comprehensives only cater for those in the middle is utterly crazy. have you ever been into a school?

i admit i have never been into a grammar school or know what they do there which is so amazing, so i'm coming in as blind as you seem to be about the comprehensive system or whatever it's called nowadays. coming from leicestershire there's just schools and that's it.

but to me it just seems to be a system that perpetuates the myth that there's successful people in life and failures, and marks them down into their respective roles at the age of 11. why not ship them off to the factories then? it also seems to disregard the fact that kids can excel in one subject and not in another and further it just causes divides across families and communities.

I've taught in a comprehensive and noticed that the top 5-10&#37; of the top sets were not particularly well-served by the pace of teaching. 5-10% is not really a large enough proportion of the class for teachers to feel obliged to cater to. There are stats to back this up - will dredge up.

My secondary schooling was at a grammar school. My primary schooling was at a state primary, which quite effectively showed how not to cater for the best students - my friend and I had finished all their books a year early and were then dispatched to a shed for almost the entirety of Junior 4, to build a papier mache boat.

Realistically though, being in the 'bottom' 93% (cut-off for grammar schools near here) is not really a 'fail' is it? It's like thinking that failing to get into Oxbridge (top 2%?) is a 'fail'. (Only the middle classes would consider it such!) The truth is that many of the students who fail to get into a grammar would be poorly served by the teaching they would receive there - they would find it too quick, the delivery too abstract.

Would you make universities academically non-selective? The current system, with in-house exams and large inequalities in teaching quality, is surely unjust?

It would be a mistake to reduce the current number of tests still further (ie. get rid of KS2) - they ensure that the curriculum gets taught and that the worst performers are uppermost in the teacher's mind (and this is coming from a maverick teacher, style-wise, who finds the revision that this entails pretty dull). This pertains particularly to Maths, where its essential that each concept is understood thoroughly before introducing the next one.

I'm still interested in finding out how you all would structure your own education system...

PS - You can still get into grammar school on failing the 11+: your school must make an appeal and attest to your suitability. We've done it this year for someone; it's a reasonably common occurence.

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 07:35 AM
Performance on intelligence tests is known to be associated with class mobility, with
high scorers tending to move up the socio-economic hierarchy, and low scorers tending
to move down. However, much remains unknown about the association. It is possible
that the importance of intelligence varies across different occupational areas, or that
there is friction acting against mobility, such that a person from an underprivileged
background would have to be more intelligent in order to reach a given position than
someone who had had greater social advantage. Data from a longitudinal study of a
broad, socially representative cohort of the British population (the NCDS) are used to
investigate these questions. The results show that intelligence test scores in childhood
are associated with class mobility in adulthood uniformly across all social classes. There
is no evidence that those from underprivileged backgrounds have to be disproportionately
able in order to reach the professional classes. The study reveals an apparently
high level of social mobility and meritocracy in contemporary Britain.

http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettle/britishjournalpsychology.pdf

So maybe the wannabe class warriors can put this in their pipe, put their feet up and smoke it?

matt b
19-05-2009, 09:51 AM
I know this is from aaaages back, but what do you mean by "middle-class knowledge", matt? Do you mean academic knowledge rather than vocational skills, or what?

I'd go with Bourdieu's conception of culture capital, that is-
forms of knowledge, values, ways of interacting and communicating ideas.

[copies/pastes from student resource book]

Unscramble the following anagrams:

VIVA DUE, LENGTHEN BOW =_____________________________________________

DANGEROUS WALTZ AMMO FAG =_________________________________________

JEAN HATH CANNABIS, SOB = ____________________________________________


Suggest two reasons why it may be easier for middle class children to successfully complete this task

droid
19-05-2009, 09:58 AM
Disturbing finding from LSE study - social mobility in Britain lower than other advanced countries and declining


In a comparison of eight European and North American countries, Britain and the United States have the lowest social mobility
Social mobility in Britain has declined whereas in the US it is stable
Part of the reason for Britain's decline has been that the better off have benefited disproportionately from increased educational opportunity


Researchers from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) have compared the life chances of British children with those in other advanced countries for a study sponsored by the Sutton Trust, and the results are disturbing.

Jo Blanden, Paul Gregg and Steve Machin found that social mobility in Britain - the way in which someone's adult outcomes are related to their circumstances as a child - is lower than in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. And while the gap in opportunities between the rich and poor is similar in Britain and the US, in the US it is at least static, while in Britain it is getting wider.

A careful comparison reveals that the USA and Britain are at the bottom with the lowest social mobility. Norway has the greatest social mobility, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Germany is around the middle of the two extremes, and Canada was found to be much more mobile than the UK.

Comparing surveys of children born in the 1950s and the 1970s, the researchers went on to examine the reason for Britain's low, and declining, mobility. They found that it is in part due to the strong and increasing relationship between family income and educational attainment.

For these children, additional opportunities to stay in education at age 16 and age 18 disproportionately benefited those from better off backgrounds. For a more recent cohort born in the early 1980s the gap between those staying on in education at age 16 narrowed, but inequality of access to higher education has widened further: while the proportion of people from the poorest fifth of families obtaining a degree has increased from 6 per cent to 9 per cent, the graduation rates for the richest fifth have risen from 20 per cent to 47 per cent.

The researchers concluded: 'The strength of the relationship between educational attainment and family income, especially for access to higher education, is at the heart of Britain's low mobility culture and what sets us apart from other European and North American countries.'

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: 'These findings are truly shocking. The results show that social mobility in Britain is much lower than in other advanced countries and is declining - those from less privileged backgrounds are more likely to continue facing disadvantage into adulthood, and the affluent continue to benefit disproportionately from educational opportunities. I established the Sutton Trust to help address the issue, and to ensure that all young people, regardless of their background, have access to the most appropriate educational opportunities, right from early years care through to university.'

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/ERD/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2005/LSE_SuttonTrust_report.aspx

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 01:01 PM
Your abstract's bigger than my abstract. :eek:

Biscuit's Law states that an academic paper can be found to support any point of view.*

It might be more helpful either to find academic rebuttals directed at the exact paper that I posted or make a fine-grained comparison of the methodologies and findings of both of our papers.

But then again, this is an internet forum and can anyone really be arsed to do either? :D

Am disappointed that no-one's willing to provide a personal, big-picture vision for educational reform. I may just rustle one up if no-one else is game...

* Not that our papers' conclusions are contradictory, as mine discusses social mobility with relation to intelligence whilst yours looks at social mobility in relation to social class.

droid
19-05-2009, 01:17 PM
* Not that our papers' conclusions are contradictory.

Yes, no contradiciton there at all.

The study reveals an apparently high level of social mobility and meritocracy in contemporary Britain.

Vs


Social mobility in Britain lower than other advanced countries and declining

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 01:19 PM
Yes, no contradiction there at all.

Exactly: mine discusses social mobility with relation to intelligence whilst yours looks at social mobility in relation to social class.

These can be squared!

...

Apparent deficits in social mobility can be explained by differences in the potential for social mobility = intelligence. ;-)

Comparisons with other countries need not be especially illustrative of anything...

droid
19-05-2009, 01:21 PM
Someone please shoot me now.

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 01:23 PM
Someone please shoot me now.

I've got a better idea: find an academic rebuttal of my paper.

poetix
19-05-2009, 01:24 PM
I'd go with Bourdieu's conception of culture capital, that is-
forms of knowledge, values, ways of interacting and communicating ideas.

[copies/pastes from student resource book]

Unscramble the following anagrams:

VIVA DUE, LENGTHEN BOW =_____________________________________________

DANGEROUS WALTZ AMMO FAG =_________________________________________

JEAN HATH CANNABIS, SOB = ____________________________________________


Suggest two reasons why it may be easier for middle class children to successfully complete this task

Does it tell you they're meant to be composers?

matt b
19-05-2009, 01:43 PM
Does it tell you they're meant to be composers?

the question? no it doesn't (not that that makes a lot of difference tbh)

matt b
19-05-2009, 01:50 PM
I've got a better idea: find an academic rebuttal of my paper.

i think it might be easier if you read what people post more carefully

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 01:51 PM
i think it might be easier if you read what people post more carefully

Explain with an example pls...

(I've already made it clear how our papers don't contradict each other)

matt b
19-05-2009, 01:57 PM
social mobility is not high in this country:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/apr/25/socialexclusion.accesstouniversity

you can't measure intelligence.

that paper is full of qualifications and half made statements

mobility has collapsed since the 1958 birth date of the sample in that study

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 02:01 PM
social mobility is not high in this country:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/apr/25/socialexclusion.accesstouniversity

you can't measure intelligence.

that paper is full of qualifications and half made statements

Social mobility need not be 'high' - whatever that means - for it to be 'just': ie. for those who merit progression upwards to progress. This is what the paper I posted says, after all: those who have ability can make progress, whatever their station.

In the context from which the paper comes, your second objection doesn't come into it. Not that you have a good argument why intelligence cannot be measured. I've already explained how reasoning tests strongly predict success at intellectual tasks and can provide masses of evidence...Even from the analysis I have done of my own classes!

You're not an academic; find an academic paper that says this. Or provide plenty of evidence from your own reading...

Without thorough analysis both my paper and Droid's papers are TRUE. Thus the truth as a whole must comprise both of the papers' findings - it must be a synthesis. To prove either FALSE is not easy. Quibbling over 'social mobility' is a semantic issue as the papers have different ideas of what it means (the contradiction is only apparent).

matt b
19-05-2009, 02:12 PM
Quickly:

"The frequency distribution of class trajectory (Fig. 1) shows that, for the
men, 39.5&#37; of individuals are in the same class as their father, and 29.6% have gone upby one class. Much of this movement represents not so much individual social mobility as the general change in occupational structure of the British economy" p5

"It is statistically problematic to search for a general correlation between GA score
and class mobility" p6

"Of course, the significanceof the findings should not be overstated. The vast majority of variation in both attained class and class mobility is not accounted for by IQ" p10

And he cites Murray, which no sane academic would bother doing

I love it that when others post evidence, you get sniffy, but your abstract is PURE GOLD! Beautiful.

scottdisco
19-05-2009, 02:16 PM
And he cites Murray, which no sane academic would bother doing

would that be Charles Murray of bell-curve fame?

now that bloke is a proper cunt

matt b
19-05-2009, 02:18 PM
would that be Charles Murray of bell-curve fame?

now that bloke is a proper cunt

oh yes.

and

oh yes.

nomadthethird
19-05-2009, 02:30 PM
I've got a better idea: find an academic rebuttal of my paper.

I've got an even better idea: get out of your own class situation for a minute and find a ghetto somewhere. Take a look around. You will see that, not only do you not need an MBA or a degree in economics to make shitloads of money off people's misery, but that you don't even need to go to school to learn how!

The difference between the projects and Wall Street: skin color, dialect, not much else.

Grievous Angel
19-05-2009, 02:44 PM
Nah, the restaurants on Wall St are much better. Well, they used to be anyway.

DannyL
19-05-2009, 02:44 PM
would that be Charles Murray of bell-curve fame?

now that bloke is a proper cunt

Are you fucking serious! I was going to quote him yesterday when talking about race. For fucks sake. If you don't know who he is Biscuits, he argued that effectively there was no racism. Same way you're arguing that class prejudice doesn't exist.

Am afraid I am too hungover to string together anything more coherent. My working class genes compelled me to go to the pub last night. It has defintely had a negative effect on my intelligence today :o

mixed_biscuits
19-05-2009, 02:58 PM
Playing Devil's Advocate was fun at first, but is beginning to feel a little pointless. :D

nomadthethird
19-05-2009, 03:06 PM
the question? no it doesn't (not that that makes a lot of difference tbh)

If the anagrams were made of names like LIL WAYNE and KANYE WEST my mother wouldn't get them but even the most "average" high schooler would. German spellings and prepositions elude even the very intelligent who are non-native speakers.

My father dropped out of high school, was probably just shy of qualifying special ed, but he is a mass and x-ray spectrometer repairman (one of about two in central NY), a certified electrician, was an inorganic chemist for a zinc company, and now he's a network engineer. He's probably smarter than I am, in a different way. Not the highest EQ in the world but he tries...

Anyway, enough with suborning nonsense. This thread is meh retarded. "There's no such thing as economics or politics just individduuals" thinking at its most obliviously and gloriously unaware. I thought Dissensus had exhausted the Bell Curve for good but it looks not.

josef k.
19-05-2009, 03:12 PM
It's not fair.

comelately
19-05-2009, 07:37 PM
The point is that things have got worse, surely? Isn't that the synthesis of the two papers? That where an increase in managerial and technical workforce is needed, the floodgates will open to the intelligent in the lower classes? When it isn't, the gates are largely closed?

Is a corporate headhunter of a lower class than an accountant? Surely the idea that professional > managerial isn't as obvious as it once was? I wouldn't expect the teenage son of an accountant in 2009 to want to be an accountant - he might well want to be a Nathan, or a pro skateboarder, and might well get to be. Which is why I suspect that all this talk of 'social mobility' between 'one class' and 'another' feels like it's not really grasping the problem firmly.

josef k.
19-05-2009, 08:15 PM
Q: Are things less fair then they were?

comelately
19-05-2009, 11:30 PM
Yes. I think class is an issue in Britain, but I think it's more about money and alienation.

Mr. Tea
19-05-2009, 11:41 PM
I'd go with Bourdieu's conception of culture capital, that is-
forms of knowledge, values, ways of interacting and communicating ideas.

[copies/pastes from student resource book]

Unscramble the following anagrams:

VIVA DUE, LENGTHEN BOW =_____________________________________________

DANGEROUS WALTZ AMMO FAG =_________________________________________

JEAN HATH CANNABIS, SOB = ____________________________________________


Suggest two reasons why it may be easier for middle class children to successfully complete this task

The only reason I can think of is that they're likely to have bigger vocabularies, on account of having been exposed to more books at home. Is that what you're getting at? In which case it's a bit like complaining that the high jump is biased towards tall people - well yes, of course it is, but...

Actually there's another possible explanation, which is that the answers are all things like SHIRAZ CABERNET as opposed to STELLA ARTOIS or whatever. Is this what you mean? I don't know what the answers are because (middle-class or not) it's practically impossible to unscramble anagrams like that when you have no idea how many words to make or what they mean. I'm pretty sure I never came across any test or question quite like that in the whole time I was at school - and even if some kids have to do them, I'm sure ultra-cryptic anagrams make up a small part of the overall syllabus compared to stuff like spelling, history, algebra, chemistry and so on. Are these all forms of 'middle-class knowledge' too?

There's no such thing as 'middle-class' or 'working-class' knowledge. There's just knowledge, which some children are more receptive to than others.

matt b
20-05-2009, 09:39 AM
Actually there's another possible explanation, which is that the answers are all things like SHIRAZ CABERNET as opposed to STELLA ARTOIS or whatever.

yep. And that m. class kids are more likely to have come across (cryptic) crosswords


There's no such thing as 'middle-class' or 'working-class' knowledge. There's just knowledge, which some children are more receptive to than others.

It is also about access to knowledge, and what types of knowledge are favoured within the education system.

But, of course there are not m. class/w. class types of knowledge per se

droid
20-05-2009, 09:53 AM
And surely, working class kids are less likely to be familiar with classical composers?

matt b
20-05-2009, 10:04 AM
And surely, working class kids are less likely to be familiar with classical composers?

yeah- tea's shiraz/stella point

poetix
20-05-2009, 11:17 AM
An interesting thought experiment is to substitute "character" for "intelligence". Suppose that character is heritable (whether "genetically" or through home environment) and that some character traits make for worldly success more than others. Suppose that there is some such thing as "general character", or "C", for which there is supposed to be some measure (using phrenomenology, say, or neurotransmitters...) and which gives an indication of whether a person is of "high" or "low" character. High-characters are more likely to be diligent, altruistic, responsible, honest etc., and as a result of this rise to the top of the professions (stop giggling at the back there). Low-characters are sneaky, feckless egotists with poor impulse control; they're lucky if they can hold on to a job at all. A society is meritocratic and well-ordered, to the extent that it enables the high-charactered to flourish and assume positions of status and responsibility, and compassionate to the extent that it looks after the low-charactered while keeping them away from sharp implements. And so on. Isn't that after what Martin Luther King dreamed of? That a man might be judged not by the colour of his skin, but by the content of his character? etc., etc.

Question: is this more or less obviously offensive, classist, risibly stupid etc. than the "intelligence"-based account of social station and mobility? Is there anyone who perceives that the above is pernicious nonsense, but still believes that an analogous account involving "intelligence" might have some merit?

vimothy
20-05-2009, 11:35 AM
You're conflating several things here, though, and I'm not sure that it is helpful. I would be more interested in learning exactly what is heritable and why. As far as I'm aware, no one on the genetics side thinks that it is all nature, but rather that it is both nature and nurture, which seems reasonable to me, though perhaps this reflects my lack of understanding, or indeed, my structural racism. Does being able to run fast have a genetic component? Hand-eye coordination? Is it the case that physical attributes have a genetic component, whereas there is a mysterious 'mental' set of distinctly non-physical attributes that accrue to the child from birth?

Mr. Tea
20-05-2009, 12:19 PM
And surely, working class kids are less likely to be familiar with classical composers?

That may well be the case, but I can't think of a test I was ever graded on at school that involved my having to write down all the composers I could think of.

OTOH, I was never tested on my knowledge of boxers, either.

poetix
20-05-2009, 02:06 PM
You're conflating several things here, though, and I'm not sure that it is helpful. I would be more interested in learning exactly what is heritable and why. As far as I'm aware, no one on the genetics side thinks that it is all nature, but rather that it is both nature and nurture, which seems reasonable to me, though perhaps this reflects my lack of understanding, or indeed, my structural racism. Does being able to run fast have a genetic component? Hand-eye coordination? Is it the case that physical attributes have a genetic component, whereas there is a mysterious 'mental' set of distinctly non-physical attributes that accrue to the child from birth?

The "plasticity" of the human brain is physical and non-mysterious, has a plausible adaptationist back-story, and means in practice that most bets are off (at least for the time being) when it comes to identifying discrete and heritable mental attributes. However: a) the brain's not absolutely plastic, and it's harder to unlearn something than to learn it, and b) there are things like autistic spectrum disorders which are possibly more like colour-blindness than they are like preferring Shiraz to Stella.

josef k.
20-05-2009, 02:10 PM
It seems pretty superficial to say that there are "high" and "low" characters.

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 02:26 PM
Does being able to run fast have a genetic component? Hand-eye coordination?

well I'm pretty sure that one reason which has been (credibly, as I understand) for the preponderance of black athletes is that black people - on average - have more fast-twitch muscle fiber. or perhaps that should be a greater density of fast-twitch muscle fiber. so that there is a higher concentration of great athletic talent - all professional athletes being essentially genetic freaks - among black people than whites (& everyone else I guess).

plus just on empirical evidence - there are tons of second-generation pro athletes in the NBA, NFL, baseball, etc. presumably in footie too but i wouldn't know about that.

tho I reckon the mental attributes are probably more a mix of nature/nurture than the physical stuff which is almost entirely genetic?

vimothy
20-05-2009, 02:33 PM
Although athletes train too -- I mean, they don't simply walk onto the track or field fully formed -- so presumably there is a nurture component to the ostensibly physical as as well.

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 02:33 PM
re: class knowledge - which I reckon does exist, in the kinds of things which kids are channeled into learning, not so much in school (tho the quality of education offered, at least in the U.S., is directly correlated to level of income of parents in the school district - assuming the kids are going to public school) as outside of it in day-to-day life. e.g. my folks are middle class intellectuals, I learned to read & so on quite early but never learned any practical with-your-hands skills til I moved out & picked them up on my own.

on the other hand going to rural Mexico - an utter shock to see 5 yr old kids wielding machetes with nonchalant confidence. on the other hand I spoke better Spanish than many of the Maya adults, most of whom were illiterate.

poetix
20-05-2009, 02:35 PM
Does the efficacy of "character building" exercises depend to some degree on an innate propensity to develop, given propitious circumstances and the right encouragement, a good character?

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 02:36 PM
Although athletes train too -- I mean, they don't simply walk onto the track or field fully formed -- so presumably there is a nurture component to the ostensibly physical as as well.

right but in the case of pro athletes they have a virtually unimaginable level of physical talent just to merit someone wanting to spend the resources to train them.

so not fully formed but there is a very high genetic bare minimum which they have to meet.

obv nature doesn't determine what you do with the tools it provides, it just provides you with them.

poetix
20-05-2009, 02:37 PM
Part of what I'm getting at here is that "character" is somewhat out of fashion as a discrete attribute that people are suppose to have to varying degrees. Can we imagine "intelligence" going out of fashion in the same way?

vimothy
20-05-2009, 02:38 PM
And in that sense I wonder if the 'physical' and the 'mental' are analogous.

vimothy
20-05-2009, 02:41 PM
Sure, and we can also imagine its reification. Perhaps "intelligence" was only ever a proxy for one or many different attributes that we have yet to understand...

poetix
20-05-2009, 02:56 PM
"Intelligence" has had from the beginning a bit of a dual meaning. A reference to the quality of one's intelligence could mean how clued-in one was, how much "intelligence" of the outside world one was plugged into. And then also the ability to process that "intelligence", to discriminate between significant and insignificant features, to discern finer points of distinction and so on. Intelligence in this sense can be relative to a domain: I know lots about English Literature, and can say "intelligent" things about it, but very little about JCBs.

josef k.
20-05-2009, 03:27 PM
Character-building is a narrative concept.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 03:59 PM
"Intelligence" has had from the beginning a bit of a dual meaning. A reference to the quality of one's intelligence could mean how clued-in one was, how much "intelligence" of the outside world one was plugged into. And then also the ability to process that "intelligence", to discriminate between significant and insignificant features, to discern finer points of distinction and so on. Intelligence in this sense can be relative to a domain: I know lots about English Literature, and can say "intelligent" things about it, but very little about JCBs.

There is a distinction drawn between 'crystallised' intelligence - command of one's base of knowledge - and 'fluid' intelligence - improvised reasoning when facing novel problems. Tests that aim to be 'fair' minimise use of the former and maximise that of the latter.

josef k.
20-05-2009, 04:08 PM
Novel problems.

scottdisco
20-05-2009, 04:16 PM
Novel problems.

there's plenty of character building in Huck Finn, Josef.

that's a novel.

ba-dum tissh

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 04:29 PM
Tests that aim to be 'fair' minimise use of the former and maximise that of the latter.

only - what tests are those?

cos while I can only speak from experience mine was that standardised testing in the U.S. is very much about memorization of facts, up to & including the SATs. there is also an entire cottage industry in the U.S. of SAT preparation - very much tutoring on how to take tests as opposed to how to think - available of course only to kids whose parents can pay for it.

also, anecdote on kids & knowledge: when I was 10 I made it to the Chicago regional spelling bee & I have a very distinct memory of a black kid getting the word "oilcloth", pronouncing it "oilcloff" & then spelling it o-i-l-c-l-o-f-f. which of course was right to him.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 04:34 PM
only - what tests are those?

Well, there are tests that are intended to be 'culture-fair' and require no factual knowledge as one would usually understand the term eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven's_Progressive_Matrices. Takers may still benefit from prior experience, within their milieu, of problems of the same kind or of the testing process, amongst other things (speculations...)

One could imagine attempting to strip cultural specificity from Matt B's anagram test: replace the letters with random symbols; provide a sheet of accepted arrangements of those symbols -> test involves recognising that an anagrammed selection contains the same symbols as a combination of the 'words' on the aforementioned sheet. It would be the most tediousest thing ever.

josef k.
20-05-2009, 04:39 PM
Clearly, the education system functions to mold characters at every level of its operation, up to and including universities... More interesting to me then the question of who benefits and who loses from the existing system (questions which are basically managerial) is the question of what norms and standards the process produces...

For instance, a privileging of the value of knowledge and cultural capital, a link between education and status, and then again, certain power-networks formed (or not formed)...

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 04:43 PM
Takers may still benefit from prior experience, within their milieu, of problems of the same kind or of the testing process, amongst other things (speculations...)

so essentially, no, those tests don't exist then, is what you're saying?

especially that bit about the testing process. just having more experience with taking tests is an advantage. in knowing how to answer a multiple choice question, how to manage time, etc. - that's what all that SAT tutoring stuff, is for example, just tricks to doing better on tests.

also, not be a jerk but even in the wiki you linked a "distinguished university professor" sez:


To use an instrument developed in the West on semi and possibly illiterate people is a fool's errand. Then they use the results to say that half the people in Africa are mentally retarded. It's laughable

which yeah would seem problematic.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 04:50 PM
so essentially, no, those tests don't exist then, is what you're saying?

Hey, these things are all on a continuum: if I write a test that requires you to employ logic but set it in the abstruse world of my close friends, you would fail. This would be highly culture-specific and completely different in intent to the RPM. 'Speculations' meant that they were musings of mine, not an official line. Science is provisional, after all (in both directions).


especially that bit about the testing process. just having more experience with taking tests is an advantage. in knowing how to answer a multiple choice question, how to manage time, etc. - that's what all that SAT tutoring stuff, is for example, just tricks to doing better on tests.

True, but most IQ tests are not meant to be trained for, for these reasons. Even if everyone trained, the scores would still be given relative to everyone elses' performance, like scores on some of the aptitude tests in the States. This is, as I stated earlier, a problem with such testing: ppl have not settled on some kind of absolute metric, it's all comparative.


also, not be a jerk but even in the wiki you linked a "distinguished university professor" sez: which yeah would seem problematic.

But other distinguished university professors wouldn't say this, I would guess (otherwise wiki would say so)

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 05:00 PM
True, but most IQ tests are not meant to be trained for, for these reasons. Even if everyone trained, the scores would still be given relative to everyone elses' performance, like scores on some of the aptitude tests in the States. This is, as I stated earlier, a problem with such testing: ppl have settled on some kind of absolute metric, it's all comparative.

but if it's comparative & some people have advantages that others dont then...I mean it's not really comparative...

as to you can't train for IQ tests - I say, bollocks. you're training for an IQ test every day from birth, thru your day-to-day experiences. there is no intelligence in a vacuum.

I still don't see how you've at all backed up any of your claims about success & intelligence being linked...*EDIT* or rather, the idea that success is hereditary via intelligence. or perhaps you can sum up your position better?

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 05:08 PM
but if it's comparative & some people have advantages that others dont then...I mean it's not really comparative...

as to you can't train for IQ tests - I say, bollocks. you're training for an IQ test every day from birth, thru your day-to-day experiences. there is no intelligence in a vacuum.

I still don't see how you've at all backed up any of your claims about success & intelligence being linked...*EDIT in progress*

Oh jeez I don't want to get embroiled in another argument...

What I meant re training is that you CAN train for an IQ test but if you train, it skews the results. If I give a matrices-style IQ test to my students and they have never done one before, then I can expect the results to give a better impression of their comparative strengths than if half the class had had them drilled into them over the past few months. The perfect training would, in fact, be doing the same test the second time around after having been told the answers! (This would be completely culture-specific and utterly unhelpful ;) )

The whole point of a test like the Raven's is to see if ppl can think on their feet: fluid intelligence; not memorise procedures and reapply them... (crystallised, culture-bound intelligence)

I'm not trying to convince you, personally, of anything! I'm just telling you stuff because I enjoy these different interpretations of the world. I'm quite happy knowing that there are alternative ways of understanding and letting them survive. I'm still undecided on these matters, but am certainly not going to be swayed one way or the other on Dissensus, because the discussion is inevitably going to be non-expert (myself included) and a shadow of conversations on the very same topics that have *always* run in the literature. If you want to 'clarify' my position (whatever that is, given that the 'me' on here is not me), then just follow the ends of the threads that I have left lying about... :D

vimothy
20-05-2009, 05:14 PM
Clearly, the education system makes certain demands of its students: We talk, meet, network, send in applications, answer questions, attend classes, get drunk...

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 05:29 PM
Oh jeez I don't want to get embroiled in another argument...

alright. tho I didn't know we were arguing. I thought we were just discussing. is it only an argument if we disagree then?

the whole testing bit is, anyway, kind of a side issue it'd seem. as in, it doesn't say much about hereditary intelligence either way cos there's no "objective" test & even if there was it couldn't be applied in objective conditions.


...but am certainly not going to be swayed one way or the other on Dissensus...

?? alright then I guess...

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 05:32 PM
Clearly, the education system makes certain demands of its students: We talk, meet, network, send in applications, answer questions, attend classes, get drunk...

how many of these do you really have to do to be a student tho? I think just the paperwork mostly. & you have to pay for it of course, by hook or crook.

I reckon that's what you could sum education up to - paperwork & $$$, only maybe not in that order.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 05:34 PM
[Dissensus not changing my mind]


Well, only because none of the objections are new...Like most of these things psychology requires that you suspend partial disbelief and take something to be true, for the benefit of erecting a system upon it. Now, Dissensians, in their iconoclastic fervour, desire for utter simplicity or dislike of cognitive dissonance, have a tendency immediately to want to dig down to these alternative systems' axioms and remove them. But, in light of their necessity (and provisional nature), this is a move that is somewhat moot!

Another reason is that the arguments you get on here are never new and always better expressed elsewhere (why would they not be?) Dissensus might remind you of sth, or point you in a direction, but an internet forum is not going to wield particular power of conviction...Especially since I am not decided either way! (Or at least, thinking psychometrically, am 'decided' one way; thinking sociologically am 'decided' the other! ;-) )

vimothy
20-05-2009, 05:38 PM
I only know the education system in the UK, TBH. I would say some of them. It's not meant to be definitive. Obviously for some (OU students, e.g.), university qua university is less important. But that's only one institutional type. Just got out of a meeting with some Ed researchers and this was its basic gist. Find the research here (http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/ViewOutputPage.aspx?data=v9XrjLJ6xhFU&#37;2fbFDu6k4VmA 9j7N3Ahu9fvi4s29H39vAw0v2FQeQRCv%2fxybhhePzIGJZUZv PatjY8XjSfZwXHrzPZzMqibY%2bHg2rxX4jh4M%3d&xu=0&isAwardHolder=&isProfiled=&AwardHolderID=&Sector=).

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 05:44 PM
an internet forum is not going to wield particular power of conviction...

well, of course. I'm not sure why this really needs to be stated. I mean it just seems ridiculous to argue something for 15 pages & then say "oh it's all pointless cos we're not child development experts" or whatever. as if there was some kind of false pretense that we were hashing out education policy. but, I mean, whatever...

swears
20-05-2009, 05:46 PM
Clearly, the education system makes certain demands of its students: We talk, meet, network, send in applications, answer questions, attend classes, get drunk...

Yeah, I think the university system is there to socialise you into the professional or creative classes as much as anything else. Particularly nowadays. In the circles I move in (outside of my work) people around my age are really suprised I didn't go. My mate who went to medical school at Liverpool uni (redbrick) knew people who wouldn't associate with anyone from John Moores (the former poly) because they felt it was beneath them.

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 05:53 PM
But that's only one institutional type.

right, people go to school for different reasons.

but I mean, really, it's $ (& $ via opportunity cost) - you spend more to presumably get more.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 06:09 PM
well, of course. I'm not sure why this really needs to be stated. I mean it just seems ridiculous to argue something for 15 pages & then say "oh it's all pointless cos we're not child development experts" or whatever. as if there was some kind of false pretense that we were hashing out education policy. but, I mean, whatever...

It transpires that there is no interesting discussion to be had as the majority of Dissensians hold in their hands a pair of their own well-worn objections that they imagine to be all-conquering trump cards. There is obviously no point discussing degrees of cultural bias in tests if a failure to achieve utter objectivity and absence of bias (whatever that would look like) is considered to undermine the whole enterprise. Similarly, interpreting society through findings in psychological research is a futile exercise if someone turns up and bluntly asserts that intelligence doesn't exist (which obv will continue happening in a thread of this size).

Repairing the foundations is tiresome, and ppl fail to realise that the discussion is only interesting IFF you temporarily let them stand. (Imagine going along to an academic conference and ceaselessly harrassing the speakers about things that are axiomatic to their subject and already understood not to be cut-and-dried and probably either unjustifiable in the terms afforded by their own subject or even absolutely undecidable, philosophically speaking!)

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 06:28 PM
well I'm pretty sure that one reason which has been (credibly, as I understand) for the preponderance of black athletes is that black people - on average - have more fast-twitch muscle fiber. or perhaps that should be a greater density of fast-twitch muscle fiber. so that there is a higher concentration of great athletic talent - all professional athletes being essentially genetic freaks - among black people than whites (& everyone else I guess).

plus just on empirical evidence - there are tons of second-generation pro athletes in the NBA, NFL, baseball, etc. presumably in footie too but i wouldn't know about that.

tho I reckon the mental attributes are probably more a mix of nature/nurture than the physical stuff which is almost entirely genetic?

Huh. I have no idea what "fast-twitch" muscle fiber is. I don't think it exists. There are two kinds of muscle tissue, smooth or striated.

But I do think there's an overly simplistic medical explanation for why there are more African-American (not necessarily African) athletes in the U.S., and it's the same one that's touted as an explanation for why African-Americans are more prone to heart disease/high cholesterol/high bp than non-black Americans: only those slaves with especially resilient sodium channels, who held on to most of the sodium they ate, were able to survive the horrible conditions (including severe dehydration) on the ships. This was adaptive at the time, but now it means that their descendents are going to have a high risk for heart disease. I would assume that this would hold for stronger more muscular people as well, they'd be more likely to survive. It's the kids who'd have no chance in hell.

Of course, I would think that anyone who lives constantly under stress, the way impoverished oppressed people do, is going to have a higher risk of heart disease than someone who has a cushy job and lots of vacation and can afford healthier food, etc.

Could be a combination of both.

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 06:34 PM
It transpires that there is no interesting discussion to be had as the majority of Dissensians hold in their hands a pair of their own well-worn objections that they imagine to be all-conquering trump cards. There is obviously no point discussing degrees of cultural bias in tests if a failure to achieve utter objectivity and absence of bias (whatever that would look like) is considered to undermine the whole enterprise. Similarly, interpreting society through findings in psychological research is a futile exercise if someone turns up and bluntly asserts that intelligence doesn't exist (which obv will continue happening in a thread of this size).

Repairing the foundations is tiresome, and ppl fail to realise that the discussion is only interesting IFF you temporarily let them stand. (Imagine going along to an academic conference and ceaselessly harrassing the speakers about things that are axiomatic to their subject and already understood not to be cut-and-dried and probably either unjustifiable in the terms afforded by their own subject or even absolutely undecidable, philosophically speaking!)

You continue to operate under the increasingly specious assumption(s) that the "establishment" has decided what intelligence is, the important parties have agreed upon what this means, and therefore that there are grounds for this discussion to take place on that don't call into question these fundamentals but attempts to build upon them.

Well, you're wrong. Cognitive scientists largely disagree with psychologists and psychiatrists, who definitely disagree with school teachers, who in turn think they have it figured out but are constantly undermined by neurology.

mixed_biscuits
20-05-2009, 06:39 PM
Well, you're wrong. Cognitive scientists largely disagree with psychologists and psychiatrists, who definitely disagree with school teachers, who in turn think they have it figured out but are constantly undermined by neurology.

The parting shot is quite witty, but you haven't really understood where I'm coming from. :D

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 06:44 PM
But I do think there's an overly simplistic medical explanation for why there are more African-American (not necessarily African) athletes in the U.S...I would assume that this would hold for stronger more muscular people as well, they'd be more likely to survive. It's the kids who'd have no chance in hell.

definition of fast twitch muscle fibers (http://walking.about.com/cs/fitnesswalking/g/fasttwitch.htm)

essentially - slow twitch muscles are for aerobic, fast twitch are for sprinting, lifting weights, anything requires short sharp bursts of intense activity, which is what most sports are, aside from distance running/cycling/etc.

as far as that bit about sodium, yeh I really dunno. the bit about muscles doesn't really explain why they'd have more (or more effective) fast twitch muscles, just that on average they do.


Of course, I would think that anyone who lives constantly under stress, the way impoverished oppressed people do, is going to have a higher risk of heart disease than someone who has a cushy job and lots of vacation and can afford healthier food, etc.

this I don't know about. surely there are detrimental effects of living under stress but I wouldn't be surprised if affluent people - at least in certain countries, like the States - actually have a higher rate of heart disease. overly rich diet, sedentary lifestyle, etc.

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 06:51 PM
definition of fast twitch muscle fibers (http://walking.about.com/cs/fitnesswalking/g/fasttwitch.htm)

essentially - slow twitch muscles are for aerobic, fast twitch are for sprinting, lifting weights, anything requires short sharp bursts of intense activity, which is what most sports are, aside from distance running/cycling/etc.

as far as that bit about sodium, yeh I really dunno. the bit about muscles doesn't really explain why they'd have more (or more effective) fast twitch muscles, just that on average they do.



this I don't know about. surely there are detrimental effects of living under stress but I wouldn't be surprised if affluent people - at least in certain countries, like the States - actually have a higher rate of heart disease. overly rich diet, sedentary lifestyle, etc.

Interesting... so essentially some striated muscles are meant to respond more quickly on the electrochemical level--or twitch more frequently? Which means they can be useful for different tasks.

But it would explain why people with more muscles survived the ships--people with more muscle tissue would have had more protein to live on through the harsh conditions (because their body would've started eating their muscles), and this would have left them better off immune-wise and starvation-wise.

And yeah, there was a time when richer meant more heart disease, but these days its generally recognized that obesity and related problems hit impoverished people harder, because impoverished people are more likely to eat cheap, refined carbohydrates. Obesity is also more lethal in poorer folks, I'm pretty sure.

Edit: I forgot about cardiac muscle tissue, too. I was counting that as smooth but it's not.

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 06:55 PM
This is way off topic but now I'm interested...so if you repeat a certain task enough, like say sprinting, does that end up changing the density of fast twitch fibers?

these are sports medicine questions

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 07:02 PM
Repairing the foundations is tiresome, and ppl fail to realise that the discussion is only interesting IFF you temporarily let them stand.

right, there you are shoring up the foundations while we hammer away with our contrariness. only no one's asked for utter objectivity or perfect equality or any other impossible thing. people have merely challenged any assertion that we live in a meritocracy - US or UK - where intelligence is rewarded more than who you're born to.

frankly I think this is another copout - "well of course all this is pointless cos you won't accept certain assumptions" - which aren't what anyone's talking about.

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 07:07 PM
Part of what I'm getting at here is that "character" is somewhat out of fashion as a discrete attribute that people are suppose to have to varying degrees. Can we imagine "intelligence" going out of fashion in the same way?

I can. But I can also imagine the assumption that the thoughts of brains are a sort of discrete entity within a discrete entity going out of fashion. Maybe it has already begun to...

josef k.
20-05-2009, 07:21 PM
people have merely challenged any assertion that we live in a meritocracy - US or UK - where intelligence is rewarded more than who you're born to.

Intelligence is definitely not distributed hierarchically from the top to the bottom. On the other hand, the opposite also isn't true. Not even in the high-cultural spheres are the most intelligent people the most celebrated, rewarded, or prominent. Quite the reverse in fact. Moreover, there are certain crowd-pleasing operations which self-consciousness renders extremely difficult, if not impossible.

padraig (u.s.)
20-05-2009, 07:23 PM
This is way off topic but now I'm interested...so if you repeat a certain task enough, like say sprinting, does that end up changing the density of fast twitch fibers?

I don't claim a great understanding but - I dunno about increasing the density. you definitely increase the performance of the muscles that you're exercising if you do it consistently. I think the density may be the part you're born with tho don't quote me on that.

even further off-topic, an interesting (at least to me) note on repetitive tasks - in my experience in martial arts this is pretty much how you learn everything. I mean, sure, the teacher explains a technique & demonstrates it but to actually learn it you have to go & do it. & there's a certain physical intelligence/intuition - like for me at least I can never just think thru a technique. & if you watch people who've been doing it for a long time you can tell by the way they move, like a kind of built-in, I wouldn't say poise, but like posture & balance & so on that have become ingrained over yrs & yrs of practice.

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 10:05 PM
http://hyper.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/49/2/260

I don't know if I agree with this person but it's sort of interesting to think about...

nomadthethird
20-05-2009, 10:09 PM
even further off-topic, an interesting (at least to me) note on repetitive tasks - in my experience in martial arts this is pretty much how you learn everything. I mean, sure, the teacher explains a technique & demonstrates it but to actually learn it you have to go & do it. & there's a certain physical intelligence/intuition - like for me at least I can never just think thru a technique. & if you watch people who've been doing it for a long time you can tell by the way they move, like a kind of built-in, I wouldn't say poise, but like posture & balance & so on that have become ingrained over yrs & yrs of practice.

"muscle memory" it's the same with playing an instrument

josef k.
20-05-2009, 10:39 PM
Possibly relevant, while we are on this diversion.

http://www.slate.com/id/2218650/

Mr. Tea
20-05-2009, 11:14 PM
Also, European slave traders would naturally have bought the biggest, strongest-looking slaves on sale. Or maybe the slave-capturing parties would only have taken the stronger captives, or killed off the weaker ones before taking them to the market. Sorry if someone's already mentioned this point, I've clearly missed several pages.

Not that it's immediately relevant to Chris Woodhead...