Re: Reforming Education

Clint O'Dell (
Thu, 07 Oct 1999 17:58:27 MDT

>Your argument assumes that cramming doesn't work. This hypothesis simply
>isn't born out by reality at large. Cramming works. It doesn't have to be
>a situation where the student pulls an all-nighter the night before an exam
>and forgets about it two days later. It's just as bad when students take
>three weeks before the exam and overload themselves with the material.
>With it all fairly fresh in their mind, they pass the tests and do quite
>well, and forget it within two or three months.

Schools will still be the deciding factor whether students pass or fail. The standardized test only rates the school. The students will have no reason to cram for these tests. Also schools can test students over material any time they want. What is not done, today, is constant testing over everything learned. We can arguably say that schools actualy promote cramming. Students study for material, students take test, students move on to new material. Well, we can test for retention of material too. A few months at the end of the school year all students will be tested. That will motivate schools to excercise constant testing of material throughout the school year. If students are cramming, it won't matter because if they keep using their knowledge to pass the test it becomes long term knowledge.

>You clearly haven't seen students studying for AP Biology, physics, and
>others, which have multiple choice as well as hand-written essay sections.

Actualy, I've taken an AP Chemistry course. The test was extremely easy. I never studied for it, yet had any idea what to study for, didn't know much about chemistry just had some common observational since. A gas consintrated in one are of the room goes where? Hello! Where else is it going to go?

>The cramming strategy I have described above is employed by many, many
>students; it was especially endemic in my high school which said "get a 5
>on the AP, get an A in the course."

You don't seem to understand what kind of superior, super human brain you would have to have to take in all this information and store it in short term memory. I'm not talking about AP Physics. I'm talking about Physics, Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Computer Science, Chemistry, Anatomy, Geography, etc... In all levels of understanding.

>You seem to be imagining super-duper hands-on test-your-knowledge tests,
>which somehow can't be crammed. There IS no test which can't be crammed.
>You're deluding yourself if you believe otherwise.

Have you done any study of memory? My research topic in biology is on memory. I'll email you a copy when I've finished.

>By the time we have AI programs that can evaluate essays, we'll have AI
>programs which can give direct oral examinations of the students, on a
>regular basis, and who are capable of delivering lectures and answering
>questions. In short, we'll have AI teachers, performing the very same jobs
>that teachers perform today.

Some day, but not that fast. We will first have AI that can read and grade papers before we have AI that can teach. There is a lot more that goes into teaching than explaining materials.

>Frankly, it's surprising me to see all these libertarians arguing for
>market failure. Sure, it's one thing to say that the gov't shouldn't
>mandate schooling, but that's really a distinct issue from saying that
>teachers shouldn't be giving out grades.

I don't know where you came up with that? I just stated schools should be rated to drive competition. Teachers give grades and employeers decide if the school the student came from is good enough for him/her.

>The former simply falls out from libertarian theory;

Are you saying market performance is some how affiliated with political thought?

>the latter is an argument that almost every private institution in the
>country is perating inefficiently, and has been for many, many years. This
>is an argument for market failure.

I think you should check over you logic again. This is simply a fallacy of alternatives. Inefficience doesn't mean failure. Inefficience just means it could be better.

>If you don't believe in market failure, and you DO believe that
>comprehensive third-party testing is the optimal way to allocate
>credentials, then you believe that there's money to be made in investing in
>such an organization. I sure wouldn't, but it seems to me that you guys
>need to be putting your money where your mouth is on this one.

Can you please discribe market failure to me. Markets fail all the time but I don't think that's what you mean.

>So start your own private school, for crying out loud, or give your fadvice
>to the College Board or some presently existing school. If your theories
>are correct, your school will be excellent, you'll walk out with a gigantic
>pile of cash, and all will praise your genius.

That's a great idea, but I fail to see why people will give me money by explaining a better idea to them. So what do I do? Walk in, say I have a great idea that will reform schools creating a society of well informed and intellegent citizens, how much is that worth to ya?

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