And the most good enough kids are . . .

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And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 19th, 2015, 9:30 pm 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/0 ... 66568.html

provides information on PISA scores for creative problem solving. The information is consistent with rankings presented in Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World, and shows that US students perform squarely in the middle, a little bit better than they did in math and reading, but still in the middle. The best performers were students from Asia - Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, etc. The results are actually fairly good, given the small amount of time that US students spend on schoolwork and the overall lack of emphasis on critical thinking in American society, but are the results good enough to qualify US students for success in a global economy?

I invite you to read Ripley's book and offer commentary on possible responses:

1. Mediocre is plenty good.

2. Teachers are grossly underpaid, so what do we expect?

3. Local control of school boards leaves the dumb leading the dumb.

4. Kids who do badly in school should be beaten by their parents.

5. No Child Left Behind translates to Every Child Held Back.

6. Why are Jewish and Catholic schools so good and Protestant schools so mediocre?

7. Why doesn't skin color and socioeconomic level explain this?

8. Why don't parents read to, and with, their children?

Feel free to offer other answers.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Ursa Minimus on August 20th, 2015, 7:07 am 

CanadysPeak » August 19th, 2015, 7:30 pm wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/pisa-problem-solving_n_5066568.html

provides information on PISA scores for creative problem solving. The information is consistent with rankings presented in Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World, and shows that US students perform squarely in the middle, a little bit better than they did in math and reading, but still in the middle. The best performers were students from Asia - Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, etc. The results are actually fairly good, given the small amount of time that US students spend on schoolwork and the overall lack of emphasis on critical thinking in American society, but are the results good enough to qualify US students for success in a global economy?

I invite you to read Ripley's book and offer commentary on possible responses:

1. Mediocre is plenty good.

2. Teachers are grossly underpaid, so what do we expect?

3. Local control of school boards leaves the dumb leading the dumb.

4. Kids who do badly in school should be beaten by their parents.

5. No Child Left Behind translates to Every Child Held Back.

6. Why are Jewish and Catholic schools so good and Protestant schools so mediocre?

7. Why doesn't skin color and socioeconomic level explain this?

8. Why don't parents read to, and with, their children?

Feel free to offer other answers.



You might want to look at who takes the test, and how that might affect the overall scores. When you do, things look not quite the same. So speaking to point 7:

“Our students from well-to-do families have consistently done well on the PISA assessments. For students who live in poverty, however, it’s a different story. Socioeconomic factors influence students’ performance in the United States more than they do in all but few of the other PISA countries,” says Van Roekel.

In 2012, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute analyzed the 2009 PISA data and compared U.S. results by social class to three top performers—Canada, Finland and South Korea. They found that the relatively low ranking of U.S. students could be attributed in no small part to a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. After adjusting the U.S. score to take into account social class composition and possible sampling flaws, Carnoy and Rothstein estimated that the United States placed fourth in reading and 10th in math – up from 14th and 25th in the PISA ranking, respectively.


http://neatoday.org/2013/12/03/what-do- ... schools-2/

Carnoy and Rothstein report referenced above: http://www.epi.org/publication/us-stude ... e-testing/
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 20th, 2015, 8:19 am 

Ursa Minimus » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:07 am wrote:
CanadysPeak » August 19th, 2015, 7:30 pm wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/pisa-problem-solving_n_5066568.html

provides information on PISA scores for creative problem solving. The information is consistent with rankings presented in Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World, and shows that US students perform squarely in the middle, a little bit better than they did in math and reading, but still in the middle. The best performers were students from Asia - Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, etc. The results are actually fairly good, given the small amount of time that US students spend on schoolwork and the overall lack of emphasis on critical thinking in American society, but are the results good enough to qualify US students for success in a global economy?

I invite you to read Ripley's book and offer commentary on possible responses:

1. Mediocre is plenty good.

2. Teachers are grossly underpaid, so what do we expect?

3. Local control of school boards leaves the dumb leading the dumb.

4. Kids who do badly in school should be beaten by their parents.

5. No Child Left Behind translates to Every Child Held Back.

6. Why are Jewish and Catholic schools so good and Protestant schools so mediocre?

7. Why doesn't skin color and socioeconomic level explain this?

8. Why don't parents read to, and with, their children?

Feel free to offer other answers.



You might want to look at who takes the test, and how that might affect the overall scores. When you do, things look not quite the same. So speaking to point 7:

“Our students from well-to-do families have consistently done well on the PISA assessments. For students who live in poverty, however, it’s a different story. Socioeconomic factors influence students’ performance in the United States more than they do in all but few of the other PISA countries,” says Van Roekel.

In 2012, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute analyzed the 2009 PISA data and compared U.S. results by social class to three top performers—Canada, Finland and South Korea. They found that the relatively low ranking of U.S. students could be attributed in no small part to a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. After adjusting the U.S. score to take into account social class composition and possible sampling flaws, Carnoy and Rothstein estimated that the United States placed fourth in reading and 10th in math – up from 14th and 25th in the PISA ranking, respectively.


http://neatoday.org/2013/12/03/what-do- ... schools-2/

Carnoy and Rothstein report referenced above: http://www.epi.org/publication/us-stude ... e-testing/


That sounds good. What do other countries do with their poor students? Is it feasible to do the same with ours, particularly those of color? I know we've been fairly successful using drug laws to avoid dealing with poor education for Blacks, but whatever should we do with the rising tide of Hispanics? I guess my question still remains: ". . . are the results good enough to qualify US students for success in a global economy?"
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby BadgerJelly on August 20th, 2015, 8:36 am 

From what I have read the US refuses to understand the changes made in other countries work. The very famous case is that they asked Finland about the changes they made and refused to believe that they worked. The idea of non-competitive schooling I guess seemed bizarre to a nation obsessed with competition.

I know that the US has a number of different ideas that have been implemented and shown to work ... the problem is that when it comes to applying these schemes nationwide the US has seemed unwilling or unable to implement them. I am talking about what I read about a year ago. Maybe things have moved along more since then?

For those that don't know about Finland ... they opted out of PISA tests for a few years and stopped grading students by tests. They also paid teachers more and overall made the job more prestigious and respected. After a few years PISA asked them to take the test and they did assuming the students would not do too well having not had previous exposure to tests ... they came in number one.

The question is what led to these results? Lack of exposure and pressure to test or the increase in teacher quality and quantity? Both I would say. I would also suggest that letting children just learn rather than worry about how good/bad they are doing is probably a good idea. Certainly some students thrive under pressure, but I would expect these kind of students to push themselves anyway without the need of regimented testing.

Do we want children to learn how to take tests or learn about different subjects?
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Re: Applying the Carrot

Postby Faradave on August 20th, 2015, 10:59 am 

Are we missing something? Who should we be paying? You can save time by skipping to the last paragraph.

I grew up in a carrot & stick family of six competitive siblings. We did get punished with a wooden paddle for bad grades (C's) but were rewarded with cash for A's. Despite numerous quite memorable punishments, I was a hopeless moron until the middle of 5th grade. I'd been under the impression that you earned good grades for being "good". To me that meant, sitting with my hands folded, lining up quickly in a straight line without talking, volunteering for duties (washing the blackboards, clapping the erasers outside, etc.). That's what seemed to please the teachers and earn the most praise. But no good at all on the dreaded report card day.

Surprisingly, it had never actually been explained to me exactly why we went to school (cause everybody does) or how it worked. When it finally dawned on me (I remember the exact "aha" moment), I went immediately to straight A's and never felt the paddle again. I remember thinking, if all they wanted me to do was learn what's in these books, why the hell didn't somebody say so?!

There was another important driver. While children were never given any money, such as an allowance, in my home. We were paid a pittance for doing chores (vs. punishment if we didn't). By comparison, we were paid handsomely for A's on the report card. This gave the correct impression that working with your brain can be more rewarding than working with your back.

It's only the latter system that my wife and I applied with our own two daughters. They never got an allowance but, starting at age three, were given a list of weekly chores (quite minor a first). The last chore was always, collect your allowance. We also carefully explained the value and methods of gaining knowledge. When school began, they started getting paid handsomely for A's (or the equivalent O's). That alone wouldn't have done it though.

The other trick was giving them something to buy. About age three, just about the time kids learn to point to toys in stores and yell, "I want...", they got the reply, "Did you bring your money?" If they hadn't we'd lend them some. So long as the item wasn't overtly hazardous, they could have anything they could afford. While other kids at Disney World were screaming at their parents for this or that, ours were quietly going about the souvenir shop checking prices and making choices (i.e. doing math, exercising judgement). Frequently, that choice was, "I think I'll wait and check some other stores." ... from a four-year-old!

Bottom line: When they realized they could earn dollars for A's vs. 25¢ for a list of chores, our daughters literally made a business of learning. This continued right through high school, where the choice of scheduling study hall vs. an elective course was always obvious.

If I truly want something, I should be willing to pay for it, right? I wanted kids eager to learn and get top grades. It worked! One got her doctorate in Pharmacy a few years back and married a guy who was number one in his engineering class. The other graduated number one in her major (accounting), and married the number one student from another major (marketing). All happy, well-adjusted, productive (i.e. tax-paying) citizens.

To make a long story short, maybe the incentive should be paid to the student (the one we actually want to perform). But this won't work for spoiled kids, who've been handed a fat allowance for doing nothing (welfare for the rich)! We don't have to wait for government, these adjustments can be implemented at home, now.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby mtbturtle on August 20th, 2015, 11:19 am 

BadgerJelly » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:36 am wrote:From what I have read the US refuses to understand the changes made in other countries work. The very famous case is that they asked Finland about the changes they made and refused to believe that they worked. The idea of non-competitive schooling I guess seemed bizarre to a nation obsessed with competition.

I know that the US has a number of different ideas that have been implemented and shown to work ... the problem is that when it comes to applying these schemes nationwide the US has seemed unwilling or unable to implement them. I am talking about what I read about a year ago. Maybe things have moved along more since then?

For those that don't know about Finland ... they opted out of PISA tests for a few years and stopped grading students by tests. They also paid teachers more and overall made the job more prestigious and respected. After a few years PISA asked them to take the test and they did assuming the students would not do too well having not had previous exposure to tests ... they came in number one.

The question is what led to these results? Lack of exposure and pressure to test or the increase in teacher quality and quantity? Both I would say. I would also suggest that letting children just learn rather than worry about how good/bad they are doing is probably a good idea. Certainly some students thrive under pressure, but I would expect these kind of students to push themselves anyway without the need of regimented testing.

Do we want children to learn how to take tests or learn about different subjects?


According to Ripley Finland has plenty of testing including a big final test to graduate high school. In the US it's not testing, it's the way we teach to the testing and punish school that don't do as well (Finland it's the opposite, schools having difficulties, get extra funding to address the issues.) Ripley described teachers reading test scores to class. So if you fail everybody knows it, the peer pressure to do well in school, to take it seriously seemed greater. Teachers there are more like doctors here. They have a few prestigious teacher universities where competitions is high to get into. IIRC, the teachers have to pass tests in their areas in order to get hired. But once hired they determine their methods, have more freedom in the classroom.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Braininvat on August 20th, 2015, 12:18 pm 

Farad, I think any kind of meaningful reward can help motivate kids in school - buying power is certainly one. In my family, all we got was praise but - in the 60s when praise wasn't showered on children endlessly - that was quite sufficient. It was made clear that A's in school made all the adult relatives proud of us, and that they indicated intelligence. Of course, context is important: you have to be in a familial culture (and peer culture) where you've already absorbed that being smart is of more value than being strong or fast or (as with Oliver Twist) a skilled pickpocket.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 20th, 2015, 1:06 pm 

Ursa Minimus,
If what you cite is true, and I have little reason to doubt it, then looking to schools as either the problem or answer is a bit akin to the drunk looking for his keys under a street light because "the light's better there." If poverty accounts for the biggest chunk of the variation, then perhaps we need to address poverty. Of course, that's a tough row to hoe. We've been trying to fix poverty a very long time, to no great effect. But, at least, perhaps we could quit looking to schools and teachers to solve the score gap?
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Re: Dollars & Sense

Postby Faradave on August 20th, 2015, 5:03 pm 

Braininvat wrote:I think any kind of meaningful reward can help motivate kids in school - buying power is certainly one


Agreed. Certainly we gave our kids praise as well. That along with daily nature walks, library trips, reading to each other, playing with them and their toys, etc. But financial incentive is very real world. It's paid off many times over.

For example, starting at age 16 we informed our kids that since they seemed like college material we would begin actively budgeting and saving for their tuitions ... half their tuitions. Basic ideas:
1. You don't have to go to college if you don't want to. At age 30, we'll turn the estimated half tuition over to you.
2. You can attend any college you want with any major, but you're paying half. Choose wisely.
3. You can get your half any legal way you want, get a job, scholarship, loan, etc.
4. Anything over 4 years is subject to approval (i.e. grades & major suggest a return on investment). Better to finish on time!

We live near Philadelphia. Never heard a peep about college in California (or anywhere out-of-state). The budding accountant, after seeking advice from college counselors, asked "What's the deal if I get more than a 50% scholarship?" Good question! I said that for every dollar she saved me on my half, I'd give her 50¢. Within a year, she presented me with a 100% merit scholarship to her chosen university. Her bounty from me was a tidy $16k, which she used to buy her first car. (She lived at home, rent free, commuting to a local University.) Some of the best money I ever spent!

I have a dozen true stories, just like that (which add up).

There are kids who never walk into a financial aid counselor's office, let alone write an essay or work on some community project in pursuit of a scholarship. Go Figure!

CanadysPeak wrote:then perhaps we need to address poverty.

Welfare families should receive an automatic, graduated bonus for every child's standard test score above the 50th percentile. Substantially more for PSAT, SAT and achievement/advanced-placement tests. If the government needs more science and math, pay extra for those. Everybody wins when students receive motivation at home.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby BadgerJelly on August 21st, 2015, 3:36 am 

Fara -

But financial incentive is very real world. It's paid off many times over.


Never going to buy into this idea or support it.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby doogles on August 21st, 2015, 4:36 am 

I have really enjoyed the way this thread has been heading and regret that it was not available in the 1960s to 70s when I was at the stage of directing my own four children in their educational pursuits. I have liked all of the posts so far and particularly liked the two posts by Faradave.

The range of suggestions for improving results on the international creativity testing of students has varied from increasing the qualities of teachers to increasing the incentive of students to learn and be creative. I really liked and applaud the methods of encouragement utilised by Faradave to achieve the latter result.

After reading this, I realise why I was personally a failure as an educationally-encouraging parent, and it’s quite possible that my story may echo that of the majority of parents in any western culture. I’ve mentioned before how my parents were lower-socioeconomic working class whose formal educations ceased at primary grade 4 and grade 6 (back in the 1910s to 1920s).

With the aid of Scholarships, I graduated with Honours as a Veterinarian, even though it involved living away from home for 4 years.

There was no carrot on a stick for me like the one Faradave described. My family did look after me whenever I came home from interstate during semester breaks and this was a huge plus, but the only direct financial help I ever received from my parents was when my father gave me a ten shillings note (Then one fortieth of the average weekly wage) on one occasion when I was on such a break.

So my own attitude towards my own children (which I now realise was totally inadequate in view of this thread) was that if they were serious enough about wanting to undertake higher education, they would be intrinsically motivated enough to do that. When one of my children commenced a tertiary education at a local Institute, and after six months announced that she would like to give it up, I just said words to the effect that if that was her choice, it’s okay with me. Years later, she berated me light-heartedly for not encouraging her to keep going. But I’m pleased to say that she has since graduated as a mature-age student in Nursing.
I believe Faradave’s approach to his children was extremely well-balanced and something that I would have liked to have been aware of at a certain time in my life.

So essentially, we have been left with some simple questions in this thread – but I would like to see evidence supporting the answers
1. Do good teachers produce good creative students?
2. Do family-motivated carrot-on-stick-motivated children make good creative students?
3. Do punishment-driven children make good creative students?
4. Are good creative students just genetic freaks?
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby mtbturtle on August 21st, 2015, 6:02 am 

Since this is social science forum, what's the research say about money as an incentive for good grades, test scores? Does it work? - which methods are most effective?

edit: This article from the NEA includes several references to research that has been done in this area ( doesn't look promising) as well as mentioning several schools that have been paying kids for good grades.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 21st, 2015, 6:49 am 

This thread is verging off toward an examination of motivation, and I do wish to discuss that, but I am interested in learning about education as well. So, I will start a parallel thread about educational goals.

However, in terms of motivation, do we think that motivation might be tied inextricably to culture? That is, the sense of parental obedience that we might see in, say, Nepal, would not apply to, say, Germany.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 21st, 2015, 8:27 am 

Anyway, coming back to motivation. There are a ton of papers out there that give lots of stats. I suggest the ed schools at Stanford or Michigan as good sources, but I also suggest that anyone who has ever taught a 5 year old to ride a two wheel bicycle already knows how to motivate a learner. You don't need no stinkin' pie charts to realize:

1. The task has to be consistent with who the kid is and what he has already done.
2. The task has to be relevant to the kid's desires and self-image.
3. The kid has to believe he can do it.
4. The kid has to see role models who are already doing it.
5. Failures are never even noted unless there is something useful to be learned from them (rare).
6. Useful actions are praised, harmful actions stopped, and others ignored.
7. Any comparison to other kids is only done by the kid himself.
8. There is a clear, quick, and consistent reward for accomplishing the task.

By the way, you can housebreak a puppy the same way. Kids teach themselves every day, using some version of the above. If you don't believe this, try to program a robot to deflect a hockey puck accurately; it's extraordinarily hard, yet many a 5 year old does this well in street hockey - taught by the other kids, none of whom know what an algorithm is, yet develop and apply them.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Faradave on August 21st, 2015, 2:12 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:Never going to buy into this idea [financial incentive] or support it.


That's fine. The odds are however, that you and your family use currency. So, the question seems to be, when and how to start teaching kids about it.

CanadysPeak wrote:anyone who has ever taught a 5 year old to ride a two wheel bicycle already knows how to motivate a learner.

Good point! "anyone" includes grandparents, uncles & aunts, siblings and many others. So, even if you think you missed your chance on your own off-spring, there's still lots of opportunity to help and it doesn't have to be a financial incentive.

Starting at age 3, we asked our kids (and still ask others) a question they often ask of each other. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Just showing an interest is motivating to kids, especially from a grown up relative. If they answer, "I don't know." you can always start them thinking with "What about a...(fill in the blank - teacher, police officer, veterinarian, etc.) Most times they have an answer, to which you can probe, "Why is that?" Then help them explore the idea...

It also pays to remind kids where rewards come from. On the last day of vacation, kids often say, "I wish we could stay here forever." That's when you tell them, we can do this because I worked hard in school and have a good job. The better you do in school, the better vacations you'll take with your own family someday.

There is only so much institutional education can accomplish without a family foundation from which the children originate. That's what they were designed to receive. Unfortunately, that is too often not what they're getting.

P.S. Schools weren't designed to compete with TV and the internet. Turn the #*%@! TV off Monday through Thursday! Limit it on weekends (3 hours/day is plenty and it forces kids to make judgement calls.) Internet for homework and brief (i.e. limited) socializing only. Kids do better when their brains aren't pickled by electrons. Parents can have separate TV in the den or bedroom if needed.

Trust me, this is a no-cost miracle! However, if you don't start before the addiction sets in, there will be fairly severe withdrawal symptoms. (They won't actually "hate you forever!") The best time to break a TV habit is on vacation when there's already other stuff to do. Leave it off, even when you get back home but continue family time (long walks, board games, reading a commonly selected story aloud).

Funny how that sounds like heresy. I'm half afraid to even post it (and I post LOTS of crazy-sounding stuff). Personally, I get by with < 4 hours a week of free, over-the-air TV. News from the internet.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby mtbturtle on August 21st, 2015, 2:36 pm 

Ripley suggests the most important things parents can do to improve their children's educational performance (increase test scores) is read to them, daily, as well as, reading themselves at other times (so children see their parents reading).
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Braininvat on August 21st, 2015, 3:01 pm 

Farad, I've ranted in a couple threads here, re avoiding young brains "pickled by electrons." Implementation is the trick, and possibly parental spinal integrity at levels last seen ca. 1953. What is really needed, for the miracle to happen,, is you and all neighbor parents on the same page. This was one of our headaches with raising our kids, the tendency for the kids from families that pulled the plug to migrate to other houses where the shiny lure of media and video games was neverending. We managed, and the love of music was a particular focal point....at one point there were two kids who could play 7 different instruments. Add parents and the total was round 12. Noisy at times, but better than endless "meep! ppew pew pew! meep!"
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 21st, 2015, 4:14 pm 

mtbturtle » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:36 pm wrote:Ripley suggests the most important things parents can do to improve their children's educational performance (increase test scores) is read to them, daily, as well as, reading themselves at other times (so children see their parents reading).


Albert Bandura addresses this in his Social Learning Theory, where it is often called modelling.
http://psychology.about.com/od/developm ... rning.html
Many educators consider observational learning the most powerful tool a developing kid has.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Ursa Minimus on August 25th, 2015, 7:05 am 

CanadysPeak » August 21st, 2015, 6:27 am wrote:Anyway, coming back to motivation. There are a ton of papers out there that give lots of stats. I suggest the ed schools at Stanford or Michigan as good sources, but I also suggest that anyone who has ever taught a 5 year old to ride a two wheel bicycle already knows how to motivate a learner. You don't need no stinkin' pie charts to realize:

1. The task has to be consistent with who the kid is and what he has already done.
2. The task has to be relevant to the kid's desires and self-image.
3. The kid has to believe he can do it.
4. The kid has to see role models who are already doing it.
5. Failures are never even noted unless there is something useful to be learned from them (rare).
6. Useful actions are praised, harmful actions stopped, and others ignored.
7. Any comparison to other kids is only done by the kid himself.
8. There is a clear, quick, and consistent reward for accomplishing the task.

By the way, you can housebreak a puppy the same way. Kids teach themselves every day, using some version of the above. If you don't believe this, try to program a robot to deflect a hockey puck accurately; it's extraordinarily hard, yet many a 5 year old does this well in street hockey - taught by the other kids, none of whom know what an algorithm is, yet develop and apply them.


Focusing on the individual is a good way to act, as an individual. However, there is research that might point to a structural way to lower the income based gap that the PISA scores reveal is a particular problem in the USA.

Research has shown that children of poor families learn just as much in school as children of more well off families, all other things being equal. You have to look at the very earliest years of schooling to see this, for reasons that will become apparent.

We know parent interactions and models matter, as mtb pointed out:

mtbturtle » August 21st, 2015, 12:36 pm wrote:Ripley suggests the most important things parents can do to improve their children's educational performance (increase test scores) is read to them, daily, as well as, reading themselves at other times (so children see their parents reading).


But we also know, from the research, that children of poor families tend to stop making progress academically, or even regress, during the summer. The same thing does NOT happen for kids of higher income families. In large part because the parents engage those kids in the summer, read to them, put them in programs, etc. Poor households are more likely to be one parent (likely working), have parents with low educational attainment, and even with two parents more likely to be dual income (with long and perhaps changing work schedules week to week or even day to day).

Even if those parents want to be involved, they might not have the resources (money and time and cultural capital) to do so very much at all.

1. Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap. K. Alexander, D. Entwisle and L. Olson, American Sociological Review, 2007 (72, 167-180).

What did the study examine?

Launched in 1982, the Beginning School Study (BSS) monitored the educational progress of a representative random sample of Baltimore school children from first grade through age 22. The BSS tracked testing data, learning patterns, high school placement, high school completion, and college attendance, among other indicators.

Key Findings:
-Better-off and disadvantaged youth make similar achievement gains during the school year; but during the summer, disadvantaged youth fall significantly behind in reading.
-By the end of fifth grade, disadvantaged youth are nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading.
-Two-thirds of the ninth grade reading achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years; nearly one-third of the gap is already present when children begin school.
-Early summer learning losses have later life consequences, including high school curriculum placement, whether kids drop out of high school, and whether they attend college.


http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons ... -learning/

So, is there a simple policy change that would address this income gap and improve the results by lowering the connection between parental income and educational performance? Yep.

Year round schooling.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 25th, 2015, 8:24 am 

UM,

This my be a case of the old saw that you see the glass as half full, while I see it as half empty. If . . .if, education offered a way out of poverty, I would agree that year round school would provide a solution. Yet, everything I read, and most of what I see, and much of what is told to me, all inform me that the educational gap almost exactly parallels the income gap between poor and affluent over the past three or four decades. By the way, education did provide a path out of poverty for me, but that was half a century ago, and I had to turn my back on my home and friends and leave.

No, I think the closer truth is that poverty places an almost insurmountable barrier in the path of education. It is not just that poor kids don't have educational opportunities in the summer, but that they don't have parents, peers, or role models who exhibit the value of education. There is an incredible peer pressure in poor communities to not "be smart." In poor Black communities, this is often expressed as "Don't act White." Poverty creates a set of justifications necessary to preserve the person's sense of self-worth, and part of those justifications is a repudiation of education. I urge you to read Ntozake Shange to glimpse my point.

Poor kids more often lack libraries, bookmobiles, friends with books to borrow, a bookshelf of decent reading in the hallway at home, a quiet place to read, even a decent breakfast before school. My approach may be as one-sided as yours, but I firmly believe that we must find a way to sharply reduce the income gap before we can use the schools to fix our society.

Why do longitudinal studies show a reduction in the reading gap? Because attention is being paid in those instances.

So, year round school is a great idea, but it's only gonna really benefit the affluent - those who always get the most of any well-intentioned program.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Braininvat on August 25th, 2015, 9:19 am 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/us/18poverty.html

some have returned to "the culture of poverty" as a real impediment. I have seen it in how families interact....families that value learning tend to talk more with children, have dinners where everyone can join a conversation, and so on. My work sometimes took me into households where a lot of parental feedback was "shut up" rather than engagement with a child's curiosity and concerns. I agree that public institutions can only go so far in countering this kind of thing.
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Re: Corporate Perspective

Postby Faradave on August 25th, 2015, 1:53 pm 

My son-in-law just got his MBA, which cost nearly twice what his undergraduate degree did. This is in large part because the MBA was at a more prestigious school, which knows it can get away with it.

The great part is, his job paid for it, as is most often the case. (It was true for all his classmates.) There were typical conditions:
1. Attend an approved school & curriculum.
2. Do it on your own time (nights, weekends), without dropping the ball at work.
3. Sponsor gets direct access to transcripts.
4. Student pays tuition, which is reimbursed for courses with an "A" or "B" grade.

It's a no-nonsense approach, in which there is a clear financial incentive and everyone can win.

I wonder how corporations would handle grammar school (k-12)?

Private schools are a partial solution (for those who can afford it). But I wonder what would happen if a municipality contracted out the education of its youth, with pay adjusted to demonstrable performance. Local corporations might be willing to sponsor (at least partially) curricula known to produce superior employees (for which jobs or college-job are guaranteed). Teacher's unions would, of course, balk at first. Individual teachers, especially the good ones, might not.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby doogles on August 26th, 2015, 5:20 am 

I would like to add a couple of divergent thoughts to this discussion. Obviously there is an underlying concern amongst posters from the USA that the standards of education may not up to expectations. These concerns may be justified, or they may be misplaced to some extent.

I remember sitting for my first IQ Test (a new-fangled thing) in the 1940s. A timer started us off and we were supposed to answer all these funny questions. Having been taught the ‘three Rs’ up till then I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do.. I never received a personal result, but I know I failed to answer most of the questions. My brain was simply not orientated to even grasp what the examiners had in mind until maybe the end of the exam session. It took a few tests over a decade to properly get the hang of things, and after that I could score in the 130s and 140s for different disciplines.

So my first piece of advice to anyone responsible for the training of the children, being tested (assuming that they believe such tests are important in the scheme of things, which I don’t), would be to flood them with questions of the type being asked. This at least ensures that they enter such tests with a sound grounding about the mind set and expectations of the examiners.

Another point to bear in mind is that some of these questions may suit some children better than others according to their life experiences. I notice, in Canadys OP link that the children sitting the exam “… answered questions on computers, solving problems such as finding the most convenient route on a map for three friends who wanted to meet up, or choosing the cheapest train ticket for a certain destination.”

I particularly noticed the question “choosing the cheapest train ticket for a certain destination.” My experience in life tells me that any kid who commutes often and pays fares for public transport would outclass any kid who is being driven from destination to destination by his parents. I would imagine that Asian children would outshine American kids in this area.

As a personal example, in the area in which I was reared, adults and teenagers like myself at the time used to bet with illegal Starting Price bookmakers (SPs) on horse racing (Gallops and Trots). I would bet that people in the area in which I was reared could work out their winnings on an each way bet on racehorses faster than a professor of mathematics who didn’t bet, but was just given figures for the amount wagered, the Starting Price odds, and the fact that a place-getter received one quarter of a winning dividend.

So I would like to make a couple of optimistic points
1. Familiarity with any discipline and having the appropriate brain synaptic connections functioning between the pertinent data stores must make a huge contribution to problem-solving in any area. Being ‘street-wise’ helps the average person problem-solve daily in high-density residential areas.
2. Never forget that ‘American Know-How’ turned farm boys with minimal education into some of the world’s best inventors and mass-production experts. Have a look at the educational qualifications of the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison. The necessity for inventiveness in wartime brings out the 'problem-solvers' en masse.
3. Also, don’t put too much emphasis on individual problem-solving test results in cases such as this. As the original link said “The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development -- the Paris-based group behind the test -- administered the computer-based problem-solving test for the first time in 2012 in response to a job market that increasingly demands what the group called "non-routine analytic" and "non-routine personal tasks."
My experience in real life is that ‘Think Tanks’ get better outcomes in solving ‘non-routine analytic tasks’. I’ve found that even if one person’s suggestion is not the ultimate solution, it can trigger a different train of thought in the imagination of others in the groups.
4. Please accept that some people prefer structured tasks to problem-solving. We need the ‘doers’ as well as the ‘movers and shakers’.

We need a balance and a wide diversity in our formal education. My experience in life again is that all of us do more learning in the jobs we finish up in, than we do formally at school. So long as we have access to all of the latest information in any discipline or job, I’m sure we’ll handle ‘non-routine analytic’ and ‘non-routine personal tasks’ with collective collegiate, rather than competitive, input.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 26th, 2015, 8:03 am 

Good points for the most part. I would note that the Wright brothers were well-educated; the myth about a couple of humble bicycle mechanics stumbling on the secrets to manned flight is just that - a myth. They were largely self-educated, but they were educated.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Ursa Minimus on August 26th, 2015, 8:14 am 

CanadysPeak » August 25th, 2015, 6:24 am wrote:UM,

This my be a case of the old saw that you see the glass as half full, while I see it as half empty. If . . .if, education offered a way out of poverty, I would agree that year round school would provide a solution. Yet, everything I read, and most of what I see, and much of what is told to me, all inform me that the educational gap almost exactly parallels the income gap between poor and affluent over the past three or four decades.



CP,

If you want to shift this discussion to getting out of poverty, instead of focusing on test scores in school, I suggest you search this site for "intergenerational mobility". I've posted some stuff before, I am pretty sure. Had I time, I would go look at that and point to some specifics, and dig out more. But given my limited time for the next couple of weeks...

As for the gap over time and effect of income... and sorry for the quality of this since it has been copied a few times and this comes from a very poor image in a lecture slide:

raceclassedu.jpg
race and class test scores over decades of time




Note that the test score gap by race has declined since segregation, but that the income based gap has grown to the point the effect is as strong as race was during segregation (by 2000). Today, it is likely even higher would be my guess. Things are not stable based on income, they are worse and worse over time based on income. For test scores. (social mobility too, but that's another topic).

Poverty is surmounted through education for many, so it is not "insurmountable". More difficult than in the past, due to educational factors and other things like violence and PTSD of kids in some neighborhoods. In any case, I have identified a problem, shown you how the class based problem has grown over time and through summer learning loss, and proposed a simple, easy to understand remedy based on that research. Will it solve all problems of education in poverty? Nope. Does it make sense based on the research results? Yep.

Real work to do, so no time for more now.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Ursa Minimus on August 26th, 2015, 8:21 am 

Braininvat » August 25th, 2015, 7:19 am wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/us/18poverty.html

some have returned to "the culture of poverty" as a real impediment. I have seen it in how families interact....families that value learning tend to talk more with children, have dinners where everyone can join a conversation, and so on. My work sometimes took me into households where a lot of parental feedback was "shut up" rather than engagement with a child's curiosity and concerns. I agree that public institutions can only go so far in countering this kind of thing.


The "culture of poverty" explanation makes sense to some, and is easy to throw around. It makes "common sense", and fits with some people's limited experience interacting with poor folk.

However, I suggest you look into the origin of the concept, and the critiques of it. Here is a simple start:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educat ... verty.aspx


Note how the author cites sources for the critique. Many, many sources.

Now look at the claims about the culture of poverty you see out in the world, and how often those claims are bereft of any research results, but full of anecdotal examples and unsupported claims about that supposed culture. There might be strong stats on education, but nothing linking "cultural variables" to educational outcome, as one example.

Bottom line, in almost every case (not every case, but most cases, within and outside of academia) those who claim the culture of poverty explains poverty are not well informed on the research in the area.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby Braininvat on August 26th, 2015, 12:03 pm 

I was not suggesting that the culture of poverty "explains" poverty - that is, quite obviously, due to a lot of external economic factors, like Rust Belt communities where the good paying jobs have simply gone - I was suggesting, rather, that when you have poverty and lack of educational opportunities, then there can be a cultural shift in the direction I was talking about. Also, regarding UM's assertion that there are no statistics linking culture and educational outcome, I find that it matters how broadly one defines culture. As others have noted, when you have an urban culture that is suspicious of book-learning and doesn't value formal education, that does affect how kids do in school. Some kids are exceptional, and are not held back by this kind of thing, but I think the above cited study on kids from poor households losing ground in the summer break, might be relevant.
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Re: And the most good enough kids are . . .

Postby CanadysPeak on August 26th, 2015, 2:40 pm 

I don't want to further sidetrack this discussion, but I feel compelled to point out two things:

Marginalized groups frequently lie to researchers and pollsters, and data may or not be reliable. In the early years of LBJ's War on Poverty, my mother would spend hours bullshitting some government fellow with a clipboard and preconceived ideas. She got more fun out of that than she did setting fire to Kiblers' outhouse.

There is a vast divide between being in poverty and being poor. I sometimes describe my childhood as poverty simply to make it easier for outsiders to grasp, but the truth is that I never lived in poverty. As the old folks used to say, we were too poor to have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, but we were never in poverty. I've gone hungry, been without a home, worn donated clothes, but I've never been impoverished. Any study that equates low income to poverty misses the whole boat.

Not starting any discussion, just saying . . .
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