Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Six for Friday

with 5 comments

* The dark side of dual enrollment. There’s some interesting stuff here on how testing practices deform learning, too:

We talked a little bit about the class, her performance, and where she should go next. The student explained that my class is not compatible with her “learning method.” She said that she prefers “that multiplying method, you know, where there are letters, A, B, C.”

I said, “You mean, multiple choice?”

“Yes, that’s the one,” she said. “That’s the method where I learn best. I’m good at figuring out which letters aren’t the right ones.”

She said she was good at multiple choice because she has learned to eliminate wrong answers and get the choices down to one or two and then make a good guess. She has transferred into Sam Houston State University with 65 credit hours (two years!) of “college” classes, all earned at a nearby community college. With possibly one exception (part of a math class), all her community-college classes used multiple choice. She said she didn’t learn well with my “method.”

This student spent 15 years of standardized tests learning how to discriminate between pre-presented choices — an utterly useless skill.

* Ideology vs. how random number generators work.

Hollywood misogyny is somehow getting worse.

* Via Facebook: Genocide in South Dakota?

* Perry Anderson in New Left Review with a nice history of the two-party system in America.

* And Business Week has a capitalism-with-a-human-face profile of CostCo.

5 Responses

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  1. Where’s the ideology? How do you think random number generators work? Usually there’s a seed plus an algorithm, so if she cut in line, she did take the numbers that would have gone to the next lady. Unless there’s a time component too. I don’t understand your point, is all.


    June 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    • Time is the seed, surely. I think they randomize off the second or the microsecond when the button is pressed. The machine doesn’t spit the numbers out in preselected order…

      Ideology = “everything happens for a reason.”


      June 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

      • Okay, I see now. I couldn’t find anything but speculation online but yeah, of course they use msec-or-better time as one input.

        “Everything happens for a reason” is barely ideology — more like bland optimism in spiritual garb.


        June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

    • I’d guess time is one seed, more accurately. Last number generated (or something like it) is probably also a seed.


      June 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

      • Btw whenever I hear someone say “everything happens for a reason” I reply, “great, blame the victim, why doncha”


        June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

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