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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

America needs strivers

Rewarding mediocrity is a losing strategy for America, writes Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion 3.0, on Education Next.


U.S. schools have inflated grades, devalued test scores, discouraged hard work and told students that stress is "toxic," he writes. Elite colleges aren't looking for the hard-studying, high-achieving kids who might do break-through research in 10 or 20 years. Too nerdy. (And too Asian.)


"Ella" regrets working so hard in high school, she told Lemov. When others were partying, she was studying. She got A's, but so did her less-capable, less-motivated classmates, and her school had eliminated class rank and a GPA boost for honors classes. She aced the SATs, but colleges had made scores optional.


An athlete and a violinist, Ella chose to stress academics in her college applications. She was rejected by colleges that admitted classmates who'd taken easier classes, and stressed their parent-funded community service trips and well-roundedness.


Ella is in college, majoring in biochemistry, Lemov writes. She's OK. But the lesson she learned was: Don't go the extra mile. Your "drive to excel" will not lead to opportunities. Party more, work less.


That's not what the bright kids are doing in China, Lemov writes. America needs to "reinvigorate the culture of meritocracy and achievement in our schools."


His first step is to restore the SAT and ACT, which are far more objective measures of achievement than classroom grades. The tests aren't perfect, he writes, but "an explicitly academic measure is far more just and meritocratic than a system of nebulous, inchoate incentives that reward students who have the resources to curate their lives around that system."


More testing would be even fairer, writes Lemov. In England, students take subject-specific tests in a variety of subjects they choose allowing more opportunities to show readiness for further learning.


He also suggests empowering parents with data. Tell parents how their child's grade compares to the class average. "Does 'emerging mastery' mean a warning light is flashing for my 3rd grader?" (Yes, it does.)


"The idea that lower standards are an equity win" is foolish and dangerous, Lemov writes. "Equity means ensuring that each child has the fullest opportunity to reach the highest possible standards in a fair way."


Americans need to "overcome our fear that competition and stress will hurt young people," he argues. "While we don’t want to create a pressure cooker for our youth, being able to handle stress, challenge, and competition is a valuable skill for creating a life of meaning."

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10 comentários


Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
27 de out. de 2023

Remember, today's SAT is an absurdly weak test, compared with that before 1995. For your comparative education, check out its blueprint (weak Algebra II [see page 133 and following in https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/test-specifications-redesigned-sat-1.pdf] in comparison with the syllabus content for China's Gaokao (calculus: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-list-of-topics-of-the-Gaokao-exam-in-math-and-science), Japan's Common Test for University Admissions (no science section in the SAT, vs the testing of higher physics in Senta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_Test_for_University_Admissions ), South Korea's College Scholastic Ability Test (https://leapscholar.com/blog/korean-sat-exam-csat-overview-syllabus-difficulty-level/), or that of any similarly competing nation in East Asia.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
30 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

The low birth rate was a big issue there all through the 1990s -- that's not a change -- and the boys long scored higher on these tests than the girls did, although that may have been because of differential investment in the sexes' educations in East Asia; at any rate, the fact that boys have outperformed girls on these rigourous admission tests argues against any defence of the absurdly slow pace that American educational standard setters like David Coleman foist upon their critically uninformed public.

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linsee
26 de out. de 2023

Sorry.I forgot the link!

https://www.manifold1.com/episodes/meritocracy-sat-scores-and-laundering-prestige-at-elite-universities-43/transcript

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linsee
26 de out. de 2023

Steve Hsu had a post on just this topic, "Laundering prestige at the Ivies." His main thesis is that SAT scores are the strongest widely available predictor of success in college, and in life outcomes generally, and he demonstrates it with data from many sources. One slide is a chart from University of California faculty on the relation between incoming SAT scores and likelihood of graduation (broken out by race/ethnicity. Another looks at lifetime achievements among the highly gifted students tracked by the Johns Hopkins program for mathematically precocious youth (the top 1% of students who took the SAT at age 12 or 13). Another is from a paper by Raj Chetty, about which Hsu says "being in a very…


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Convidado:
26 de out. de 2023

Biochemistry as a undergraduate does not require one to attend an Ivy League or Ivy Like. However, one needs to strive to get into graduate school at top tier schools. If the student wanted to do pre-med, one needs to remind them that the person who finished last in their medical school class still gets to be called Dr.

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Convidado:
26 de out. de 2023

The problem is the higher ed fetish of thinking college is the end goal. In the distant past, college was where a provincial student would be pushed to become educated, in the discipline of intellect, regulation of emotions, establishment of principles true definition. Of course, you can become educated at a much younger age if you overcome the damage of your schooling and constant busywork.


Challenging schooling can have value but little of the schooling is challenging since that by definition will leave most behind. And special efforts are made to ensure poor kids aren't challenged by "sustained cognitive activity during the school day".

Schooling may build human capital not only by teaching academic skills, but by expanding the capacity…

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