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Statistical Errors Keep 4700 K-3rd Students From NYC 'Gifted' Programs 215

Posted by timothy
from the more-than-a-little-oopsie dept.
alostpacket writes "The New York times reports that statistical scoring by the standardized testing company Pearson incorrectly disqualified over 4700 students from a chance to enter gifted / advanced programs in New York City schools. Only students who score in the 90th percentile or above are eligible for these programs. Those in the 97th or above are eligible for 5 of the best programs. 'According to Pearson, three mistakes were made. Students' ages, which are used to calculate their percentile ranking against students of similar age, were recorded in years and months, but should also have counted days to be precise. Incorrect scoring tables were used. And the formula used to combine the two test parts into one percentile ranking contained an error.' No mention of enlisting the help of the gifted children was made in the Times article, but it also contained a now-corrected error. This submission likely also contains an erro"
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Statistical Errors Keep 4700 K-3rd Students From NYC 'Gifted' Programs

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  • by dwhitaker (1500855) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @08:43AM (#43503003) Homepage
    It may be arbitrary, but it is still a somewhat socially-accepted metric. I suspect that many people would agree that the top 10% (or 3%) of students by whatever accepted measure qualify for "gifted".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @08:50AM (#43503027)

    In the meantime, the truly gifted are hitting the library, doing their own thing, and pretty much don't need no stinking program.

    -see life of Linus Pauling, Einstein. etc ...

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phoomp (1098855) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @08:57AM (#43503053)
    Anyone else find some irony in the fact that the people deciding which kids qualify for advanced education programs couldn't get their math right?
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @09:20AM (#43503151)

    I feel for the parents of these 4700 children, many of whom will not get the help they need...

    Sorry, if a 15 days birth date error on your birth certificate would change you from "gifted" to "not gifted" then clearly it's a complete farce and there's no "help they need".

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @09:21AM (#43503155) Homepage Journal

    In the meantime, the truly gifted are hitting the library, doing their own thing, and pretty much don't need no stinking program.

    In the pre-World War II era when Linus Pauling and Albert Einstein grew up, it was believed acceptably safe for a child to walk the streets unaccompanied [tvtropes.org]. Nowadays kids are kept indoors over public hysteria over "stranger danger" and over poorly laid out, cul-de-sac-heavy street hierarchies [wikipedia.org] that discourage getting from one place to another in anything but a passenger vehicle.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @10:05AM (#43503325)

    No, it's fucking retarded at its face. So we find the children that need the LEAST amount of help, and give them the most help. Then we take the kids in the most trouble and flunk them out, punish them, hold them back a grade. The entire premise is idiotic. In this country we have trouble getting normal children the basic skills they need. Last I checked, our gifted students were doing ok. So lets start focusing on the kids that need it, and let the ones that gifted ones be gifted on their own.

  • by Slyfox696 (2432554) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @10:24AM (#43503411)

    No, it's fucking retarded at its face. So we find the children that need the LEAST amount of help, and give them the most help. Then we take the kids in the most trouble and flunk them out, punish them, hold them back a grade. The entire premise is idiotic. In this country we have trouble getting normal children the basic skills they need. Last I checked, our gifted students were doing ok. So lets start focusing on the kids that need it, and let the ones that gifted ones be gifted on their own.

    I'm sorry, but your opinion is silly. Why are you interested in making everyone mediocre? How about we push ALL kids, not just the ones at the bottom? Whether it's publicly acceptable to say or not, the fact is most of the kids at the bottom will never advance past subpar. They'll be the manual labor, the janitors, the cooks, etc. And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that, any person providing for their family is okay in my book.

    But the gifted children, they are the thinkers, they are the ones who will change the world. We need to be giving them every opportunity to succeed we can, and to hold them back simply because there are some kids who are not intelligent seems a completely backwards outlook on life. You're saying we should not provide assistance to the children who will change the world so we can instead focus on those who will work fairly unintellectual jobs. That makes no sense.

  • by Prof.Phreak (584152) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @10:45AM (#43503499) Homepage

    All this implies that there are 4700 empty seats in those gifted schools. There aren't. Very likely other folks with 96.98 percentile got in due to their b-days falling out onto the same month as someone a week younger and same exact grade on the same exact exam. In other words, by most measures, the folks in these schools are "just as" gifted as the folks who missed out due to the error (bad luck).

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:09AM (#43503687) Homepage

    Great idea; we should also implement this system for school sports programs.
    Kick all the talented kids out of the teams and replace them by the kids that perform worst.
    Last I checked, our talented athletes were doing ok, so lets start focussing on the kids that need it.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:26AM (#43503797) Homepage

    His opinion may be silly, but he isn't alone. I overheard two teachers saying the same thing, that the gifted kids take care of themselves and don't need any help.

    Of course that's often false. It is a common enough occurrence for some gifted kids to get really lazy because early on, they find it is easy to skate with minimal effort. Later in their education careers however, when subjects become inherently tougher, those skating work habits turn to failure. I have personal experience here.

    Secondly, relying on smart kids to take care of themselves is not a recipe for a well rounded education, it's a recipe for hyper focus on a single area that may or may not prove valuable to the student. In the college context, the point of a liberal arts education is to expose students to a wide range subjects because sometimes, very interesting things can happen when knowledge in different subject areas intersects. Ignoring smart kids might make sense for a diploma mill, but it doesn't make sense if the actual goal is help kids succeed by showing them where interesting (and potentially lucrative) intersections can be found.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:28PM (#43504189) Homepage Journal

    It's difficult or impossible to identify the kids who will make major contributions to society in middle school, for God's sake. Read the biographies of Nobel laureates. Many of them were fuck-ups in high school (and beyond).

    Assuming that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates contributed to society (or at least made a lot of money), neither of them showed much promise in high school.

    Most of the people who made significant contributions came from financially comfortable, and often wealthy, families. Try eliminating poverty and inequality, to the extent that most other developed countries have.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:55PM (#43505525) Journal

    But subjectively, the media have blown everything completely out of proportion.

    Somewhere, a child was abducted by a person.

    But the media reports it as everyones child everywhere is minutes away from to be taken next.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:18PM (#43506029)

    But subjectively, the media have blown everything completely out of proportion.

    Somewhere, a child was abducted by a person.

    But the media reports it as everyones child everywhere is minutes away from to be taken next.

    Nothing sells like hysteria.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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