Thursday, 22 August 2013

07:58 – The main headline in this morning’s paper was N.C. students not as ‘college ready’ as peers

The results from spring 2012 are in. The average score of North Carolina public high school juniors taking the ACT dropped from 21.9 the previous year, which was a full point above the national average, to 18.7, which was dead last. In fairness, the article did point out that this drop was expected, and why. In 2011, only about 20% of public high school juniors took the test; in 2012 100% of the juniors were required to take it. Obviously, the average is going to be much lower if you test all students than if you test only the top quintile.

The article also pointed out that white and Asian students have higher average scores than black, Hispanic, and American Indian students, but it failed to draw the obvious conclusion. Comparisons between states are meaningless unless those results are normed to take into account both the percentage of students who take the test and the racial makeup of the tested population. States whose students are primarily white and Asian are going to have better averages than states with significant percentages of black, Hispanic, or American Indian students.

Less obviously, the percentage of students in a given state who are home-schooled has a disproportionate effect on average public high school test scores. Home schooled students are, on average, much brighter than public school students. There’s self-selection going on. Homeschooling drains the best students from public schools. I don’t have the data at hand, but I’d be willing to bet that if homeschooled students from across the US were grouped and treated as a separate state, their average scores would put them not just first of all states, but far, far above whichever state ranked second.

Most colleges and universities now recognize the reality that homeschool students are the best of the best. Only a few years ago, many colleges were leery of homeschool students because they lacked public school transcripts. Now, many colleges and universities, including many of the most prestigious, are actively recruiting homeschool students.


13:49 – Oh, yeah. A couple of very important things about homeschooling and standardized test scores that I forgot to mention in my earlier post. First, students who’ve been homeschooled for only a year typically average 59th percentile on test scores. Students who’ve been homeschooled for several years or longer typically average 90th to 93rd percentile. Second, for homeschooled students, racial disparities in standardized test scores begin narrowing quickly even after only one year of homeschooling. After two or more years of homeschooling, racial disparities in standardized test scores essentially disappear. That is a truly damning indictment of public school systems.

27 thoughts on “Thursday, 22 August 2013”

  1. Consistent with the homeschooling performance result is the public school result that the more money spent per student, the lower the standardized test result. Is it not contrary then that politicians want to increase the money spent at failing schools more than increases at non-minority schools?

    LA Unified will be issuing iPads to every student. And not the $500 iPads that you might have, $800 jobs outfitted with special software. Can’t you just hear it on the street corners next month: “…tacos, enchiladas, iPaditos….?”

  2. iPad may not be a bad choice. Now comes this:

    http://www.zeit.de/digital/datenschutz/2013-08/trusted-computing-microsoft-windows-8-nsa/seite-1

    You can run it through Google Translate, but the gist is that the combination of Win8 and TPM 2.0 (the default installation beginning 2015) will not allow opting out of a software management tool that allows M$ to disable what it believes is illegally obtained software. The warning is from a German federal government agency that recommends not using Win8 in business, for safety and security reasons. If you are already running Win7, it is good to use until 2020.

  3. If that is true, then why would the German Fed advise businesses against using it?

    I’ll probably keep one machine here on Windows 8 just to see how this works, and meanwhile it’s already functioning as my little security training sandbox. The other one I’ll probably move back to some Linux distro or other if I can find one that will work with the pesky Atheros ethernet controller that came with both of these machines, HP boxes. They only connect to the net via Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 for some odd reason. Finding drivers for other distros is a total PITA.

  4. Like the DRM on an iPad is any better. One of these days the Android tablet will rule. $199 each for a Nexus and could be far cheaper in quantity. LA schools are big enough to have any software they want custom made. The hold Apple has on the edumacation idiots is a disgrace.

  5. The hold Apple has on the edumacation idiots is a disgrace.

    At one time Apple almost gave the computers to the schools for nothing. The administrators now remember the name “Apple” and if it was OK in the past, it is OK now. Does not matter if more suitable products exists. Apple got their name in the door.

    I now wonder who is going to pay for lost or broken iPads. Will the student have to pay? What if the student is low income (or in a home with lazy parents sucking on the public tit) will the student be charged full price. Students never took care of their books. Now they have expensive electronic gear to throw at each other.

    I would predict that by the end of the year fully 25% of the issued iPads are never returned because of theft, damage or sold by the parents to buy drugs.

  6. Educmacation and the “arts” sectors. Also rich libruls who are quite snarky about their little machines, which, when you buy them, have far less hw than a PC costing much less.

    Wave of t-storms through here now; cut some of the humidity, thankfully. And drenched the veggies and flowers so I don’t have to wottuh them.

  7. I would predict that by the end of the year fully 25% of the issued iPads are never returned because of theft, damage or sold by the parents to buy drugs.

    I believe that you are under predicting that figure. I would be surprised if 50% of the iPads get returned. Many of them will be in the local pawnshops by the second week of school.

  8. “I now wonder who is going to pay for lost or broken iPads. Will the student have to pay? What if the student is low income (or in a home with lazy parents sucking on the public tit) will the student be charged full price.”

    What we need to understand is that a bureaucracy cannot function without an appropriate form to be filled out. As there is no form with a box to be checked labeled “iPAD”, there will be no attempt to collect for lost, stolen or vandalized iPads. Now if you doubt that, go down to your local bureau and attempt to license your cat as one can do for a dog. Impossible is there is no form that says “cat.”

    Your tax $$$ at work!!!

  9. Similarly, anchor babies can receive free lunches and breakfasts without having a form filled out by their parents (there is no form in Spanish).

  10. I’d be interested to see the test scores broken down by economic class, rather than simply by skin tone. Do the children of educated, middle class or above blacks do better than my drunk poor white trash kinfolk?
    I’m willing to wager that the single biggest factor in student achievement is the ‘Parental Give A Damn Quotient’. And more or less by definition, kids who are home schooled have it all over their public school comrades in that regard. Last year, my younger sister and her husband coughed up almost $18,000 for tuition for a private high school for their three daughters; very very few parents who don’t care about their kids’ education will do that.

  11. Bob, do you have a source for your figures on standardized testing of homeschoolers?

    I did some digging and found research shows test results of 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public school students. And the research shows some positive correlation with higher family income and educational achievement of parents. The methodology of the studies are somewhat opaque as to how families were selected. One of the widely cited studies was by Bob Jones University and was nearly 100% composed of white, Christian families – ones that had used their testing services.

    SAT and ACT data show a much narrower gap, according to the Home School Legal Defense Fund.

    One thing that stands out – the easily found and widely quoted statistics are all from homeschooling advocates and their supporters. The couple of academic sources I found pointed out methodological problems with many of the studies, typically self-selection of one kind or another.

  12. I’ve read dozens of articles, scholarly and mainstream, over the past few years. I don’t have them at hand, but a quick search turned up:

    http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

    “1. In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, “Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America.” The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less. The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile.”

    Which is in line with other data I’ve seen. Yes, of course there’s self-selection going on. Stupid, lazy parents tend not to homeschool. It’s the brighter, accomplished ones, of all races, who are motivated to homeschool, and of course their kids also tend to be bright and accomplished. As I said, homeschooling is skimming off the best of the best, so it’s no wonder that the average homeschooled student scores probably where the top 5% or 10% of public school students do.

  13. This is only one of very many such incidents of violent black-on-white crime in the country and the MSM rarely if ever reports any of it. We all know this and yet still pretend everything is hunky-dory. It ain’t. Not by a long shot. We just had the other recent incident of three black kids killing the Australian kid and utter silence from the President or the usual race-baiting demagogues. But they beat the Trayvon Martin case to death and got all bent out of shape over a rodeo clown. This country is so fucked.

  14. Bob, I’d like to know how the proportion of black homeschoolers (performing well or even just being homeschooled) compares to the the proportion of black population.

  15. I think that the black kids are horribly frustrated that they cannot get jobs, mostly because they were not prepared for real life by our failing school systems in the USA. Most of them are apparently being raised by a single parent and do not have good role models. Young men around age 13 or so need a male parent badly! The laws of the street and the laws of societies do not mix very well.

    Plus, the new government policies are making it more and more expensive to hire people and many employers are going without rather than train, train and train some more:
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/under-obama-black-unemployment-back-to-twice-the-white-rate/article/2534597

    I have several black friends that I go to church with. They are all disappointed with the way that most young black men act. Not members of my church! We have several mixed marriages at our church which was unusual 30 years ago but no longer.

    One of my black friends committed a robbery when he was a young man and got shot twice by the proprietor. He carries both 357 bullets in his leg and is about 60 now. He mentors back at the prison where he used to live and just screams about the young men not listening to him. One got out a couple of years ago and was back in within a week on parole violations (was in a car that did a drive-by shooting).

    I must admit that I wonder where the USA is going on race relations. I cannot tell if they are any worse than they used to be or not.

  16. Many of them will be in the local pawnshops by the second week of school.

    Pffftttt. Some will be there the same afternoon as soon as school gets out. There may be some a couple sooner as a few of the cretins will be suspended before lunch.

  17. The end is nigh!

    The plumbers, electrician, painters and tiler have finished their work and gone, I had some of the carpets steam cleaned after the mess the tradies made, the agent and her cow-orkers had a quick inspection on Wednesday and gave me a few more tips and their suggested price range. (Around $515k).

    I just had a carpet repairer around to discuss the possibility of repairing some areas of carpet that are damaged (I have some unused offcuts from when the carpet and kitchen lino was installed in 1996.) He said given the age of the carpet it wouldn’t be worth doing and wouldn’t look real good, and would cost a motza, so I’ll just chuck the offcuts and put the place up for sale as is. The carpets and lino when I bought this place in 1985 were in far far far worse condition (when it was only seven years old) than the 17 year old carpets and lino now, so I’ll just leave it to the buyers to determine their own priorities.

    I’m having some fly screens repaired, a yard maintenance guy and window/mirror cleaners in the next few days. I am still busy cleaning, organising and chucking stuff. Will probably have a photographer around late next week and have the place on the market weekend after this or a few days later.

    I’ll sure be glad when all this is over. I’m off now to get some new R. M. Williams shoes as a reward for all my “hard work”… 🙂

  18. In Australia we are in the middle of a federal election campaign, and it is simply impossible to have a sensible debate about school funding. The left want to spend more money on schools (i.e. teacher union featherbedding) and will mercilessly attack anyone who suggests such money is wasted. Whenever anyone suggests lower taxes or smaller government the lefties immediately shout them down, asking which school and hospital services should be cut to make this possible. Talk about the fallacy of the excluded middle. Given the unemployment rate (not as bad as in the US) I think home schooling could work but am more in favour of independently run schools. I, for example, know enough maths, physics and history to teach those subjects but would prefer that a professional in a parent run school do it. Although I know this stuff I am not confident I could teach it.

  19. “I’m off now to get some new R. M. Williams shoes as a reward for all my “hard work”… :-)”

    Gee, your life is even more exciting than mine; I did some laundry, did the dishes, cleaned out the cat litter, read some more in the Conquest bio of Stalin and will be signing off for the night soon reading a bit more in the history of the Reformation, probably about three or four pages before I conk out.

  20. If that is true, then why would the German Fed advise businesses against using it?

    There was a lot more to that article (I looked but could not find it in their English edition). They advised government and business not to adopt it, primarily because it is not secure, with what that particular Bundesregierung office says they have confirmed is a definite known backdoor that the NSA can almost surely access anywhere in the world that Win8 is installed. The software disabling was actually a minor point of that article, but likely to be more important to Americans. I probably emphasized the wrong thing from the article–computer access and data safety was really the crux of the article, with the ability for M$ to disable software just a mention.

    People around me here in Bibleland are just completely unconcerned about privacy issues. If I tell someone that their emails are no longer private, they just shrug and say, “Oh, well. I’m not doing anything wrong anyway, and I’m not going to stop using email.” Privacy is much more important in Europe. Priorities are different. But their politicians actually end up doing more about it than American politicos do. Thus even Pam Jones at Groklaw recommends getting an email account in Switzerland, rather than putting up with the complicity American providers are only too ready and quick to give to government, rather than actually providing privacy. But how many besides Pam are actually going to do that?

    Amazing—we have privacy guaranteed and enforced by law for the US mail, but none whatsoever for email. Amazon can take back stuff you bought without your permission; M$ will be able to disable software they do not like and probably take files off your computer without you even knowing, let along giving permission. It’s like waking up and finding all the rules we held dear in life have changed, and nobody cares. Except Snowden and Manning, and they are going to pay dearly for ever bringing it up.

  21. I heard about the M$ backdoor thing for NSA on Windows 8 but have not been able to confirm it; my question would still be: why would businesses NOT want to have that on there to prevent employees and staff from having illegal sw on their work-owned machines? I would think that would be a nice feature for them.

    I have yet to see any sw disabled on either of the two Windows 8 machines here. Maybe I should test that out.

  22. Bob, I’d like to know how the proportion of black homeschoolers (performing well or even just being homeschooled) compares to the the proportion of black population.

    I don’t have any numbers. My impression is that blacks are underrepresented in homeschooling, but that’s just an impression.

  23. “Second, for homeschooled students, racial disparities in standardized test scores begin narrowing quickly even after only one year of homeschooling. After two or more years of homeschooling, racial disparities in standardized test scores essentially disappear. That is a truly damning indictment of public school systems.”

    So, are you saying that environment is more important than heredity after all?

  24. No, that’s not what I’m saying. See my prior comment.

    There’s a lot of self-selection going on. The reason that homeschooled students average 70th, 80th, 90th percentile instead of 50th isn’t that homeschooling somehow magically turns poor and average students into good students; it’s that homeschooling self-selects better students disproportionately. On average, homeschool parents are brighter and more motivated than public school parents, and their kids are on average also brighter and more motivated than public school students.

  25. Nah, that’s not me. I gave up riding motorcycles a long time ago, and have the scar to remind me why. Bears are a real road danger. On August 10th a friend of mine in a Caterham Super 7 was hit by a bear outside of Jasper (he had come to a stop), which severely damaged the aluminum bonnet of the car.

    Another bear story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/08/22/calgary-grizzly-bear-black-banff-ob.html

    Look at the claws!

    I must agree with Bob about homeschooled families better brighter and better motivated! And with all other races being under-represented. Homeshooling is mainly white middle class. Not too rich, they can afford private, and not so poor that they can’t support the family on one income.

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