brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Bob LeChevalier lojbab at lojban.org
Tue Jul 16 16:29:34 EST 2002

```"Parse Tree" <parsetree at hotmail.com> wrote:
>"Bob LeChevalier" <lojbab at lojban.org> wrote in message
>news:bs88jusrrcsdpsd0akq414c1ba0ui3q7sb at 4ax.com...
>> "Parse Tree" <parsetree at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >The SATs are not well constructed.  Generally, guessing penalties don't
>> >work, and there are numerous reasons for this.  Firstly, guessing penalties
>> >rely on a completely random selection, which is rarely the case.
>>
>> Any improvement you can make on random selection reflects some sort of
>> knowledge or logic.
>
>Yes.  But not necessarily good knowledge.

>I notice that they have multiple things that may exist when someone has the
>correct answer.  Does every solution with work given result in the same
>mark?  What mark is a solution without work given?

I don't know the scoring algorithm.  They clearly class things as correct,
partially correct, and incorrect.  I don't know how much credit was given for
problems that were gotten right by fewer people counted as a higher weight.
I don't know if there was a guessing penalty; there is one on the SAT, so I
suspect that there was here.  Generally the resulting weighted scores are
normed so that the ideal median is 500, though with both the SAT and TIMSS,
the actual median ends up slightly offset from that norm, probably because of
the particular pattern of weighted answers.

>Note, for the translation question I would have simply written the answer.
>The question is quite trivial, and simple arithmetic should never have to be
>shown.

Yet large numbers of students got it wrong.  If you put down the correct
number with no work on that one, you may have gotten full credit.  But if you
made an arithmetic mistake, you got no credit.  Since the question was not an
arithmetic question, I would hate to have my success on the question judged
by the correctness of my mental arithmetic.

>> Not in mathematics and science, which is culture-free (in theory).  But see
>> the answers and codings above.
>
>Science is not culture free.  The questions use metric for one, which as far
>as I know is not taught in the US.

Of course it is.  Science education in the US *ONLY* uses metric these days.
Furthermore, metric IS fundamental to the international standards of science.
If you don't know metric, you don't know science.

>> If they get the wrong answer and don't show their work, then they were
>> falsely overconfident.
>
>Not if the mistake is in work that they do show.

If that is the case then it can be seen.

>> >Seems to be quite a bit of memorization for these tests.
>>
>> Actually there is a couple of pages of formulas at the beginning of the
>> tests.  But you do have to know how to solve problems.
>
>Oh, then I don't understand why more people didn't get 100%.

Maybe because the questions were harder than most kids had experienced.  When
only 10% of the kids in the world get the answer to one question correct, it
seems unlikely that many kids would get all of the answers on a test with
maybe 100 questions correct.

>I guess the physics questions were a bit much.

I presented only 4 math questions, and none of the physics questions.  Some
of the physics questions were very hard, and some were easier.

>> More importantly, to the extent that memorization is required, it is required
>> equally of all kids, so this does not invalidate the international
>> comparison.  Cultural differences may affect the scores, but that is
>> precisely the sort of thing that TIMSS was intended to detect - is that
>> something about American (or whatever) culture or education that aids or
>> harms ability to solve the problems.
>>
>> We came up short, but the nincompoop's explanations have nothing to do with
>> the problem.
>
>The problem is that memorization does not necessarily correlate with
>intelligence.

So?  Neither TIMSS nor the SAT purport to be intelligence tests.  The
nincompoop seems to think they are, if it can be said that the nincompoop
"thinks" at all.

lojbab

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