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A Prof Debunks Standardized Testing & Pearson Strikes Back

All this emphasis on standardized testing in the schools sure makes lots of sense to the purveyors of standardized tests. Stroup testified that for $468 million the Legislature had bought a pile of stress and wasted time from Pearson Education, the biggest player in the standardized-testing industry. Lest anyone miss that Stroup’s message threatened Pearson’s hegemony in the accountability industry, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) brought Stroup’s testimony to a…

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Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and…

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What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

A readable Wired article about why proofreading is difficult. My father, a technical editor for the U.S. Government, says he was so attuned to seeing typos that his brain would show them to him in a larger type size. Typos suck. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to…

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The Myth of Multitasking

Psychology Today summary of research that debunks the myth of multitasking, with a nifty little practical test. Much recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.…

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Buzz Aldrin: It’s Time to Put a Man on Mars

There are eight U.S. astronauts left out of the 12 who walked on the moon. All of us are in the eighth decade of our lives. Each of us can attest to the importance of continuing human exploration of space and the tremendous impact it has had on so many facets of our society. The technical innovations, scientific achievements, medical breakthroughs, environmental enhancements, national defense improvements and educational impacts have…

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The Uses of Being Wrong

Unlike that of most physical and natural scientists, the ability of social scientists to conduct experiments or rely on high-quality data is often limited. In my field, international relations, even the most robust econometric analyses often explain a pathetically small amount of the data’s statistical variance. Indeed, from my first exposure to the philosopher of mathematics Imre Lakatos, I was taught that the goal of social science is falsification. By…

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Boys And Girls Memorize Words Differently

Girls were more likely to memorize words and phrases by relying on their mental dictionary, while boys tend to use their mental grammar. Mental dictionaries of the mind store sounds, words, and common phrases, while mental grammar stores the composition of longer words and sentences, such as going from “walked” to “walk.” They also compared the children’s test results to data collected from 71 adults, ages 18 to 50 and…