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Old 01-22-2006, 10:20 PM   #31
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Originally posted by Tarvark


And in theory the LSATs should be the fairest of all tests. Its the hardest to crack with studing (due to the logic problems) and the writting part is not graded but sent off to the schools you apply to.
Actually, the Logic Games section is the easiest section to learn on the LSAT. It is the one section which sees the greatest improvement in score upon taking a prep course or completing 20+ preptests.

I didn't take a prep test myself for the LSAT and got a very, very good scrore. I got 23/23 on the LG section, but that was only because after 10 or so prep tests, the types of games are all easily structured and obvious to solve. It's again a poor measure of aptitude and a better measure of either who has more time on their hands or who has money enough to be instructed on how to approach the problems.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:51 PM   #32
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Actually, the Logic Games section is the easiest section to learn on the LSAT. It is the one section which sees the greatest improvement in score upon taking a prep course or completing 20+ preptests.

I didn't take a prep test myself for the LSAT and got a very, very good scrore. I got 23/23 on the LG section, but that was only because after 10 or so prep tests, the types of games are all easily structured and obvious to solve. It's again a poor measure of aptitude and a better measure of either who has more time on their hands or who has money enough to be instructed on how to approach the problems.
I did not know that, I have not taken the LSAT, acctually thats interesting.

Although I would think in terms of Law School, though the LSAT might matter a good deal, would it not be the applicants college file that would be paramount?

I.E. Wouldnt an applicant from Yale fare better then an applicant from Macalaster, despite merit, anyway?
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:28 AM   #33
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Originally posted by Tarvark
I.E. Wouldnt an applicant from Yale fare better then an applicant from Macalaster, despite merit, anyway?
I teach international relations, not law, but at least for our grad students, where a student earned their BA (and even more so their MA, if they're PhD candidates) is not per se relevant. GPA, GRE and writing sample quality are the essential criteria for MAs; for PhDs these are also important, but additionally they must have a proposed plan of study and well defined objectives which fit the resources our department has to offer.

Incidentally, in the humanities at least, the Ivies are notorious for poor graduate career advising and not going the extra mile to help place their graduate students.
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:47 AM   #34
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I am so SICK of people always blaming the public school system for failure. Like Dread said, there a number of factors that contribute to failure, parental involement and environment being at the top of the list. People want to point the finger at schools when a high school senior admits he/she can't read. Parents ask "How can the school system not know my child can't read?" My question to that person would be "You are this child's parent. How can you not know your child can't read?"

This is exactly it. I remember learning to read, and it was something I was good at, never really had trouble like my sibs, but I still remember spending an hour or two everynight with my mom or dad going through the spelling words and the readers. And when my parents weren't around, I had to sit and read with my grandma. Also, some of my fondest childhood memories are my mom reading to me and my sibs. It was usually more fun than going to the movies.

I just don't get it when parents simply don't care, or make up ten thousan excuses why it's not their responsibility to care. And it's not only the parents direct involvement, but the parent's lack of concern for other enrivronmental factors. For example, the kids in my old neighborhood who went to the public schools - not only did their parents not care about their education, but their parents did not encourage them to do homework, they didn't monitor how their kids were spending their time and who they were spending time with. One of my friends/neighbor as a kid was terrible in school b/c his life revolved around his dad being in prison, his mom changing jobs every other day, and his friends wanting to be gangsters and drug dealers. How is a twelve year old supposed to focus on school on his own in an environment like that?
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:51 AM   #35
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Since the article which kicked off this thread was specifically about the thinking skills of students in the *advanced* stages of their schooling...and since the importance of parental contributions keeps coming up...

What SHOULD parents of high school kids specifically be doing to help further their children's educational progress? You can read with your second grader, help them with their science fair projects, keep television and recreational computer use to a judicious minimum, etc. Much of this is not relevant to the needs and skill level of high school students, however (maybe the last one). What ARE the things parents can and should do at this stage? Or are their roles as active contributors to their children's education more or less at an end by this point?
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Old 01-23-2006, 01:04 AM   #36
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Originally posted by yolland
Since the article which kicked off this thread was specifically about the thinking skills of students in the *advanced* stages of their schooling...and since the importance of parental contributions keeps coming up...

What SHOULD parents of high school kids specifically be doing to help further their children's educational progress? You can read with your second grader, help them with their science fair projects, keep television and recreational computer use to a judicious minimum, etc. Much of this is not relevant to the needs and skill level of high school students, however (maybe the last one). What ARE the things parents can and should do at this stage? Or are their roles as active contributors to their children's education more or less at an end by this point?
I don't think so. It's less direct tbough. I'll just give you my own experience. My parents never made any rules or forced me to do school work. On the flip side, I was totally independent. They didn't give me any money, I didn't have a car of theirs to use, they didn't take me and my friends on trips. Some of my friends were not very good in school, which is fine, but their parents would always be giving them money and inviting us over or taking us places. How do they expect their kids, who already have trouble focusing, are ever going to catch up in school when they're constantly providing a more fun alternative? I think at a high school level, the parents should at least do their best to provide an environment that encourages school work and takes away other distractions.
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:57 AM   #37
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Originally posted by yolland
Since the article which kicked off this thread was specifically about the thinking skills of students in the *advanced* stages of their schooling...and since the importance of parental contributions keeps coming up...

What SHOULD parents of high school kids specifically be doing to help further their children's educational progress? You can read with your second grader, help them with their science fair projects, keep television and recreational computer use to a judicious minimum, etc. Much of this is not relevant to the needs and skill level of high school students, however (maybe the last one). What ARE the things parents can and should do at this stage? Or are their roles as active contributors to their children's education more or less at an end by this point?
I think setting clear expectations may be beneficial (not "you must get all 'A's" but more along the line of "you must put your best effort into your work" and "homework come before television"). While it is important for children to learn to act independently, parents frequently abdicate the role of parent nd want the easier role of friend.

Frankly, I was shocked at the inability to calculate simple percentages. This can be mastered by 6th grade.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:18 PM   #38
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But the entire point of trying to pick out "brainy" people on an aptitude test has since been dispelled by Kaplan et al. who showed definitively that SATs (and other standardized tests, even the LSAT which is seen as the toughest one to study for) can be learnt and can be taught. And in this day and age, the amounts of $$ being spent on prep classes, tutors, prep books and so on is absolutely staggering. Which all points to the SATs as being incredibly flawed.


i've taught classes for Kaplan.

you're giving them/him WAY too much credit.



i take your point though -- i think the truth is that the SAT is a test, and as such has it's own logic, it's own rules, and it's own weaknesses. if you understand the test, ANY standardized test, its own logic can be understood and then you can use it to your advantage.

that said, i don't think the SAT tells you much. it stands to reason that smart people are going to do well on the SAT, but it also stands to reason that smart people are not gonig to do well on the SAT for a variety of reasons.

that said, i think that "studying" for the SAT is a great idea, and i don't have any problems with all students who apply to college have to take some kind of test so that at least we can make some sort of comparison between applicants. getting into elite universities and liberal arts colleges is extraordinarily competitive, and at least the SAT tosses in some way to measure one student against another (i.e., my public high school was arguably the best one in the state, we had what might be called grade "deflation" with virtually no one getting straight A's, yet we had several kids get perfect SAT scores and a good portion of the class went on to Ivy-type colleges).

i also like the idea of 16 and 17 year olds having to go over mountains of really rather difficult vocabulary words, working on their critical reading skills, and reviewing at least Geometry and Algebra as part of preparation for the SAT. when i was undergoing SAT training, it was amazing to me both how much i had remembered, and how beneficial the training was to solidify, forever, mathematical concepts i had left behind in high school.

however, the SAT industry is neauseating, i agree with that.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:28 PM   #39
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I think setting clear expectations may be beneficial (not "you must get all 'A's" but more along the line of "you must put your best effort into your work" and "homework come before television"). While it is important for children to learn to act independently, parents frequently abdicate the role of parent nd want the easier role of friend.


i think this is true, but at the end of the day, in high school, it's mostly about the "culture" you child is in, i.e. who their peer group is.

i happened to have been a part of a highly motivated clique in high school; we weren't quite the supernerds, but more the "all-around achievers" who werent' supposed to look like they were sweating it out, even though everyone really was behind closed doors. the trick was to make it look effortless. at the end of the day, after a certain age, kids listen to their friends and not their parents.

anyway, my parents never, ever had to tell me to study (except for a brief period in 8th grade when i decided it was no longer cool to be smart ... this was knocked out of me halfway through 9th grade when my grades actually did reflect my effort). the only thing my parents ever did, especially when i'd go through moments of being stressed or tried or just plain teenaged whiney, was to say, "you know you won't be happy unless you do well on that test/paper." by putting the emphasis back on me, and saying, "it's not us that won't be happy, it's that we know *you* won't be happy," was a great way to take responsibility for my actions and it has served me well in the long run as i've taken a very wayward career path from most of my other friends (who all seem to be in law school) and the tenacity and sometimes sheer pigheadedness i learned in high school has gotten me to a unique and sometimes terrifying but very interesting place in my life.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:33 PM   #40
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i happened to have been a part of a highly motivated clique in high school; we weren't quite the supernerds, but more the "all-around achievers" who werent' supposed to look like they were sweating it out, even though everyone really was behind closed doors. the trick was to make it look effortless. at the end of the day, after a certain age, kids listen to their friends and not their parents.

anyway, my parents never, ever had to tell me to study (except for a brief period in 8th grade when i decided it was no longer cool to be smart ... this was knocked out of me halfway through 9th grade when my grades actually did reflect my effort). the only thing my parents ever did, especially when i'd go through moments of being stressed or tried or just plain teenaged whiney, was to say, "you know you won't be happy unless you do well on that test/paper." by putting the emphasis back on me, and saying, "it's not us that won't be happy, it's that we know *you* won't be happy," was a great way to take responsibility for my actions and it has served me well in the long run as i've taken a very wayward career path from most of my other friends (who all seem to be in law school) and the tenacity and sometimes sheer pigheadedness i learned in high school has gotten me to a unique and sometimes terrifying but very interesting place in my life.
Sounds like your parents laid a strong foundation for you earlier in your life - teaching you to take responsibility for your own growth at a later age.
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:23 PM   #41
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Sounds like your parents laid a strong foundation for you earlier in your life - teaching you to take responsibility for your own growth at a later age.


that's a good point.

makes me wonder how much parents, at the beginning, can help their children to make good choices especially about things as important as peer groups.
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:37 PM   #42
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I can't remember my parents ever being involved in my education when I was in HS-my Mother worked and my Father,well no interest whatsoever there. As a kid my Mother did encourage reading, I remember that.

I was self motivated to do well, and I'm sure I realized my Mother would give me crap if I got poor grades. It was sort of an unspoken given, and I was also a perfectionist. I had household responsibilities because she worked, but other than that I had no job until college-and no social life in hs either.

Maybe there are too many other factors distracting students (such as internet, which wasn't an issue for me). I don't know and I'm not making any kind of judgment on that, but maybe..

I do believe education is in large part what the student makes of it, it's easy to blame the teachers. I had good teachers in my public hs, but some weren't as good as others so I made up the difference myself so to speak. Older students can't make up for utterly horrible teachers, but they can't abdicate their role in their own education either.
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:01 PM   #43
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How do they expect their kids, who already have trouble focusing, are ever going to catch up in school when they're constantly providing a more fun alternative?
Originally posted by nbcrusader
While it is important for children to learn to act independently, parents frequently abdicate the role of parent nd want the easier role of friend.
Originally posted by Irvine511
the only thing my parents ever did, especially when i'd go through moments of being stressed or tried or just plain teenaged whiney, was to say, "you know you won't be happy unless you do well on that test/paper."
*takes notes for future reference*
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i think this is true, but at the end of the day, in high school, it's mostly about the "culture" you child is in, i.e. who their peer group is.

i happened to have been a part of a highly motivated clique in high school; we weren't quite the supernerds, but more the "all-around achievers" who werent' supposed to look like they were sweating it out, even though everyone really was behind closed doors.

makes me wonder how much parents, at the beginning, can help their children to make good choices especially about things as important as peer groups.
This sounds a lot like who my friends were in high school. And a lot of them wound up in law school too. I don't think I was attracted to them because they were "achievers" per se, though--it's more that these were the peers who most shared my love of the kinds of conversations, from ferocious political debates to enthusing about some novel that just blew your mind to smirking Pythonesque jokes, that could really only be enjoyed by people who are constantly learning, constantly analyzing all aspects of the environment around them, and hungry for a future filled with more of the same.

I do give my parents, and my siblings as well, a lot of credit for my attraction to such people. In fact, what I described about the interactions with my friends characterizes an awful lot of the interactions that went on in our home, too (including the razor-sharp humor, though I'm afraid I didn't get as much of this gene as some of my siblings). And even in high school actually, my parents were still actively involved in our learning, because we studied Talmud with my dad on weekends (not the sort of thing our tiny and and poor community had the resources to offer) and my mother taught us Greek (which really helped with the SATs, though that wasn't the main point). It wasn't driven or nerdy or tediously dutiful; it was fun. So I figure I got a pretty good foundation for being motivated to love all the places that being serious about your studies can take you to from an early age. And this despite the fact that rural Mississippi schools were sadly underfunded, option-poor crap, even at the "Honors" level. As a professor, I feel a special affection for those students who come from "bad" school systems (and sometimes reveal it in various minor random deficiencies--I had PLENTY when I started college!) but nonethless, have obviously come from a social background that made them hungry to learn and motivated to exert themselves.
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Old 01-23-2006, 05:19 PM   #44
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I do give my parents, and my siblings as well, a lot of credit for my attraction to such people. In fact, what I described about the interactions with my friends characterizes an awful lot of the interactions that went on in our home, too (including the razor-sharp humor, though I'm afraid I didn't get as much of this gene as some of my siblings). And even in high school actually, my parents were still actively involved in our learning, because we studied Talmud with my dad on weekends (not the sort of thing our tiny and and poor community had the resources to offer) and my mother taught us Greek (which really helped with the SATs, though that wasn't the main point). It wasn't driven or nerdy or tediously dutiful; it was fun. So I figure I got a pretty good foundation for being motivated to love all the places that being serious about your studies can take you to from an early age. And this despite the fact that rural Mississippi schools were sadly underfunded, option-poor crap, even at the "Honors" level. As a professor, I feel a special affection for those students who come from "bad" school systems (and sometimes reveal it in various minor random deficiencies--I had PLENTY when I started college!) but nonethless, have obviously come from a social background that made them hungry to learn and motivated to exert themselves.


i think this underscores the fundamental importance of parents and home environments when it comes to raising life-long learners and people who will be motivated enough to equip themselves with knowledge.

i came from a very different town than you -- it was an affluent (though not blue blood, important distinction) white suburb filled with professional class "strivers." achievement was everything, whether it be sheer academics, art, theater, music, sports, whatever. there were plenty of resources offered by the school (even though we didn't have an on-campus pool ) and most parents had both the time and the extra money to supplement whatever extracurricular activities offered by the school both after school and on weekends. i swam for my high school, but i was also swimming 10 months a year outside of the school. when i was in elementary school i played the string bass (hated it), but my mother brought me to private lessons once in a while when i somehow wound up in some invitation-only orchestra (i have very fuzzy memories of this ... i think it happened without my knowledge).

however, what can happen is that all of these achievement tools can suck the joy out of each activity, everything becomes just another notch on the resume for applying to the same 20-or-so northeastern colleges that everyone else is trying to get into, and simply because you're carted from piano lessons to SAT class to hocky practice does not mean that you're actually learning to love any of it. i see lots of kids who are 18 and totally burned out -- they've been raised to be achievement machines and not people (which is why i really don't understand when people talk about "kids today" and that they don't know anything ... based on my experience, it has never, ever been harder to get into competitive colleges and i also think that the education curriculum has been ratched up and expectations are higher than ever ... there's no time, sadly, to read "call of the wild" to your 7th grade class on a friday afternoon when there is vocabulary to memorize).

i think that one thing our parents had in common, Yolland, was to instill the joy of learning something for the sake of learning it. that it's simply fun to know things, and it's fun to engage in political conversation -- always a dish served at dinner. i remember how thrilling it was when, in 1992, i was allowed to stay up late to watch the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates with my parents, and then listening to them discuss the issues -- i'd naturally want to be able to participate so i'd start reading newsweek cover-to-cover.

stuff like that is much more important than the resources that are available to you, or not available to you.
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Old 01-23-2006, 06:05 PM   #45
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Frankly, I was shocked at the inability to calculate simple percentages. This can be mastered by 6th grade.
I don't think it's that the skill wasn't mastered in the sixth grade, it's that once you get into high school you haven't had to do it without a calculator in years and you lose it. My friends and I always joked about how we could do trig and calculus but couldn't multiply single digit numbers in our head anymore... a skill everyone could do in a flash in the second grade. I'm not saying that's an excuse, just offering an explanation... and I think schools should put a little more emphasis on retention of skills.
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