- What percent of freshmen graduate in four years, broken down by high school record?
- What percent of graduates are, within six months of graduation, professionally employed, broken down by major and high school record?
- How much do students grow in critical thinking from freshman to senior year, disaggregated by high school record?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
THIS study of 3,511 people's genomes was published on the prestigious Nature.com last month but remains largely unreported by the media. The abstract reports, "Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation."
This has to be a blow to educators and social policymakers, who, for a half century now, have been betting billions of tax and charity dollars that the achievement gap could be significantly reduced or eliminated by redistributing resources to improve the environments of low-achieving children and adults by more spending on education, job training programs, self-esteem programs, etc. But just as in a long-distance car race, tuning-up a VW Bug that's running miles behind a Porsche doesn't make it likely to catch up, it appears ever less likely that tuning-up low achievers' environment will close the achievement gap to the extent we all hope it will.
The good news is that the Nature study would seem to point to a new direction and new hope for reducing that achievement gap. In light of that study, the next steps would seem to be to discover the specific genes responsible for intelligence (something China is already doing) to develop a safe and ethical way to replace defective genes and then making available, on a purely voluntary basis, the option to have that gene therapy so prospective parents could help ensure that their kids don't start life with a genetic strike or two against them.
Genome-wide association studies establish that human intelligence is highly heritable and polygenic
G Davies, A Tenesa, A Payton, J Yang, S E Harris, D Liewald, X Ke, S Le Hellard, A Christoforou, M Luciano, K McGhee, L Lopez, A J Gow, J Corley, P Redmond, H C Fox, P Haggarty, L J Whalley, G McNeill, M E Goddard, T Espeseth, A J Lundervold, I Reinvang, A Pickles, V M Steen, W Ollier, D J Porteous, M Horan, J M Starr, N Pendleton, P M Visscher and I J Deary
General intelligence is an important human quantitative trait that accounts for much of the variation in diverse cognitive abilities. Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan. Data from twin and family studies are consistent with a high heritability of intelligence, but this inference has been controversial. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of 3511 unrelated adults with data on 549 692 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and detailed phenotypes on cognitive traits. We estimate that 40% of the variation in crystallized-type intelligence and 51% of the variation in fluid-type intelligence between individuals is accounted for by linkage disequilibrium between genotyped common SNP markers and unknown causal variants. These estimates provide lower bounds for the narrow-sense heritability of the traits. We partitioned genetic variation on individual chromosomes and found that, on average, longer chromosomes explain more variation. Finally, using just SNP data we predicted ~1% of the variance of crystallized and fluid cognitive phenotypes in an independent sample (P=0.009 and 0.028, respectively). Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation, and are consistent with many genes of small effects underlying the additive genetic influences on intelligence.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I'm not social and so I avoid parties but if I were looking for a job, I'd make myself go to as many Holiday parties and fundraisers as possible.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I have written much on the terribly unfair--relative to their merit-- treatment of white men and boys.
Alas, after fighting this fight for two decades now, I'm forced to conclude that the net impact of my efforts to bring merit-based fairness to men and boys has been negative. I have written perhaps 100 articles, op-eds, letters to the editor, and a book, The Silenced Majority, submitting each to 10 or more media outlets and they're almost always rejected. HERE is one reject that particularly disappointed me. Perhaps their being rejected is simply because my work is inferior, although somehow when I write about politically correct matters, my work is routinely published. I'll leave you to judge my work's quality, but certainly my long-sustained efforts seem not to have helped the situation at all. Indeed, white men and boys are, net, treated more unfairly than when I began writing and speaking on the topic. The main effect of my efforts seems to be damage to my career.
So I've concluded, subject to revision, that this is the wrong era to write honestly about race and gender. It seems that today, we can hear only that women and minorities are victims or heroes. And in my judgment, that is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
So if you notice that my future writings discuss such issues less or not at all, that's why.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
On this blog, I mentioned that the Post had only committed to my writing five columns, but now, they've extended it to being an ongoing column. My next one will advocate requiring all colleges to post an externally audited, substantive report card on themselves, including student growth, graduation rates, employment of graduates by major, etc. That would both help students pick a college wisely and embarrass colleges into reallocating resources from fancy new buildings and fancy-salaried administrators to better teaching, mentoring, and career services.
The column after that, unless something more news-pegged emerges, will be on reinventing our system of criminal justice.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Today, for many people, even many solid professionals, a job search has become a marathon. The willpower to stay that long course has become essential.
Whether or not you're looking for a job, perhaps you might appreciate seeing a draft of the handout I'll be distributing to them. Feedback welcome.
If you haven't already, redo your resume. Inventorying yourself usually increases your confidence.
Do it the fun, easy way. Is it more fun for you to network, e.g., always lunch with someone? Cold contact? Answer ads?
Try something new: For example, if networking events haven't worked for you, try a professional conference or trade show, especially the exhibitors. Or answer ads--but only if you can write a top-of-the-heap application.
Break it down into baby steps. Use the fundraising thermometer my wife used?
Choose a narrow focus and become expert at it. Remember my client who decided to specialize in software product management.
Commit publicly. Tell everyone you're looking. Your fear of embarrassment may motivate you.
Daily check-in, perhaps with a ProMatch colleague, perhaps using a reward and/or punishment for each daily goal. Or use Stickk.com.
Establish a deadline. For example, wife said, "No job in six months? I'll take over your job search."
Volunteer or take a low-level job to put structure in your life, get you moving, and meet people. Particularly good are organizations in your field--that makes you more knowledgeable and connected.
Afraid of admitting you're looking for a job? Remember, today, so many are looking. Also, frame it as a positive: "This time, no settling. I'm going after what I really want (insert your target work.)
Afraid of sounding stupid? Practice, then start with your least desirable leads. And realize that with each subsequent contact, you get a fresh start.
Afraid of rejection? Successful people are rejected a lot. They learn from failures and move right on. No wallowing. And remember: being ignored is the new rejection. It's not that you're not worthy even of a rejection.
Afraid of imposing? You're asking for no more time than in asking for directions. If the person wants to give you more, that's his choice. Too, you're not asking for a handout; you're asking to work for fair pay.
Ambivalent about success? 1. Even bad people deserve a shot at redemption--honest work redeems. 2. If your success gets you more work, you can set limits. 3. Is it right to sabotage yourself because someone wishes you ill? Perhaps that person shouldn't be part of your life.
Find inspiration: a personal role model? A book? A quote? Religious faith? A famous person? Remember Churchill's so-frequent failures.
Make your job search not a choice. Simply force yourself to start working. No excuses. This is so basic, but for many people it's what most-often works. If necessary, just start with a one-second task. My father didn't think about whether it's pleasant--Snow or shine, he took a bus, two trains, and a six-block walk to open that miserable, little store every day.
One-minute struggle. If you haven't made progress over a stumbling block in a minute, you're unlikely to. You'll just get frustrated and be less likely to job-search. Get help or do it without solving the stumbling block.
Procrastination is a career killer. Remember: 80% of unemployed people say they're procrastinators versus 25% of employed professionals.
Stop abusing drugs/alcohol. Some people are helped by a 12-step programs, others by behavioral therapy, others by support from friend(s) and family.
Might you be clinically, not situationally, depressed or be bipolar? If so, exercise, music, and some cognitive-behavioral therapy, perhaps without drugs, may help. HERE is a link to solid information on depression. HERE is a link to solid information on bipolar disorder.
Might you have ADD/ADHD? If you're highly distractible, try eliminating distractions, and exercising. If that's insufficient, it might be worth asking a specialist if ADD medication is worth a try.
Embrace work. S/he who tries to accomplish as much as possible rather than as little as s/he can get away with is much more likely to stay employed, avoid depression, feel good about himself, and make a difference.
Remember my dad's story: Never look back. Always look forward.