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U.S. Students Struggle With Reasoning Skills

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the therefore-all-dogs-are-brown dept.

Education 488

sciencehabit writes "The first-ever use of interactive computer tasks on a national science assessment suggests that most U.S. students struggle with the reasoning skills needed to investigate multiple variables, make strategic decisions, and explain experimental results. The results (PDF) are part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that was given in 2009 to a representative sample of students in grades four, eight, and 12. What the vast majority of students can do, the data show, is make straightforward analyses. More than three-quarters of fourth grade students, for example, could determine which plants were sun-loving and which preferred the shade when using a simulated greenhouse to determine the ideal amount of sunlight for the growth of mystery plants. When asked about the ideal fertilizer levels for plant growth, however, only one-third of the students were able to perform the required experiment, which featured nine possible fertilizer levels and only six trays. Fewer than half the students were able to use supporting evidence to write an accurate explanation of the results. Similar patterns emerged for students in grades 8 and 12."

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No suprise there (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372659)

US adults struggle with reasoning skills too.

Re:No suprise there (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372673)

It seems to be particularly prevalent in the US House of Representatives and the Catholic Church.

Re:No suprise there (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372729)

Most or all of the constituents of which had religion(among other things) shoved up their asses throughout their childhoods. Hmm, there's a connection there.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:No suprise there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372951)

What a bigot, typical for this site. Try picking on the retarded global warming fools. Idtiot

Re:No suprise there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373075)

Look, all I know is that global warming is a myth because Al Gore is fat and David Suzuki flies on a jet plane. My logic's air tight, you can't refute that.

Re:No suprise there (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372989)

The Congress is a great example of pure classic conditioning, except the reward isn't cheese, it's money.

You reward even the mindless and they will do what you want. They also see their buddies getting revolving door jobs and that acts as a delayed gratification. This is why you get nothing but the money hungry in Congress now. If your gratification is helping your constituents you don't survive very long.

Re:No suprise there (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373215)

:"Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy," 1787

"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have, in many minds, the most violent effects."
Benjamin Franklin

Re:No suprise there (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372675)

Blatantly false. Since US kids have a problem with reasoning and I am not a kid I must not have reasoning problems.

Re:No suprise there (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372739)

Awsome!

Re:No suprise there (4, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372975)

As a corollary, because these reasoning-challenged kids' brains are obviously made of wood, they are witches and must be burned.

My goodness, I think your logic has saved America!

Re:No suprise there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373043)

...Joke
~~~~~~~ [perfectly drawn clouds]
~~~~~~~
Your Head

Re: No surprise here either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373131)

Similarly, since I am not US, I must not have reasoning problems too.

Re:No suprise there (4, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372691)

I ain't paid to reason, I paid to go to meetin's.

Re:No suprise there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372719)

I'm not sure it's limited to the US, either.

Re:No suprise there (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372721)

Broader than that: Humans struggle with reasoning skills.

Re:No suprise there (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372735)

Americans are dumb, nothing new...

Never would have guessed (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373085)

After watching the Republican primary debates, I certainly NEVER would have guessed that Americans had poor reasoning abilities.

Re:No suprise there (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373117)

What's your reasoning on this?

Do not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372685)

Do too!

Misleading headline? (4, Insightful)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372705)

The headline implies that US students have more difficulty with reasoning skills than other students as a whole, or that this difficulty is unique to students from the US. I could easily imagine that these skills are lacking for students around the globe...

Re:Misleading headline? (4, Insightful)

thepike (1781582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372815)

Agreed, I'd like to see the scores from other countries.

Also, I'd like to see this with adults in different professions. For instance, are scientists better at this than artists? And what about creativity scores?

My gut says that a) all children will probably not be great at this and b) adults probably aren't either. And sadly it probably doesn't match up as well with profession as we might like. I'm a molecular biologist and plenty of my colleagues would probably struggle with these tasks. I wish I could take the test to see how I do (but I'm also afraid I would fail miserably).

Re:Misleading headline? (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373251)

For instance, are scientists better at this than artists?

Yes. Reasoning is required to be a scientist. Artists can be good at reasoning, but it is not a requirement

Re:Misleading headline? (0, Troll)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372835)

You could imagine it, but baseless speculation with no evidence is as useless as the bible (or your comment). Back it up with some evidence, because every survey I've seen has shown america's students to perform poorly compared to the average of other industrialized nations. So for my own personal prior evidence, you're wrong. This, too, is useless speculation, but at least it comes from a baseline of actual data.

Re:Misleading headline? (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372889)

Indeed, I'm in europe right now and I can tell you that reasoning and critical thinking skills are not exactly top notch here either.

Obviously (3, Funny)

KraxxxZ01 (2445360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372709)

game developers are to blame for making games too easy and mentally unchallenging.

Too much time spent teaching tests (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372713)

-- instead of teaching them how to actually think.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (4, Funny)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372837)

...teaching them how to actually think.

Fascist!

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372891)

ya in college I had a professor who simply asked questions during his class, and had us discuss them and defend our answers I'd always leave his class with a serious headache, because damn thinking is hard. It certainly isn't something you're taught in school, school is all about absorbing facts and parroting stuff back it isn't about critical thinking skills at all.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372899)

That's just a communist attitude right there..

Next you'll be saying that they shouldn't be taught how to become good corporate citizens.

Buy more! Buy more now.
Can you be more specific?

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372939)

-- instead of teaching them how to actually think.

Paradoxically, this test proves otherwise.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (0, Troll)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373045)

What's next critical thinking?

That cannot happen or else religions would cease to be followed.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373081)

This, this, a thousand times THIS!

The us education system (and many others) for K-12 seems almost entirely devoted to learning by rote and teaching to standardized tests. There are certainly schools and individual teachers that buck this trend, but it's not until college that you've got a reasonable chance at actually being challenged to THINK.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373133)

-- instead of teaching them how to actually think.

My wife is a second grade teacher and the whole teaching paradigm now is all about learning by discovery. Back in my day, we sat in rows and columns and memorized. If today's kids are struggling with reasoning skills more than yesterday's kids, it's not the teaching methods that are at fault. Unless being forced to memorize everything is actually the better way.

If you ask me, it's the TV shows they watch nowadays. No wonder they all have ADHD.

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373201)

Rows and columns? Back in my day, we had to sit in hilbert curves, and we liked it!

Re:Too much time spent teaching tests (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373227)

The problem is, teaching people to think isn't exactly a useful life skill. Being able to think is by and large less useful than being able to regurgitate facts, and much much less useful than being able to shmooze with the right people.

Congratulations (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372715)

After billions of dollars we have produced an education system churning out children that cannot think for themselves.

Re:Congratulations (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372915)

But they get excited for the next ipad, so we have that.

Sorry... with a story like this it's just too much of a temptation to let the karma burn.

Re:Congratulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372981)

That's because your representatives want a silver bullet, and ipads are shiny.

Re:Congratulations (0, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373127)

[Congratulations] After billions of dollars we have produced an education system churning out children that cannot think for themselves.

It's working precisely as designed.

Churning out young Liberal/Progressives who are taught what to think, not how to think, and leaving them without critical thinking abilities is a feature, not a bug, as far as government is concerned.

If it's any consolation, they *did* learn something...how to sing "Mmm-mmm-mmm...Barack Hussein Obama...".

Strat

Let the public education (2)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372717)

bashing commence.

Critical reasoning skills = critical thinking skills. Parents are just as vital in the equation here as teachers. Yes, teachers have a job to do there, but, in my opinion, this shows a failure of the culture, rather than education.

From early on, we're conditioned to be mindless little consumers. Why think about problems when you can take a pill and make them all go away? Why consider alternates to problem solving when you can just spend the problem away.

You want mindless drones, you get mindless drones.

How to counteract this? Get rid of those freaking standardized tests, for one. Invest heavily in the arts in primary grades, and cross-teach the arts/sciences. Bring connections between drawing and engineering, math and music. And finally, take the politics out of my classroom. I don't need you to tell me how to teach. I take P.D. courses every year, have two advanced degrees, and years of experience telling me that I can generally figure out what's best for each. and. every. individual. student.

But this is all just my opinion.

Re:Let the public education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372805)

You do a lot of complaining for someone who's still in highschool.

Re:Let the public education (5, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372933)

But you are assuming that a government run school wants to produce students who can think critically.

If they did, then these people may actually ask the hard questions. "Why are you in office if all you do is lie to the public, cheat to get ahead, and steal from the public coffers?", "Why is the drug scheduling system based on "Potential for abuse" and not "Danger to the health of the individual?", "How can you violate the 4th amendment to the constitution by passing security acts and not amending the constitution?"

See, they don't want people who can think. They want people who will shut up and do what they are told.

This from someone who's daughter asked the hard questions in school about drug policy. Thus he was visited by the police to discuss it in detail. (Not a drug user but the mere argument was enough to get them to stop by for a chat.)

Re:Let the public education (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373197)

This from someone who's daughter asked the hard questions in school about drug policy. Thus he was visited by the police to discuss it in detail. (Not a drug user but the mere argument was enough to get them to stop by for a chat.)

*shudder*

My wife and I do not use any illegal drugs, but are both completely against the war on drugs, and we live in an extremely conservative, authoritarian area of the country.

For the past few years when our young kids have had their "anti-drug" week in school, they've come home spouting mindless propaganda. In response, we've tried tried to explain it to them in as nuanced a way as we think they can handle.

Looking forward to my "visit" one of these years.

Re:Let the public education (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372953)

I'm the very first to bash public schools, but this time the first thing that popped into my head was "these kids never had to debug a problem with a desktop PC" (swapping parts with a working one, etc). And that, of course, was just the modern variant of working on cars, which in turn was the new version of farming (if I plant seeds in this fashion... or if I train my horse in this fashion...). What all three of these have in common is working with the hands. As Dr. Maria Montessori said, "The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence."

What physical artifacts do kids have these days to learn with? I guess drugs and sex.

Re:Let the public education (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372961)

I think a large problem with current schools is the idea of fairness. Not all teachers are equal and certainly not all students, but all teachers are lumped together and students are generally taught to the lowest common denominator. Life is not fair, it should be taught in school, and those that excel would be allowed to.

Re:Let the public education (5, Interesting)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373123)

Do you know why they teach to the lowest common denominator?

Let me tell you a story that happened just this year:

We have an autistic student in the grade directly below the one I teach. Low-functioning, highly aggressive and combative, generally a disruptive force in the classroom. When we present the principal, then superintendent, then school board with evidence, research and suggestions, they all agree that he needs to be in a self-contained classroom. Realistically, what this kid is getting != what he's taking away from every other student during the day. So, we call a meeting with the parents, special needs advocate and a ROE representative just to cover all of our bases. What do the parents also bring to the meeting? A lawyer. A lawyer from ~ 600 miles away from the nearest urban center (yes, the words big city lawyer come to mind). Why? Because if we pulled their child away from his friends (he has none), then they would sue fast, sue hard, and sue often.

In this day of reduced spending, teachers being paraded around like well, like someone that's paraded around for public scorn, what choice did we have?

Realistically, the other 25 sets of parents should be able to say, "no, you assholes, your child does not get to sap mine." BUT, because we can't tell anyone about what specifically transpired in these meetings using names and what-not, no one knows. All they know is that there are 25 little kids that already hate school, because of one precious little snowflake.

Re:Let the public education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373177)

Life is not fair, it should be taught in school, and those that excel would be allowed to.

Yea, "all men are created equal" was just populist bullshit said to get the people of the colonies to rebel against the king (who was obviously one of those who excelled)

Life is indeed not fair. Some people will always be slaves, ruled over by others. Tyranny is the only logical system for man.

Re:Let the public education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373101)

...I take P.D. courses every year, have two advanced degrees, and years of experience telling me that I can generally figure out what's best for each. and. every. individual. student.

But this is all just my opinion.

And yet you still haven't figured out one of the most basic tenets of the scientific method. You need to properly quantify the outcome of a procedure in order to determine if it is successful or not.

You are like the teachers here in BC, Canada. They are against any kind of standard testing for the kids. They are against having teachers and/or schools ranked in any way. It seems the only hard numbers that they are interested in is the numbers after the dollar sign on their paychecks. They get real huffy if you ask them how we can select the best teachers or teaching methods or schools if we don't actually measure performance/outcomes.

What do you expect? (4, Insightful)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372741)

Multiple choice, standardized tests don't promote reasoning, just memorization. It's time we revamp the education system and our testing methods. Let's focus on students completing lengthy projects and being graded on their success.

Re:What do you expect? (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372919)

Multiple choice, standardized tests don't promote reasoning, just memorization.

You're not kidding.

I took a first year logic/critical reasoning class later in university because I still needed a first year credit and that sounded interesting.

We were talking about confidence intervals ... and confidence interval of 0.05 meant you were 95% sure. On the exam, the question asked about a confidence interval of 0.5, which I answered as 50% sure.

The professor marked it wrong, and said that since we'd only covered 0.05 in class, it was a typo -- nobody was expected to know about 0.5. I told her that since it was a class on critical reasoning, she was an idiot and demanded she mark my correct answer as correct. I had to go to the department head to get her to do it.

When the teachers can't follow reasoning, how the hell are they supposed to teach it? In this case, she was expecting blindly repeating the example from class, not doing any thinking (even though as written all of the people she marked right couldn't have been).

God I hated biology (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372745)

I'd probably suck at that test too.

No Child Left Behind Sucks. (2)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372755)

When I was going to American public schools prior to my college career, I found that my teachers all taught only the content that would appear on standardized tests, in an effort to fund themselves and the school more.

In fact, when my cohorts and I would refuse to take the portions of said tests or would write satire about how we hated the tests on the essay portions, the teachers would forcibly make us redo them according to the directions. Interesting, considering these tests were not recorded on my "permanent record," nor were they beneficial to me in any way. All the teachers cared about was getting a high overall score to get the school funded and increase their own paychecks.

As a result, only a few of the teachers who actually cared about the students ended up teaching anything of true value or usefulness for our futures. While some of that overlaps the content that was within the standardized tests, I can't help but think that taking those 2 weeks at the end of every year to take the practice tests and such would've been used better in other ways.

Really, classes need to be focused after grade 6 or 7 on being useful for future pursuits of specialized interest, focusing on practicality rather than general theory like they are now. I don't use the majority of what I had to learn in grade school or even college for my daily work (coincidentally, I work at a college).

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372825)

Why did that surprise you?
Teachers are doing a job. If that job is evaluated based on standardized tests, they will make sure that job is done well.

Do you not work for income? Would you not focus on the parts of your job that are actually evaluated?

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372877)

Yes, but it's actually illegal for them to review the tests, let alone coerce students to change their answers.

I forget where the article was, but I read recently that fraud is very common - teachers changing answers themselves and such...

Here [nbcnewyork.com] are some to wet your [paloaltoonline.com] whistle [stltoday.com] .

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373037)

I think you are remembering the Atlanta Test Fraud [ajc.com] scandal.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373175)

Google search "Michelle Rhee". Enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373217)

If it was the actual test itself and if time were up yes that is bad. If it were typical coursework where they are pretest or ask similiar questions then yes the teachers need to do this.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372861)

First off - everyone exists to justify their own existence. Do you blame the teachers for wanting to keep their jobs, not be ostracized publicly when their scores tank, and well, keep their jobs?

Anyway - so NCLB sucks; that's not news. What would you have them do instead? People demand metrics about how their little precious baby learns, but no one is willing to pay to have it done correctly. People demand top-rate education, but no one is willing to fund it outside of mandatory fees (and even then only if coerced).

There's something in there about cake and eating it, I think.

Really, though, how would you change it? Don't just pose problems, pose solutions - you never know who might read this stuff.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

Bardez (915334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373195)

Anyway - so NCLB sucks; that's not news. What would you have them do instead?

Roll it back to how it was before NCLB. Standardized tests into the wind, maybe one every 2 years (how I had them up until 2002). If a system doesn't work, roll it back to the old version, then fix it.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372987)

My teachers did the opposite. Their union said that if children perform poorly on standardized testing, it gives them reason to lobby for more money. "Your children are failing! Your budgets are causing them to suffer and miss out on their lives!"

I was still in the top 95% of every standardized test I took. In fact, none of the people I associated with scored below 60% nationally (and I was on the football team), yet our state still ranked in the bottom 5, that year. Guess who went on strike later that year?

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373027)

Same here, because they were easy for me.

Either way the teachers go, though, depends on the school district. In the end, it's really all about the money...most of the teachers really don't give a crap about the students or their education.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373145)

NCLB has risen academic students greatly. For example students in 6th grade now can graph and so simply pre-algebra. When I was your age in 6th grade all we did was multiple, divide, and subtract and use new cutting edge things like carrying over numbers. If you were very smart and had a knack for math you can do advanced placement into doing the things you did in 6th grade by 7th grade and learning what X is etc.

As a result the US was a joke compared to other countries and something had to be done to force these teachers to teach rather than not leaving the slowest 3 kids in the class behind. There was no special ed back in those days except if you were severely retarded or had bad issues so teachers had these students and didn't want to piss off their parents.

Do not be mad at your former teachers. If they are untenured you could end up firing them and they have everyright not be fired because some kid sees through the BS and refuses to go along. The ones who do not give a shit are tenured and untouchable. It is an ugly mess as principles tend to fire and rehire the same teachers now year after year and put undue stress on them just because they have a right to refire like the private sector. It is an ugly mess and with the TEA party obessed with paying them minimium wage and taking away their collective bargaining rights they are under extreme pressure by the governors in their respective states to put the pressure on them.

Re:No Child Left Behind Sucks. (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373229)

You're extremely biased. A teacher, perhaps?

Ship all those niggers to North Korea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372757)

and watch the U.S. test score rises instantly!

Re:Ship all those niggers to North Korea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373033)

Lets not forget the wetbacks who's 7 year old is the only english speaker in the house.

Squirrel! (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372771)

My three kids are capable of reasoning, but they have a lower tolerance for the amount of time it takes to arrive at an answer through logic. They expect correct answers to be displayed, not deduced. They do play chess, but angry birds as well.

when your govt makes no sense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372785)

when your govt makes no sense, why should you....be one with insanity go al the way ....

There are solutions: Philosophy is one (3, Informative)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372809)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_for_Children [wikipedia.org]

Philosophy can be integrated into the curriculum as early as Elementary school, and has wonderful effects that extend beyond developing reasoning skills.

Common problem (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372831)

Although humans are called the "rational animal," I think it is, at best, only correct to call us an animal capable of reason. Logical reasoning isn't necessarily innate: it's something that takes teaching and practice. And even then, as we all know, people who are otherwise very good at reasoning things out can be downright dimwitted about applying that logic to other situations.

But only because Slow Steve skewed the results (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372841)

Most of the students actually did fine. But Slow Steve screwed them all again.

DAMN YOU SLOW STEVE!!

Still number 1 in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372843)

Self esteem, though!

Anti-american skills (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372847)

reasoning skills needed to investigate multiple variables, make strategic decisions, and explain experimental results

Those skills are all anti-american. You're supposed to follow the herd and believe whatever the preacher and TV say. Anything else isn't cool.

They need questions like:
1) Sally takes three plants and puts one in the dark, one in the shade, one in open sunlight. What is the most likely thing to happen next:
a) The DEA agents find the plant in the dark and bust her
b) The DEA agents find the plant in the shade and bust her
c) The DEA agents find the plant in open sunlight and bust her
d) Sally switches into the far more lucrative prostitution trade and dies of a half dozen STDs.

Re:Anti-american skills (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373187)

Needs a "+1, bums me out" mod.

No one wants US to think. (2, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372863)

No one wants us to be able to think for ourselves. Not the corporations, nor the Government. People that are able to reason, and think for themselves, see the bullshit that is going on, and will call it out. Unfortunately, the bullshit runs this country and the corporations.

Or you're like me, able to reason and so tired of how stupid most everyone else is, that you gave up and just going to watch the world go to hell.

Re:No one wants US to think. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373095)

The only bullshit is your attitude. Kids in schools have quite a bit of emphasis on reasoning and being able to read between the lines. Here's a clue, Fuckwad, it takes time and experience to gain skills, and contrived tests don't tell us anything. But please do fuck off to another country, pathetic whiners like you are the problem with the country. But alas, you have no skills or money, so no other country will give you a visa.

Re:No one wants US to think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373181)

Wow, it's like you spread your cheeks and words fell, at random, out of your ass. I don't want morons like you to stand up and "defend" my country, so please STFU forever.

Re:No one wants US to think. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373129)

[Citation needed]. Seriously. No one wants you to think? Did you make that up, or is it your pet conspiracy theory? Apparently the NAEP wants people to be able to think. And lots of other important people do, too. So Please, please, think a little before going into your anti-government, anti-corporation (hey, you've got the conspiracy theories of both the left and the right wrapped up!) rant.

Standard Reasoning (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372873)

One of the biggest reason failures I see going around involves the overloading of the word 'fact'. There is 'fact' as in the opposite of fiction, and then there is 'fact' as in the opposite of opinion.

What we see is 'reasoning' that goes like this...

1+1=37. This is a fiction, and thus isn't a fact. It is the opposite of a fact, so that makes it an opinion. Opinions are by definition not wrong, so 1+1=37 isn't wrong. since it isn't wrong, it must be right. Since it is right it must be true. Since it is true, it is a fact.

Eureka! 1+1=37 !!!

Re:Standard Reasoning (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373137)

Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

Re:Standard Reasoning (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373243)

This will be modded "flamebait" I know, but this is the type of reasoning that the GOP is using to make all of their arguments right now.

Before you hit that button, I am aware that the Democrats are doing the same thing a lot of the time as well.

The death of logic (5, Interesting)

snarfies (115214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372901)

Noted sci-fi author John Barnes recently wrote something about this in his blog: http://thatjohnbarnes.blogspot.com/2012/06/hobo-queen-of-sciences.html [blogspot.com]

tl;dr version (though its quite a good read, as his books that I have read so far): Girl in her class tried using angry pounding shouting as a debate tactic, and when asked about it, she declared it was "logic." "I was totally logical. I pointed things out real loud and told people they were dumb if they didn't believe it, and I yelled so they'd get the point."

Yeah. Back in my day "Logic" was a little bird tweeting in the meadow, nowadays its "agrees with me."

Compared to? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372905)

It's fun to hate the USA, but did they actually test groups from other countries to compare?

Is this truly a nationalistic thing, or a childhood thing?

The schools in Canada are run the exact same way. I would expect the exact same results.

But anyways, yeah, the US sucks, and americans are all worthless garbage. Every. Single. Last. One.

Re:Compared to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372937)

Yeah yeah. Go fuck yourself.

Re:Compared to? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373077)

everywhere

talk to people from other countries and almost everyone has to take a series of exams in their senior year of high school where the score determines which college you go to, if you go to college at all. and unlike the US where a former illegal immigrant and fruit picker can go to harvard medical school and become one of the top neurosurgeons in the country, once you screw up your youth you screw up your life. no going to a good college later on

No experience with the utility of reason (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372917)

Kids live in a world even more arbitrary and capricious than that of adults. This is especially true in primary and secondary school. Why, then, would they develop reasoning skills? Those that do end up challenging authority and getting arbitrarily slapped down, so there's negative incentives as well as a lack of positive ones.

cognitive dissonance (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372923)

I wonder if a case could be made that cognitive dissonance experienced at a young age has prevented the development of proper reasoning skills. If you're told repeatedly that something is true that you can see is false, (or vice-versa) or told at a young age that something did not happen when you have direct experience that it did, the experience does strange things to your brain.

Re:cognitive dissonance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373171)

I wonder if a case could be made that cognitive dissonance experienced at a young age has prevented the development of proper reasoning skills. If you're told repeatedly that something is true that you can see is false, (or vice-versa) or told at a young age that something did not happen when you have direct experience that it did, the experience does strange things to your brain.

Still having trouble counting lights I see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_eSwq1ewsU [youtube.com]

wait a sec... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372947)

9 levels and only 6 trays... well that's impossible to figure out! what's the answer?

Re:wait a sec... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373049)

Some of that depends on the mechanics of the test. They mentioned interactive computer use, which by its nature is going to constrain what can be done with the lab environment to at least some degree. What sorts of things were the students allowed to do toward getting the experiment to work?

Re:wait a sec... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373235)

Easy. Use fertilizers 2, 4, 6, and 8. Find the one that performed best, and put the two fertilizers on either side of it on the next to trays. Either that one, of one of the last two will be the best.

Teach Logic (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372955)

I'm coming around to the opinion that we've got to teach logic at a very young age, as was done in classical education. Ultimately it's the foundation to all of math and the scientific method. If the first time you study basic logic is in college, then your entire education is built on shifting sand.

Government run program fails!? (0, Flamebait)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372969)

Perhaps it has a little something to do with the fact that we're doing anything but teaching our children how to read. I'm sure they can tell you all about the first homosexual trans-gender american Indian activist farmer and how/why he/she is so important to our country. And when asked "why do we have to teach our children this hippy bullshit instead of hard math, English and science?" You'll get a vapid, nebulous answer like "It's for the good of the American people you insensitive jerk!". And then I'm expected to twist my perspective to think that learning to read isn't as important as teaching tolerance, acceptance and eventually pride in the people that our parents would have found morally repugnant. So to hell with reading! We need to know more about how the evil Europeans made so-much-worse the lives of the nomadic, cannibalistic, tribal war having, no wheel inventing, no medical, no road having, no written language having American Indians.

K-12 should be about learning how to become a scientist. Everything else can flow though that. Right now we're turning out complete idiots that can't read or write, have no critical thinking skills, no idea what the scientific method is or how to balance a check book. But I'm sure they can all tell you who MLK Jr. is. We need to get our priorities straight by kicking out the 1984 style political brain washers in the school. School is not there so you can train a wave of brainless leftists to vote for your party in the next election cycle! And I would be just as upset if the rightists were doing the same thing.

No the don't! They don't struggle. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372979)

Survey after survey has shown that the self confidence of US students are high and they rate themselves at top of the scales. If they are struggling with reasoning skills they would not have this level of confidence. The more accurate description would be, "the US students have poor reasoning skills, but they don't even know that, and they assume their own faulty analysis is world class."

Kids are not taught to reason .. just to test well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372993)

The reasons for this are numerous.
1) No child left behind.
2) Not allowing kids to fail
3) Lack of good teachers
4) Tenure preventing the removal of bad teachers
5) Standardized testing used as a measure of school success resulting in the practice of "Teaching to the Test"
6) Teachers generally get an education degree to teach and do not have the depth of knowledge to actually teach.
7) People with degrees generally can make twice what teachers can in "the real world"
8) Wasted funding on programs that until the last 20 or 30 years were the responsibility of the families.
        Additionally these programs are generally useless and only serve to further marginalize the students in them
9) Lack of efficiency due to "Institutional Stupidity" ... there are more but you get the point.

Re:Kids are not taught to reason .. just to test w (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373203)

Societies have to act as a whole to have good educational institutions.

I think Wisconsin is a great example of this. The state has put teachers under attack because the Republican part of the state (including many outside interests) have their own agenda.

The Scandinavian countries have worked to make teaching a profession that has good pay and benefits and they have the results to show for it. There is care for society as a whole. Here in the U.S., however, we are going through the most selfish period of our history so far. No one (especially those with money) wants to spend a dollar that doesn't personally help them.

No more metrics (2, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372995)

Everyone hear on slashdot probably worked for an employer who utilized these and quality went down everytime where job performance was measured. Every MBA and even undergrad taking business management courses knows that quality always sufers when metrics are used inappropriately as game theory dictates that everyone's goal is to keep ones' job. Not help the company out. So if someone figures out a way to reduce inventory to save costs the VP of manufactoring has a hissy fit as his metrics suffer on amount of units he stores and he gets a write up etc.

Worse, studies show in business management courses like "Good to Great" that when companies do this it is because their employees suck. Putting in new management metrics makes it suck more, not make bad employees turn into good employees.

Some moron thought it was a great idea since the private sector uses these and included it in education. There are so many reasons why these tests should not used as metrics. It is insulting to the teachers too (my ex was a teacher) as they do not even set the cirriculumn used. Basically they are handed down a copy of the test in points and decimals increments how they test per objective. 12.3 "Student shows adaquite code switching in communication, by utilizing a,b, and c etc". So on October 19th at percisely 10am - 10:53 they are handed worksheets and drilled over and over again.

Code switching is a fancy teaching term in comprehending a concept through verbal steps given and those terms are in by academic elitist in the teaching system (yes they are in teaching too and not just in computer science).

What they need to do is track per student tests year after year (OMG high tax payer costs!!)so teachers who teach inner city schools or those who teach all Mexicans (common where my wife taught in Southern California) do not become penalized. Also special ed teachers are getting a bad rap for poor test scores and many are being showed the door before tenure. The bad teachers who are tenured are unfirable in contrast to the good teachers. They also need to bust the teacher unions so they can fire bad teachers but teachers are not judged whether on language scores where they have only 2 native speaking english students per classroom like in Texas, Arizona, and California. Also kicking out the bad bottom 10% of students and forcing them to work minimium wage jobs would be a great thing too! They do not want to be there and they just irritate and disrespect teachers and hurt other students who want to learn. In China if you act like that and yell in class, make fun of the teacher, and cut class they will take you out in 8th grade and make you work in a factory. That is why their test scores are so damn high.

Compulsive education, no per student test scores, and test metrics as the only measurement sound like very poor management techniques.

Obama, the TSA and lotteries shows adults do too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373005)

What are the odds of getting killed in a terrorist incident or winning the lottery or that someone with so little government experience could be a successful President?

Yet these same people thought hope was a good reason to vote for somebody or they comfort in being treated like a 2 year old or believe you have a reasonable chance to win the lottery.

School is about social indoctrination... (-1, Troll)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40373089)

and pro-USA propaganda. The folks involved in the land grabs of the 1700 to 1800s were called "settlers" instead of "thieves." The Irish in the 1600s were called "indentured servants" not the more accurate term "slaves." And of course, we all need to be taught how to sit from 8:00 to 3:00 so we're trained for regimented factory work - the purpose of the general population.

And why, for goodness sake, would you want them to think for themselves? They'll just cause trouble...

Americans are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373233)

Why else would they reelect GWB?

Take the test. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373249)

Here's a link to the actual interactive test used. You can compare your scores to that of American kids. http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/

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