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Students From States With Faster Internet Tend To Have Higher Test Scores

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the in-before-correlation-!=-causation dept.

The Internet 175

An anonymous reader sends word of correlation found between higher internet speeds and higher test scores. Quoting: The numbers—first crunched by the Internet provider comparison site HSI — show a distinct trend between faster Internet and higher ACT test scores. On the high end, Massachusetts scores big with an average Internet speed of 13.1Mbps, and an average ACT test score of 24.1. Mississippi, on the other hand, has an average speed of just 7.6Mbps and an average score of 18.9.

In between those two states, the other 48 fall in a positive correlation that, while not perfect, is quite undeniable. According to HSI's Edwin Ivanauskas, the correlation is stronger than that between household income and test scores, which have long been considered to be firmly connected to each other. The ACT scores were gathered from ACT.org, which has the official rankings and averages for the 2013 test, and the speed ratings were taken from Internet analytics firm Akamai's latest report.

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Simple conclusion.... (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a month ago | (#47730729)

Faster internet access means faster internet search results when cheating. Therefore the internet should be banned. /s

Simple conclusion.... brain implants work. (2)

swschrad (312009) | about a month ago | (#47731223)

the Borg is more cohesive with faster Internet. we are closer every day to domination.

Cheating (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730737)

Cheating over dial-up sucks!

Correlation is not causation (5, Insightful)

mcl630 (1839996) | about a month ago | (#47730741)

The usual /. refrain of correlation is not causation definately applies here. Mississippi had low test scores long before broadband Internet came along.

Re:Correlation is not causation (5, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47730783)

Yep.

Low test scores correlate with low income. Low income correlates with not affording premium services.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about a month ago | (#47731143)

No,

low income and low test scores have been shown to be a strong correlation with some studies showing a causative factor.

low income and not being able to afford premium services is a definitive causality of one to the other


The correlation is the ACT test scores to premium internet services unless as someone pointed out, the internet was being used to cheat on the ACTs, in which case it becomes causative.

Re:Correlation is not causation (2, Informative)

Pfhorrest (545131) | about a month ago | (#47731281)

Correlation does not imply causation, but causation does imply correlation.

If A causes B, then A will also correlate with B. It's only the reverse that's false. (A correlating with B doesn't mean A causes B).

Re:Correlation is not causation (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47731681)

No, causation can actually have a negative correlation, surprisingly.

It's relatively easy to generate cases where X can be caused by 2 different things, but the majority case simply has a stronger effect, if you don't account for mediating factors.

Let's take a case where everything is controlled by people so cause can be quite directly ascribed.
Applying for US citizenship causes US citizenship.
But among residents of the US, those applying for US citizenship are far less likely to end up being citizens than those who don't.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about a month ago | (#47731823)

without going into stats, the short answer is no, that's not right.

Re: Correlation is not causation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731343)

It's also worth noting that ACT scores may not be the best metric for success.

In some states it's mandatory for high school students to take the ACT, which may lead to lower state averages (technically those lower averages are more accurate for the whole population, but still don't compare directly with states where only the best students take the test).

Moreover, SAT is more popular on the coasts. Many of my high-achieving friends (think West Coast Ivy League) never even took the ACT. With that in mind, how can we say that the high scores in MA are truly representative of the general population?

Re: Correlation is not causation (2)

afgam28 (48611) | about a month ago | (#47731421)

That's true but the article (and even the summary) says that the correlation with internet speed is stronger than with income. So there may be more to it than just rich people can afford premium services.

Maybe families that value education more strongly are more likely to get broadband, or maybe there's is actually some causation.

Re:Correlation is not causation (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month ago | (#47731687)

Low income means that parent[s] need to work longer hours and spend less time with their children. Family time has a profound impact on education.

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730861)

Maybe - smarter people have faster internet ?

Re:Correlation is not causation (3, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month ago | (#47730943)

Maybe - smarter people have faster internet ?

Naw, My connection is 25Mbps/25Mbps (Up from 5Mbps/2Mbps) and I didn't get any smarter.... In fact, I sometimes think it was a dumb move as my wallet sure seems lighter these days.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47730919)

Mississippi, 42nd in literacy!

Take that, Nevada, New Mexico, Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, New York, and California!

[Immigrants aside, apparently, it's "Take that, Georgia!']

Re:Correlation is not causation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730989)

New Jersey only has low literacy because of Newark, Camden and a couple other black cities. Other than those places it's a very well educated state with the second highest incomes in the country after hedge fund country up in Connecticut.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47731201)

Regardless, your state, as a whole, is 46th in literacy.

I'm sure if you take the poorest people out of the Mississippi numbers, their rank would rise too.

Re:Correlation is not causation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731457)

New Jersey is probably also influenced by the high rates of immigration from low literacy countries like Egypt (75% literacy) El Salvador (85% literacy) and Pakistan (55% literacy). I've had people try to make change for me at a store who didn't know how to do basic arithmetic and had to summon the owner after they got confused. This happened in both Spanish and Indian establishments. But hey, immigration is great for America right?

Re:Correlation is not causation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731549)

You fucking shopped there, didn't you? How can you patronize a business and then bitch about the immigrants working there? Go buy from white people if you're so offended, fucktard.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47731773)

"Great for America" arguments aside, the list of states with the lowest literacy seems highly influenced by immigration.

Looks multi-colored to me (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a month ago | (#47731359)

Camden and a couple other black cities

This image [goo.gl] shows it to be a mix of greens, whites, browns, blacks, and a few other colors.

I don't see what the the color of the buildings and pavement/concrete has to do with the city's literacy rate though. Please enlighten me.

--
Warning: Above message contains satire.

Re:Correlation is not causation (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a month ago | (#47731157)

[Immigrants aside, apparently, it's "Take that, Georgia!']

You think Georgia doesn't have a lot of immigrants? It's got a higher percentage than New Mexico (9.5% [migrationpolicy.org] vs 9.2% [migrationpolicy.org] )!

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731169)

Texas

But Rick Perry now wears glasses!

He r sooper smrat!!!

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731855)

Sigh. Tards are going to make stupid political comments in every thread for the next two years.

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731093)

Exactly - yet one more example of bad "science". The study itself is fundamentally flawed in its design. One would have to study the longitudinal impact of introducing internet access over time and see what sort of average change was observed by region. Even then one would have to control for other various economic and social influences as well. For example, it is been known for a long time that kids who grow up in communities that value education do better in school. Any study that is trying to show the impact on something else on schooling has to have some way to control for that factor. Simply taking a snapshot at one point in time of internet vs test scores doesn't have any significance.

This is the basic problem with the internet and computers in general. It gives people the ability to run numbers, but no ability to know how to gather the numbers, or even which numbers are meaningful and the ability to publish those meaningless results nearly instantaneously. Which means that one can pump garbage-in/garbage-out at prodigious speeds - turning the Internet into the information void that it has become today - a place full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47731209)

Big Data is finally paying off: now one can sift jillions of bytes for hundreds coincidental correlations that used to take marketing departments and politicians several years and millions of dollars to concoct manually.

The sweet smell of progress!

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731213)

Time for your ACT quiz:
a. Close the schools to subsidize broadband providers.
b. Tax broadband providers to subsidize the schools.
c. Write laws to force broadband providers to block academic information.
d. Write laws to force municipalities to become broadband providers.
e. Add questions like this to the common core.

Re:Correlation is not causation (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47731403)

Who woulda done thunk that one of the poorest states in the Union would also have shitty broadband and shitty test scores? I bet they have crazy high infant mortality, shitty health in general, and a high per-capita crime rate too.

Maybe the high infant mortality rate is what caused the shitty broadband.

Re:Correlation is not causation (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month ago | (#47731639)

I bet they have crazy high infant mortality, shitty health in general, and a high per-capita crime rate too.

Per capita violent crime in MS ranks considerably below the national average (299 per 100K as opposed to 474 nationally (2006 figures)).

Massachusetts, New York, and California all have violent crime rates rather higher than the national average....

As does the District of Columbia (over three times the national average, nearly twice that of the highest State).

Re:Correlation is not causation (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a month ago | (#47731843)

For fuck's sake... where in TFS or TFA was causation mentioned?
Having a correlation between two data sets opens the door for more research on that matter. Nobody said "THIS is because of THAT", but rather "THIS and THAT scale similarly, hmm..." which is a totally different thing.

So this finding might be further correlated with the following:

- given the same amount of time spent on the Internet (say 1h/day as base value), the amount of information retrieved from the Internet scales with broadband speed.
correlated with
- saving said information for later review (e.g. e-books, audiobooks, video files) increases the amount of information available offline which initially came from online sources.
correlated with
- the average wait time before someone gets bored and closes a potentially helpful webpage which for some reason doesn't load quickly enough.

Et caetera.

I agree that this simple correlation is not causation, but a web of such positive correlations might as well lay the foundation for an undeniable causation.

One more thing: for the love of _$deity_, don't look at historical datasets! Comparing the 80s data with current data is comparing apples and oranges.

sorry (4, Funny)

pezpunk (205653) | about a month ago | (#47730745)

Re:sorry (4, Informative)

pezpunk (205653) | about a month ago | (#47730791)

I mean somehow I doubt better access to broadband is going to solve Mississippi's education problems. I'm willing to bet Massachusetts kids were trouncing Mississippi kids long before the internet came along.

Re:sorry (3, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47730983)

True.

Back in '92, Mississippi was at the absolute bottom 50 of 50 in basic prose literacy. [Sates with high immigration have since pushed them up to #42..]

In '92, Mass was in the middle of the pack, at about half as many illiterate residents.

http://nces.ed.gov/naal/estima... [ed.gov]

Re:sorry (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month ago | (#47731031)

It's almost like (barely) developing nations with pitifully low levels of human capital formation also have pitifully low levels of infrastructure investment. Funny that. It's probably their way of making our victory in the civil war seem completely pointless.

Re:sorry (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47731195)

If they raise their test scores, we should give them faster internet as a reward.

Re:sorry (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a month ago | (#47731319)

There is also the fact that Mississippi is a lot larger than Massachusetts. It is easy to build high quality Internet connections in a state that is small, with almost all of its population concentrated on the eastern side. A larger state with less population, and population that is more scattered, with the biggest town being about 1/20 the size of Boston makes it a lot more expensive to sling fiber and provide access to residents, especially in a state with such a relatively low population density.

Re:sorry (2)

plover (150551) | about a month ago | (#47731643)

Interesting idea, but the data doesn't support it.

While Massachusetts has 858 people per square mile, the population density of Minnesota, 68.1, is almost identical to Mississippi, with 63.7 people per square mile.

U.S. Census data also shows a significantly higher percentage of residents with internet connectivity in both Minnesota and Massachusetts, and significantly lower percentage in Mississippi. (Sorry, the source, http://www.census.gov/prod/201... [census.gov] , doesn't list the exact percentages, but I'm sure they'd be available if they were relevant.)

If density were that much of a factor, I would expect the states with similar density to have similar connectivity rates. The data doesn't bear that out.

Comparing the average ACT scores of the three states, Massachusetts comes in at 24.1, Minnesota at 22.8, and Mississippi at 18.7. Minnesota is closer to Massachusetts than Mississippi.

It's also worth noting that Minnesota's more recent governors have made statewide high speed internet a priority to help grow the economy.

Re:sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731859)

the population density of Minnesota, 68.1
Have you *been* to Minnesota? Now have you been outside the twin cities? Not much out there is there.

The 'south' is interesting as there are hundreds of little towns all over the place. You get into the midwest and its very diffrent with usually major cities and a few scattered small towns.

It's also worth noting that Minnesota's more recent governors have made statewide high speed internet a priority to help grow the economy
They are probably saying that now. Once it comes time to wire up more than the twin cities it will be 'oops sorry out of money'.

Having family there and having lived in 'the south'. I can tell you it is wildly different in the way they treat everyone. It is unheard of in many midwestern cities for someone to graduate who can not read. I come across someone here in NC about once a month. In one county in my state they refused to build a new highschool (for which they were 2x overcapacity) because they and I quote 'dina wan da richy folk to gets better education' I heard this on a call in radio station. There is an amazing divide between monied and nonmonied people in the south. If you toss out the bottom and top 10% in the south you find they are close to the mean in the US. But those bottom 10 are *way* out there. As in 50-60 kids in 1 room. Teacher buying their own chalk, pens, and paper for their kids.

I dont think people on the on the east and west cost quite realize how bad it is in some of these places. I mean families living in 20 year old single wide trailers. They have no money. They live SS check to SS check. The kids realize quickly that its not worth putting forth any effort as they too will probably end up like mom and dad. All of the farming and manufacturing picked up and went to mexico and china. There are no jobs here if all you have is a HS degree. Drugs are rampant and crime is not much better. So yeah go hang out with your buddies and get high or study and *maybe* do a tad better than your dad (if he is still around). Kids see the score.

Re:sorry (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a month ago | (#47731531)

Why sorry? No-one's said there's causation between the two in either direction.

Is there really a correlation? (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | about a month ago | (#47730779)

Yeah, before the Internet, everybody had the same test scores across the board.

Correlation implies a likely common cause (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47731007)

Then it's time to look for a common cause behind low standardized test scores and unavailability of high-speed home Internet access.

Re:Correlation implies a likely common cause (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#47731047)

slow internet most likely means rural area where most people care more about sports than test scores

only thing fast internet does is let you stream educational crap for kids since wikipedia doesn't need 13mbps

Re:Is there really a correlation? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47731409)

No, before the internet the rich didn't have faster internet access, but the better collection of books.

If anything, internet access leveled the playfield a bit.

Don't make the mistake of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730787)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Idiotic corrolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730795)

That's paramount to the "corn-flake effect". Many people who are involved in car accidents actually ate corn flakes for breakfast. How scary is that?!??

Re: Idiotic corrolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730945)

Maybe if they measured the amount of cornflakes each person ate and how often they were in crashes and found a correlation. You also might want to look up the definition of paramount.

Re:Idiotic corrolation (4, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month ago | (#47730975)

That's paramount to the "corn-flake effect". Many people who are involved in car accidents actually ate corn flakes for breakfast. How scary is that?!??

I'll bet almost all of them drank something with H2O in it within the last 24 hours too! It's time we ban this stuff.... For the children!!!

more $, more colleges = higher test scores (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about a month ago | (#47730813)

correlation does not equal causation

Follow The Money (2)

allquixotic (1659805) | about a month ago | (#47731601)

You can stop at "more $". That's the real reason why students in MA do better than students in MS.

Not money that's used to buy kids iPads or Surfaces, mind you. Money that's spent to modernize schools built in the 1960s, or tear them down entirely and put up new ones. Money that's spent to pay teachers more, and attract better teaching talent. Money that's spent on the community and infrastructure to make teachers want to live there.

Also, it's much more profitable for the private companies that "public" education relies on these days, when they have a higher density of students in schools. It's simply not practical to have as many students in a school in rural MS as it is in a school in urban MA. The urbanites get better educations because the private companies that do fund raisers, home and school internet connectivity, buses, general contracting on the buildings, etc. are making more money when they have more students in one place. It's the same reason why Verizon rolled out FiOS to the top 30% most densely populated suburbs and left the rest in the dark.

You can't trust private corporations to do anything other than act in their own self interest. The public sector as originally conceived was supposed to fill in the gaps, working under the assumption that all human citizens of the great USA deserve the same opportunity to have access to high quality education and thus high quality jobs. But such an assumption requires you to accept that each human being is meritorious of their own moral standing, just by virtue of the fact that they exist and are living and breathing. Corporations aren't people, and they don't assign any moral standing to anything except their bottom line.

We wanted nice things and we got exactly what we wanted. But you see, if you're not living in urban America, you aren't worthy of moral concern because you aren't worth enough money to our corporate benefactors.

The message is awfully clear. If you want a chance to prosper in today's economy, jam yourself in a tiny apartment and bleat through the herd of thousands through the doors of your local well-funded school. Welcome to The Haves Caste, USA, citizen. You are entity number 126,438,921.

stupid ass study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730823)

Cosmopolitan wealthy areas on the coast are smarter than a bunch of inbred hillbillies and savage nignogs? what a surprise!

No wonder Seattle is so dumb (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about a month ago | (#47730825)

With half of my friends still on dial-up and with my 576 kbps connection at home that is the fastest available on my block, there's no wonder this is such a CONservative place. Even our socialist city-level candidates are so conservative they opposed raising the minimum wage. The conservatives also flexed their power here when they drove the minimum wage increase all of the way down to $15/hour. That is not a living wage here so they are dooming families to failure.

Regardless of whether it's true or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730845)

Now we have a study we can cite that proves that ISP malfeasance and lack of capital investment is actually harming the educational outcomes of US students.

thanks obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730857)

thanks obama

Lies, damn lies, and statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730875)

"Correlation" is an oft-misused mathematical term of art. Have you seen that scatter plot?
And of course the data itself is suspect. Raise your hand if you believe the minimum statewide average internet speed is 7.6Mbps!

Re:Lies, damn lies, and statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730935)

People love to bash Verizon but when I'm pirating some Blurays at 7MB/s I have no complaints!

Re:Lies, damn lies, and statistics (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a month ago | (#47731563)

> "Correlation" is an oft-misused mathematical term of art.

Tell it to my status professor. I am sure he would get a good chuckle out of you.

Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730883)

Does anyone take these rote memorization tests seriously to begin? I'm honestly baffled by the sheer amount of stupidity it takes to mention test scores as if they truly mean anything.

Re: Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731011)

They aren't supposed to be some sort of definitive intelligence tests, standardized tests are just useful for comparing large populations with each other, and that's all they were designed for. I'd be surprised if you had a better idea for a meaningful test.

Re: Test scores (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about a month ago | (#47731567)

Standardized tests only compare rote memorization ability, which is simply unimpressive.

Re:Test scores (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month ago | (#47731077)

Does anyone take these rote memorization tests seriously to begin? I'm honestly baffled by the sheer amount of stupidity it takes to mention test scores as if they truly mean anything.

Oh they mean something all right... Just not what people think. It says how well you can take their test, which is only an indicator of how well you do in college.

My daughter scored mid-range in the SAT so you'd expect she's a "C" student right?

I wish I had her GPA. She's pulling straight A's so far. The test are OK, in as far as they go, but they are far from a perfect tool to measure something as complex as human intelligence.

However, according to this article, it was my fast FIOS connection's fault...

Re:Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731161)

Actually, these kind of standardized tests are very important to education because you can't judge how good a student is by looking at their grades since not all high schools are created equal. I used to be an anti-test person too until I started seeing how teachers will give passing grades or even high marks to students they like. Maybe they just like them because they work hard or "seem smart" but it really just becomes unfair to the people who are less charismatic. The standardized test weeds out the teachers pets. I just saw this in action this summer session. The main lecturer in the developmental ed class had his favorites that he was sure would do well and a bunch of other kids he didn't like. Well, the only girl who aced the exam was not even noticed during the whole program but she passed easily and walked out with a smile. Meanwhile, his "favorites" didn't do well at all and he even restarted one of their tests to give them more time to work on the writing portion! So corrupt! We really need these tests to maintain the integrity of education in America.

Re:Test scores (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about a month ago | (#47731577)

Actually, these kind of standardized tests are very important to education because you can't judge how good a student is by looking at their grades

You can't judge how good a student is by using shitty standardized tests that only test for rote memorization.

Re:Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731689)

Give me an example of a memorization question from any standardized test?

The average midterm from a STEM class has a hell of a lot more "rote memorization" than any standardized test I've seen so I don't really know what you're prattling on about?

Did your kid blow the SATs and so now you have to spend the rest of your life making excuses for their failure?

Re:Test scores (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about a month ago | (#47731867)

Give me an example of a memorization question from any standardized test?

Any questions like "Find the missing side of the triangle." rely on rote memorization of a specific procedure rather than a true understanding of why it works. Word problems are no better. Furthermore, multiple choice inherently constrains what answers someone can give, so writing out a detailed explanation of why and how something works is not possible.

These crappy tests simply do not care whether you understand the material.

Did your kid blow the SATs and so now you have to spend the rest of your life making excuses for their failure?

Did you do well on standardized tests and so now you're desperate to defend them? Meaningless assumptions.

Re:Test scores (1)

pezpunk (205653) | about a month ago | (#47731259)

awww someone "just wasn't a good test taker" i see.

Re:Test scores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731595)

People's arguments stand or fall on their own merits. Assuming that I am terrible at taking tests merely because I criticize the (obviously flawed) standardized tests will not debunk anything I said.

Maybe schools should have well-taught courses on logic so people hopefully stop thinking that spewing forth logical fallacies will debunk people's arguments.

Coorelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730963)

Faster internet comes from, in part, higher urbanization (and population density). Higher urbanization tends to encourage more government regulation of environment, more regulation of worker rights, higher wages (in part due to the regulation and in part due to the higher standards demanded by employers), an encouragement for smart parents (and hence their children) to move to such areas (aka "brain drain"), etc. Of course it's little wonder then that those who are left in "Jesusland" would support the free market since they hope to be the outsource target for companies that avoid California because of the higher costs, but there's an inherent unspoken admission that what's being called for is the stupider, stronger to have better odds. And given the fact that it was strength that was a deciding factor for generations in the south on which slave was preferred, it's little wonder there'd be such hatred against blacks as they're a threat to the white power base.

And the above paragraph? Utter, utter bullshit. But, then, it's just as valid as about anything else anyone else will say about this since this study, alone, cannot say much of anything about anything. Sure, it'll help people to reconfirm their biases. It's mostly, useless, though, as all it leads to is rampant conjecture without any real approach to actually testing a hypothesis. So, I'll put in my own conjecture that this is why the Social Sciences are so frowned upon. It's not that you can't do good Social Science work. But as much as journalism latches onto science and misrepresents it, they're double inclined to do so when it involves Social Sciences as it's much bigger clickbait. Which leads me to believe Social Science should focus less on such empty studies.

other relationship (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month ago | (#47730969)

This smacks of a 3rd factor that causes both faster internet and higher grades. It could be wealth, politics, or simply smarter people move to places with higher internet speeds.

Re:other relationship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731101)

I would suggest adding "business-friendly" government - states where corporations have free reign to establish monopolies / exploit captive consumers - thus have no incentive to provide good internet service. E.g. Texas where I live.

Not even a good correlation. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a month ago | (#47730977)

Reading the linked article and looking at the graph I see that this is not even a good correlation never mind being causal.

Want to have your kids do better? Pay attention to them. For the best results, homeschool.

Several countries ban homeschooling (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47731085)

For the best results, homeschool.

There are plenty of countries where you can be thrown in prison for doing that to your kids. Germany is among them.

Broadband internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47730979)

"Mississippi had low test scores long before broadband Internet came along."

Son, I don't know what this "broadband Internet" thing is, but we don't cater to such hi-falutin' nonsense here in Missisippi.

Maybe They Can Afford It? (1)

Forgefather (3768925) | about a month ago | (#47730995)

Faster internet also means a larger cable bill. Maybe we are seeing inflated test scores because the people with faster internet are the people who can afford it along with better schools, private tutors, school supplies etc etc.

Data Mining. (5, Funny)

Atzanteol (99067) | about a month ago | (#47731015)

This is data mining. If you compare enough things you'll find strange correlations. There is little plausible reason to believe there is an actual causal relationship here.

These are also "irrefutable correlations":

US spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation:
http://www.tylervigen.com/view... [tylervigen.com]

Number people who drowned by falling into a swimming-pool correlates with Number of films Nicolas Cage appeared in
http://tylervigen.com/view_cor... [tylervigen.com]

Per capita consumption of cheese (US) correlates with Number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets:
http://tylervigen.com/view_cor... [tylervigen.com]

Re:Data Mining. (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47731277)

Per capita consumption of cheese (US) correlates with Number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets

There may be a real cause/effect correlation there, but if so, I don't want to know what it is.

Re:Data Mining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731611)

many people have minor lactose intolerance and eating cheese generally occurs at night which makes them build up gas in there bodies as they sleep that they don't fart out which makes them uncomfortable, which causes tossing and turning at night in the sheets and you accidentally hang yourself.

Omitted variable bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731075)

It's picking up other stuff omitted in the study.

I see a strong correlation (1)

somepunk (720296) | about a month ago | (#47731079)

between articles submitted with the term "correlation" in the summary, and with comments taking the article to task for being wrong about correlation implying causation.

Nevermind that most of the articles make no such claim at all.

But is it causal? Hmm..

I see a strong correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731467)

And I see that correlative studies are useless and trivial intellectual masturbation unless they have a causational element, and that there is a correlation between those who feel a "news" site should be reporting actual things of interest instead of mindless trivia and calling such articles bullshit for determining straight correlations are newsworthy.

ACT Tests (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month ago | (#47731117)

If there was any data to suggest the ACT tests are statistically valid (they test the thing you think they test) or reliable (they would get the same result if you tested again) then the correlation may be a clue to something. However when the underlying test is neither valid nor reliable, the correlation it shows doesn't even show you there is correlation.

Ok, but you're not in before: ECOLOGICAL FALLACY! (1)

Lexible (1038928) | about a month ago | (#47731155)

Not to mention other cross-level fallacies. See for example: Diez-Roux, A. V. (1998). Bringing context back into epidemiology: variables and fallacies in multilevel analysis [nih.gov] . American Journal of Public Health, 88(2):216--222.

The upshot: Even if a causal relationship corresponds to the study's findings, causes of state-level rates of test achievement are fundamentally different things than causes of student-level rates of test achievement.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731173)

In other news, researches have discovered a correlation between the number of pirates and global temperatures. As the number of pirates has decreased global temperatures have tended to rise. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

Correlation does not imply causation.

Actually... (1)

nam37 (517083) | about a month ago | (#47731347)

Rich kids tend to have higher test scores...

GO COMCAST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731353)

COMCAST guarantees you lowest IQ score in our entire country. Can we sell you something?

Meaningless correlation (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a month ago | (#47731361)

You can find all sorts of weird correlations [tylervigen.com] if you look for them but the mere existence of a correlation is meaningless by itself. In this case my first question would be about money. States with more money will be able to afford both faster internet and better schools. Other factors that need to be controlled for include population density, local industry, demographic makeup, etc to be able to put some meaning to this.

Basically this is a meaningless correlation which provides no context to draw useful conclusions from. Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com] .

Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731389)

Go Massholes!

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731423)

May I also mention that we have world-class research universities, a strong biology and tech economy, and plenty of blue collar jobs. Quality of life is great out here (Western Mass here).

Like I said, Fuck Yeah. Now if only we could get those assholes to take "gun control" and shove it so far up their asses that the sun burns out before illuminating that dark cesspit again... The gun control we need here consists of reining in fanatical police officers and putting body cams on them.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731459)

Okay, replying to myself again, but there's really a ton of reasons we're one of the best places to live (in the world). For starters, racism/sexism and discrimination in general are pretty much a recipe for getting yourself lynched around here (Pioneer Valley, or just the Valley. You know, the one with UMass Amherst in it). Even in eastern MA, you have to put up with all sorts of bullshit and people slinging slurs at their neighbors. Frankly, they can take that and shove it too. People are people are people. Out here, people can just be people.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731499)

And did I also mention that we have farms. Real farms. That feed actual people who live here. Not just for shipping to somewhere else. We have an actual local economy and we take steps to support that by preferentially giving our business to people in our community. Not only is it often cheaper (quite literally almost dirt cheap), but it's usually higher quality service too. At the end of the day, you know that you're helping out someone else instead of just lining a banker's pockets.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731565)

Bro, I grew up in Western Mass and it is indeed the best place in the country. But keep it on the low, OK. If, when people think of Mass, they picture some drunk Irish D-Bag from Worcester or a snooty pseudo-British academic in a sweater-vest then they will be less likely to move there and pollute my fine homeland with their plebeian antics.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731735)

That might be the only downside. We don't know how to keep our mouths shut. OTOH, I think a large part of our culture is due to the constant influx of young minds, of all stripes and colors from all over the world, who come here to learn. Many of them stay because there's nowhere else quite like it (having lived in several other parts of the US/world myself). This creates an extremely integrated/diverse community with the minor tendency to riot and protest when things get out of hand.

I'd rather have that than the racist groupthink of the Ferguson police.

Well Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731511)

If it takes you longer to download your porn you have less time to study.

Correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731515)

In other news, recent research shows that higher-speed internet is typically purchased by higher-income families, which also happen to have access to higher-quality educations.

Like... duh?

I'm guessing someone is aching to call RACISM (2)

gelfling (6534) | about a month ago | (#47731539)

Faster internet - more affluent - not black, etc etc etc

Re:I'm guessing someone is aching to call RACISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731743)

Faster internet - more affluent - not black, etc etc etc

Also not white...

Top 3 countries in terms of fastest internet:
3. Japan
2. South Korea
1. Hong Kong

Toward a more useful analysis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731615)

For general information, there is no good way to adjust for the proportion of the students taking the test, or re-taking the test. Both ACT and SAT refuse to release the test score breakdowns other then by state averages. To do the adjustment you would need to know the number of students at each score level.
    Another obvious adjustment which would make this more useful would be to adjust for the population density of each state. The same internet infrastructure investment goes further when the population is more densely packed.

Obligatory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731631)

http://xkcd.com/1138/

Conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731751)

Conclusion, Comcast makes kids dumber.

The Sheldrake Effect (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a month ago | (#47731825)

The more waves --electromagnetic, wires, fiber-- the larger the opportunity for so called 'rub off' of thise waves. Actually the better-performing students do not know anything more than the average student, nor have better insights, higher intelligence (technically though, yes they do), etc. It's just that they 'pick up' more of the accepted view of the current state of knowledge. Morphic resonance.

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