ArchiveJune 2015

The future of survey research

The Future of Survey Research: Challenges and Opportunities A Report to the National Science Foundation Based on Two Conferences Held on October 3-4 and November 8-9, 2012   For more than thirty years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported data for research on a wide variety of topics by making awards to three major long-term survey efforts, the American National Elections...

Can a school board ban Washington Redskins clothing?

The board just enacted this rule, effective in the fall: Students may not wear clothing with words, pictures or caricatures based on negative stereotypes of a specific gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Students may not wear shirts, hats or other attire with Native American team names, logos or mascots that depict negative stereotypes. A list of team...

The problem with public opinion polls

In the polling world, no survey firm releases its microdata in a timely manner. When pollsters release it at all — usually months after publication, to an archive that requires a paid subscription for access — they seldom provide the detailed methodological explanations necessary to replicate the survey results. Critics have raised charges of full-scale fabrication, like that alleged in the...

Do we need education for economic growth?

In 1960, countries with an education level of 8.3 years of schooling were 5.5 times richer than those with 2.8 year of schooling. By contrast, countries that had increased their education from 2.8 years of schooling in 1960 to 8.3 years of schooling in 2010 were only 167% richer. Moreover, much of this increase cannot possibly be attributed to education, as workers in 2010 had the advantage of...

Replication issues hit ethnography: did Goffman make up her book?

On the Run is the story of sociologist Alice Goffman’s six years of immersion in a struggling Philadelphia neighborhood, in which she tells the stories of the “routine stops, searches, raids, and beatings that young men navigate as they come of age.” The book was initially hailed as an ethnographic classic, but to me it raised red flags. Too many of the incidents seemed unlikely, based upon my...

Drone catches cheating students in ‘world’s toughest exam’

The National Higher Education Entrance Exam, known as “gaokao,” is held each year and determines whether youngsters will get into the top universities. It’s been described as the “world’s toughest exam” and can be stressful, even traumatic for students trying to achieve higher grades. Some entrants, ingeniously, try to cheat by capturing their test...

College counselors: look less Asian to get into college

Brian Taylor is director of Ivy Coach, a Manhattan company that advises families on how to get their students into elite colleges. A number of his clients are Asian American, and Taylor is frank about his strategy for them. “While it is controversial, this is what we do,’’ he says. “We will make them appear less Asian when they apply.” […] “The admissions officers are seeing a bunch of...

Congress outlaws ordinary least squares!

Not really, but close. Via a posting by Jeff Strohl on the postsecondary-data google group: It is important to keep an eye on some growing language that seeming aims to ‘outlaw’ predictive analytics (When regressions are outlawed, only Social Scientists will regress!!) “(C) NO NATIONAL DATABASE.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the collection, storage, sharing...

Does Paul Attewell believe in replication?

I believe the answer is clearly “no”, but judge for yourself. The emails make interesting reading. This began when an acquaintance of mine, who does not have tenure and shall remain nameless, asked David Monaghan and Paul Attewell for the statistical code for their paper, “The Community College Route to the Bachelor’s Degree.” The paper was published in a top journal...

Truer words about accreditation have never been spoken

Accreditation is a procedure by which your organization submits to a review by another organization that is supposedly in a better position to evaluate the honesty, integrity, and competency of your organization than either you or your customers. The primary concern of the accrediting body is your office procedures — at no point in the process are the accreditors concerned with the quality, the...

About me

Stephen

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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