Saturday, January 24, 2009

No Child Left Behind: Obama Magically Negates Differences in Black-White Peformance on Standardized Tests!

Well, I won't say much on this one, because regular readers already know how I feel. But let's just say, I believe that eradicating educational inequality will require much more than watching a president speak -- and that any researcher who feels otherwise is just [insert your favorite hyperbole] . . . .

Here's the press release: "The Obama Effect": Test-Taking Performance Gap Virtually Eliminated During Key Moments of Obama's Presidential Run

The New York Times also covered the story: Study Sees an Obama Effect as Lifting Black Test-Takers

And here's the video. It's somewhat of a "snooze" at various points, but it's still worth watching. Even if you generally do not believe in the concept of someone "drinking the Kool-Aid," this guy might persuade you to make an exception.


Anonymous said...

So before conducting the study, the researcher says he wants to find out whether Obama will "change the world," with a big smile on his face. And then the study confirms exactly that. Give me a break.

FLRN said...

Hmmm this one seems too easy Darren, but I will jump in anyway researchers are not comparing apples to oranges more like cherries to freight trains - in other words there is no comparison to make here. What was Arne thinking to allow his name to be linked to a conclusion that Obama could "inspire" millions to higher academic performance based on a single Vanderbilt Study which has not undergone peer review or any form of intense scientific scrutiny? Let us silly non-scientists look at this study. To paraphrase a bit - 'The sample was adults age 18 to 63, and their educational attainment ranged from high school dropout to Ph.D. It was a brief test, drawing 20 questions from the verbal sections of the Graduate Record Exam, and administering it four times to about 120 white and black test-takers during last year’s presidential campaign.'
I am sure that scores did not go up just because these same adults saw and took the test 4 different times - yeah right! This seems to me to be a flawed research design which could contribute to a contamination of results and decrease the ability to re-test the hypothesis. (Would be a type II error, and would certainly be enough to question the overall reliability of the data and the early conclusion of researchers).
I assert there is no connection here - the study has no practical application or relationship to the real issue of No Child Left Behind or the argument that standardized tests weigh heavily in favor of whites over black - why because the reported study tested Adults most of whom were not even students and finally all of who were adults, not children. It is premature (not to mention a bit immature) to have taken from this any sort of correlation to whether or not Obama's presidential speech and award winning smile can influence a black CHILD's anxiety level when facing a standardized test while sitting in a third grade class room in anywhere USA.
I will assert that many prominent black leaders - Tiger Woods, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, MLK, Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, and my personal favorite Denzel Washington can have an inspirational impact on black (and white) Americans - but the only way to truly measure Obama's impact this is to see it in action over time and that is going to take more than 5 days!

I agree with Anonymous - we need a break.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Thanks FLRN, for saving me from the task of writing on this issue. I could not have responded without going overboard with anger.

PS: I wish watching Oprah could make me a billionaire!

dsmay said...

I agree with previous posts. Any research can be swayed ESPECIALLY if you use a sample of only 472 participants (supposedly random). If the researchers really wanted to see if their study was valid, they would have randomly sampled from current high school student populations and gathered a sample which represented a normal distribution of the overall population. SO many things wrong with this study, but yet so many people will take it for what is written in simple black and white - and here we go again into the moronic bliss of the past 8 years. Where's my National Enquirer?! I bet this study is in there!

As said previously it wil take more than one or two speeches from President Obama, but it sure helps to have such a motivating factor for children and those in education. Hopefully the parents of school children clearly hear his message that it will take a concerted effort on their part to ensure that their children get a quality education, regardless of race or class.

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