Jeopardy fail


Teacher’s night on Jeopardy, & one of the categories is “alphabetically second.” Meaning the correct answer is the second item in an alphabetized list.

Question: What is the second book of the Pentateuch?

Answer: What is Deuteronomy?

Three teachers onstage, and not one of them knows the sequence “Genesis, Exodus.”

Another one bites the dust

I think one or the other of us has written posts on the subject of dying grammar and punctuation, but I don’t remember what they were or what we said. 


So I’ve started a new category called “dying grammar and punctuation.” 

Dangling modifiers are a major category of dying grammar; I see them constantly and am even hearing them on news programs as well. 

Today I came across another category that I’m pretty sure is fading: possessive pronouns in front of gerunds, as in “do you mind my sitting here” versus “do you mind me sitting here.”

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Terri on children learning differently

This is amazing — I’ve never imagined “score scatter” (or score divergence, I guess) like this was even possible. (Though it does make me wonder about Andrew, whether he has some kind of crazy divergence in capacities that no one has been able to measure.)

Plus a child learning phonics at 2 — also amazing !

How do these things happen?

Terri W describes her children’s learning:

I have one child who is basically a hyperlexic pattern matcher extraordinaire — one of the ones who works out the phonics for themselves around age 2, just by being read to.

And the other one has profound dyslexia, and had to be explicitly trained, four hours a day, five days a week, that symbols stood for sounds. (A particularly high IQ kid, too. The vocabulary portion of the test was 98th percentile, the decoding was 1st percentile.)

Five years and six digits into Lindamood Bell later, he can read almost to grade level, but still with difficulty. But if you didn’t already know before you met him, he’d mostly pass as a sort of crappyish student. (Can only barely memorize facts, mis-orders or forgets instructions, the continued painful reading). On the other hand, he’ll understand the narrative and the themes and ask you questions that’ll blow your mind.

So, dyslexia truly is a different way of learning, and scans have shown that different areas of the brain light up when they’re thinking/doing tasks.

But that’s usually not what they’re talking about when they talk about learning styles for students.

Do all children learn differently?

1. No, they don’t

First of all, I agree with Emily Hanford’s tweet: our brains are much more similar than different.

The way I think about this is to ask myself whether evolution would be likely to create many, many millions of creatures who all, every last one of them, learn differently. 

Do all goats learn differently?

Do all birds learn differently?

All fish?

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How many words do you need to know?

Number of word families needed to:
Get most things done as a tourist or visitor 1,000 to 2,000
Hold a friendly conversation 6,000
Watch television & movies 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000
Read fluently (must know 98% of a text’s word families) 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000

What do you need to know to learn a foreign language? by Paul Nation
Vocabulary Size, Text Coverage and Word Lists by Paul Nation and Robert Waring

Admissions fraud and extra time

In the Wall Street Journal ($):

The number of students getting accommodations, which help them get more time on the SAT and ACT, has more than doubled from 2009 to 2016, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data. Students in affluent school districts are much more likely to get extended times than students in poorer districts, the data showed.

When colleges receive the students’ scores, they don’t know that the students had additional time to take the exam.

“It’s a loophole that some people know how to use and a lot of people don’t,” said Miriam Freedman, a lawyer who has represented public schools in special-education and disability law and has written several books about accommodations. “The system is rigged.”

Mr. Goldberg of the College Board said, “We are not aware of any prior incident where someone has attempted to take advantage of our accommodations policy to evade our test security systems.”

Not aware of any prior incident?

That doesn’t track.

We raised our kids in an affluent school district. Tonight, over dinner, when I read the boldfaced line about parents wangling accommodations for their nondisabled college-bound kids, C. instantly said “That’s how so-and-so went to Columbia.”

Cheating on extra-time accommodations is an open secret in these parts. Last I checked, College Board still has headquarters in Manhattan, which is pretty much the epicenter of extra-time mongering as far as I’m concerned.

They know.

And see:
Admissions fraud, take 1
Admissions fraud, take 2

Admissions fraud and extra time