Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to Sacha,

    How do we do that though? I’ve never seen it play out that way.

    I mean we select for people who can look/sound good to the RSA meeting and the local Lions and the local PTA and the local womens group and the local League club and the local business association and the party branch office and the two guys who are best mates of the pres ...

    Doesn't take much thought to realise all those groups have utterly different agendas and hence politicians need to sound/look different each time. And in each place there is a chance of running into hecklers and folks who just hate whatever party you stand for just because and the better you deal with those the more people you win over in the room.

    It's not a nice process to go through and I certainly couldn't do it (far too likely to say what I actually believe). And it does not seem to select for people who, when they are in parliament, are good at the kind of analysis and discussion we see here. And who also are able to admit when they are wrong and change position, which to be fair is a really hard thing for most folks to do so maybe that's asking a bit much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How to make more awesome use…, in reply to Hebe,

    Actors Equity membership

    Oh great ... exclusive rights to the centre of the bed is NOT enough!!!!!!!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How to make more awesome use…, in reply to Lilith __,

    Signed Colin photos for subscribers. That’d do it.


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to slarty,

    Imagine if our parliament were so erudite, intelligent and plain polite.

    You'd have to figure out a different way of selecting politicians. We select for people who can shout down hecklers in public meetings and who can appeal to the lowest common denominator. We select political game players and are then disappointed when all they can do well is play games.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How to make more awesome use…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    goodies for people who did that

    Regular Colin photos

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to linger,

    We should expect that the more specific factors, which have a more direct causal connection, will be more consistently associated with outcomes than class size per se. To that extent, the results are not “odd” at all.

    But the only way you would get such a large difference between class size itself and some of the factors directly linked to class size is if decreasing class size had some negative component as well. Especially if multiple factors dependent on class size have a positive effect, as in this case. I agree there will be aspects related to class size that should have a higher impact but not to the degree seen in the analysis.

    This suggests to me that the data is a merge of multiple studies where most studies measured class size but only a few studies measured some of the other factors. In order to present all those factors in one table the data would need to be processed. Without very careful data processing such differences could (and my guess in this case have) distort the findings.

    But I really don't know. I'm not an expert in education nor is my stats good enough to tackle meta analysis. However I have seen numerous meta analyses fall apart under scrutiny after they were published making me very nervous of such approaches. Personally I'd prefer to treat the individual studies as independent. It takes more effort to assess the conclusions of independent studies and more time but in my experience it is well spent.

    As the excerpt that Ross posted shows Hattie is not unaware of some of the issues indicating eg that the low impact of class size may be due to failure to alter teaching practices to take advantage of smaller classes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to James,

    These numbers are being quoted as if they’re regression coefficients

    What's worse is these numbers are being quoted as if they are real. I personally think the meta analysis is likely to be shown to be a crock of shite. There are some serious red flags in the list that suggest the analysis has created something odd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to Scott Chris,

    we have no reliable method of assessing teacher competency

    Are you sure? My guess is that such measures exist, they may not be simplistic enough for politicians or herald editors though.

    Kind of question it might be worth asking a graduate with a degree in education.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Rapid and relevant individual feedback (1) and direct instruction (2) … are both dependent, to some degree, on class size….

    And that is the problem with such studies. For most of the factors listed there are strong interdependencies. Any statistician will tell you that the moment you have variables that depend on each other you have a statistical nightmare in the making.

    That's why a huge amount of effort is spent in science to isolate a variable before you even do the experiment, let alone analyse the data.

    But in the real world and particularly in experiments with humans it can get a tensy bit tricky to do proper controlled experiments. And for some reason it's even worse with immature humans. I don't know ... the life of a scientist is rough when the public won't let you deliberately harm some children for the benefit of science. How's a scientist going to get a proper evil reputation, I've even practiced the laugh ...

    Hence meta analysis. Where data from many different studies with many different aims and many different controls and many different measures all get added together in one big dataset and then squished under the weight of ever more MATHS until something gets squeezed out. Sadly the history of meta analyses is that what gets squeezed out is usually less than savory. But we keep trying because if we could just get the math right then we could make better use of all that data.

    Sarcasm aside. One thing that is really clear from education studies is that spending money on training teachers throughout their career (not just at the start) really makes a difference to students. OMG! See science is useful. It's also clear that a bunch of other things help too, many of which are easier to achieve in a smaller class size but do not specifically require a smaller class size.

    What is interesting is that class size has such a small effect when many of the things that arise from small class sizes have a greater effect, eg one-on-one attention. What this strongly suggests is that the MATH used in this analysis might have been a bit buggered up. But, thank god, I'm not a statistician and so I don't have to try and figure out where they went wrong. I can just go to the individual studies themselves, or better yet take the advice of the experts in the field - ya know the ones with genuine degrees in education - and accept their conclusions.

    Which are: Smaller class sizes are good for students; teacher training is good for students; both of these together are even better for students. Do both.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Voyage: On Interpreting and…,

    To return to the original point, why would anyone invest in improving NZ export industries? There simply are no compelling industries worth the investment. It's all very well to sound off about the overseas investors but they responding to the lack of genuine competitive advantage in our export industries.

    Without a real advantage there is always another country more convenient. We have cheap water and cheap energy (if we bothered to generate it) at the moment that is translated into milk and not much else.

    Creating an culture that allows people to innovate and develop novel industries in NZ and is also accepting of failure is the only way to create anything worth the investment. Until we commit to doing that we will remain small and indebted.

    As an aside I think one of the problems is that the NZ stock market is still untrusted and some would argue untrustworthy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4145 posts Report Reply

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