This week’s COWAbunga award, i.e. comment of the week award, goes to Rachel, who has been commenting here since the very beginning. It turns out that she and I share a ed policy pet peeve:
While we're on the subject of "causal connection" I'll bring up one of my pet peeves in the correlation-does-not-imply-causality department that I worry is becoming almost endemic in ed-policy discussions. Even if SAT scores are a good predictor of graduation rate, focused efforts to raise SAT scores (like sending all high school students to test prep classes) will not necessarily improve overall graduation rates. That example may seem obviously silly, but in CA the logic that pushes for all 8th graders to take Algebra goes something like this: students who take Algebra II in high school tend to do well in college. Therefore students should take Algebra I in 8th grade to increase the chances that they take Algebra II in the two years of high school math that are required for graduation, to help ensure their success in college. The logic tends to leave math teachers banging their heads against walls.
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