You Are Not a Number

Shawn O'Connor takes on the collective myth you have just a certain ability to get a certain number on this test and that that cannot be changed.

Shawn O’Connor: I'm not someone who is going to defend every single standardized test that's out there, but schools do need the ability to compare students who are from different parts of the country who've studied different majors but who all want to pursue the same degree.  And so what standardized tests allow schools to do is to have one benchmark - and it’s only one benchmark; there are obviously a lot of other factors in the application process - but it provides one benchmark where we can line up all of the different students and sort of understand what they’re likely potential is.

What I think have been the two negative social implications of sort of the proliferation of standardized tests has been, number one, this common collective myth that has developed that you have just a certain ability to get a certain number on this test and that that cannot be changed.  We prove that wrong every single day at Stratus Prep.  And the second is the notion that these tests are in no way influenced by sort of one’s personal background or one’s early childhood education.  I mean, the statistics are quite clear: your performance on a standardized test in graduate school is in some way impacted by where you grew up and what type of elementary and middle school that you were able to attend.  That's something that I think the test writers should be challenged by everyone to continue working to reduce because it really is obviously not fair that there are factors beyond your control that are impacting your test performance.  But it’s much less of a deterministic factor than people think.  Does early childhood education impact standardized test performance?  Yes.  But the amount that it impacts is much less than people think, so don’t use that as an excuse.  Don’t think, "Oh, I can’t do well because I didn’t go to a great grade school."  It may mean that you have to work a little bit harder, but you can get there.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

Shawn O'Connor takes on the collective myth you have just a certain ability to get a certain number on this test and that that cannot be changed.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less