"Self-esteem" failing Ontario schools

The Man

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Jul 2011
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A new study, “Academic Skill Deficiencies in four Ontario universities,” offers solid, but troubling evidence that the secondary schools feeding universities are falling well short of expectations on the skills-building front. In fact, this study, conducted at four Ontario universities — York, Western, Waterloo and Toronto, which together enrol 41 per cent of Ontario undergrads — found that “only about 44 per cent of students felt they had the generic skills needed to do well in their academic studies, 41 per cent could be classified as at risk in academic settings because of limited levels of basic skills, and 16 per cent lacked almost all the skills needed for higher learning.”

The study team, co-led by York University Department of Sociology Professor J. Paul Grayson, and Western University Department of Sociology Professor James Côté, included associate professor of sociology Robert Kenedy of York University, and researchers Liang Hsuan Chen of the University of Toronto Scarborough and Sharon Roberts of the University of Waterloo.

The study was motivated by Grayson’s and Kenedy’s frustration in having to teach students they deemed unprepared in the critical thinking and research and writing competency required for their social sciences courses at York. Wishing to know the students’ point of view, in late 2017 they surveyed 22,000 students from all disciplines and levels of study enrolled in the faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York. They posed 50 questions to students of all demographic backgrounds. Skill questions focused on writing ability, test-taking, analysis, time and group management, research, giving presentations and elemental numeracy. A year later, the same survey was performed at the three other universities cited. The results were consistent across the board.

And, as noted, the results were dismal. Students in the at-risk and dysfunctional groups received poor grades, were more likely to consider dropping out and reported dissatisfaction with their university experience overall. One student’s comments summed up typical complaints: “Not enough time on tests. Have difficulty citing. We are not taught. Have difficulty with multiple-choice, short and long answer questions on tests. We should be taught how to cite properly!”

Notably, the authors say that these “effects held independently of students having good grades in high school, of being a domestic or international student, of being the first in their families to attend university, of gender, and of having spoken English in their homes while growing up.”

One cannot blame the universities for these student deficits, which, the authors observe, are often irremediable over the course of campus residency. Clearly the secondary-school system is failing to meet basic pedagogical objectives, and is failing to cull incompetent students. University students should be honing already-absorbed competencies, not learning them from scratch, nor should university-level academics’ time be wasted in remedial instruction.

But pedagogues K-12 are often in denial of the problem, because they are themselves in thrall to the “self-esteem” zeitgeist, about which so much ink has been spilt. They are giving good grades to work that does not merit it, because of the prevailing “all must have prizes” culture they operate within. In a 2008 study, psychology professor Ellen Greenberger found that two-thirds of university students believe that if they’re “trying hard,” their grades should reflect their effort, not their actual achievement. One-third of the 400 undergrads her team interviewed for the study felt they deserved a B grade just for attending most of a course’s classes.

One of the Grayson et al study’s authors, James Côté, co-authored the 2007 book, Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis, which reported the results of an in-depth analysis of the self-esteem movement’s consequences at Western University in the faculties of arts, social science and natural science.

The authors wrote: “Students with high self-esteem based on false feedback are much more difficult to teach because many cannot take criticism and feedback without assuming that it is personal. Experimental research suggests that such people attempt to preserve their self-esteem, not by altering their behaviour so that it becomes more based in reality, but by attacking the source of the threat.” More than one-third of the profs they interviewed identified fewer than 10 per cent of their students as “fully engaged.” Over 80 per cent of professors said they had dumbed down their course work, and had reduced the frequency and difficulty of assignments.

But even when course work is made easier, the students are not prepared. One student wrote to professors Grayson and Kenedy: “IM IN FIRST YEAR AND IM DOING SO BAD AND IM SO SCARED BC IM FINDING IT REALLY HARD TO MANAGE MY TIME AND MY ANXIETY HAS GOTTEN SO BAD AND IDK WHAT TO DO AND IM SCARED OF GETTING KICKED OUT AND IM JUST SCARED.”

This study might well have been called “Scary cultural chickens coming home to roost in Ontario universities.” Over to you, Premier Ford.
Barbara Kay: Universities shine a light on Ontario’s failing schools

Very interesting...
 
Oct 2014
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When I was in engineering, had a conversation with one of the profs. He told me how he was giving the same test for 25 years. Over those years he saw the trend of performance declining to where originally the majority of the class would complete the test, now it's to where most barely complete the test within the limit...
 
Feb 2015
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When I was in engineering, had a conversation with one of the profs. He told me how he was giving the same test for 25 years. Over those years he saw the trend of performance declining to where originally the majority of the class would complete the test, now it's to where most barely complete the test within the limit...
that would be because the bar is being lowered to allow the stupid to pass classes they dont deserve to pass. Math is a major part of nursing. My first year.... omfg, they had to have remidial classes in math for several in our class. As far as i am concerened, if they cant do basic math they should never have been allowed into the program in the fist place. But you know... quotes must be fulfilled first.


I just learned that a D.... a freaking D .... is a passing score to get out of high school. WTF??????
 
Feb 2015
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lets talk about self esteem. Self esteem is something you build for yourself. Good or bad... the experiances work towards your self worth.

if you win... you win. If you lose... you lose. Now everyone wins!!! no winners or losers just ribbons for participating. it might hurt the losers feelings knowing they are losers!!! At some point these kids are going to have to make it in the real world. Some will never understand why they are losers.
 
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Oct 2014
33,166
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that would be because the bar is being lowered to allow the stupid to pass classes they dont deserve to pass. Math is a major part of nursing. My first year.... omfg, they had to have remidial classes in math for several in our class. As far as i am concerened, if they cant do basic math they should never have been allowed into the program in the fist place. But you know... quotes must be fulfilled first.


I just learned that a D.... a freaking D .... is a passing score to get out of high school. WTF??????
High school was a different story. Then I had ran the numbers to where just showing up and doing good on tests meant that I was guaranteed a passing grade. So, there was no reason to do any homework that couldn't be completed in class...

I've mentioned the story a few times about the engineer who came to me before a test with no calculators allowed. The guy did not know how to do decimal math... I thought it was a joke, and he is now (partly due to nepotism) a working engineer.
 
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Feb 2015
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High school was a different story. Then I had ran the numbers to where just showing up and doing good on tests meant that I was guaranteed a passing grade. So, there was no reason to do any homework that couldn't be completed in class...

I've mentioned the story a few times about the engineer who came to me before a test with no calculators allowed. The guy did not know how to do decimal math... I thought it was a joke, and he is now (partly due to nepotism) a working engineer.
yes i learned that too in HS. I never showed up, did no homework..... and aced all tests. I graduated on the principals list for straight A's. Why should i bother being there at all???
 
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Aug 2018
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lets talk about self esteem. Self esteem is something you build for yourself. Good or bad... the experiances work towards your self worth.

if you win... you win. If you lose... you lose. Now everyone wins!!! no winners or losers just ribbons for participating. it might hurt the losers feelings knowing they are losers!!! At some point these kids are going to have to make it in the real world. Some will never understand why they are losers.
I see it a little bit different.

The winners win now, and the losers lose now, but you win by having rich parents. Otherwise It's over. Forever. Sorry, loser. You're six years old now and you lost the parent lottery. So you lose forever. Forever. No second chances. Should have been a winner before being born. Idiot.

It used to be that kids would join sports and practise for the season and then play. The winners got a trophy. The losers would be told "better luck next year" . Next year they'd try again. The coaches would help the good ones practise better and apply what they learned.

Here's how it works now.

Kids with wealthy, highly engaged parents are enrolled in elite training academies at six years old. The real coaches teach them. Thousand aof dollars are funnelled into their training. All the other kids are coached by their volunteer dads in the rec league.

At the end of the year all the volunteer dads give all the rec league kids ribbons. Because they were all already losers before any games started. The 6 year olds in the elite academy are now far, far better than the other kids. Some teams win and some lose but they ALL got elite training. The six year olds in the rec league are now already totally outclassed. At six.

The best kids in the academy become great athletes. The kids who didn't have rich parents will never have actually received professional coaching in their lives.

Same as the kids in the high schools in this story were ignored for 13 years by disinterested, unfunded, crappy school boards.

Because all the money and teachers and resources and actual education got funnelled to the rich peoples kids in the nice neighbourhoods.

Then - when the poor fuck's grow up and realize they were being scammed their entire lives - some baby boomer who had everything handed to them all their life blames THEM for it.
 
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