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posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the this-will-not-be-controversial-oh-no-sir dept.

GungnirSniper writes:

"Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post has 'A message to the nation's women: Stop trying to be straight-A students.'

In her analysis of others' findings, she writes of a discouragement gradient that pushes women out of harder college degrees, including economics and other STEM degrees. Men do not seem to have a similar discouragement gradient, so they stay in harder degree programs and ultimately earn more. Data suggests that women might also value high grades more than men do and sort themselves into fields where grading curves are more lenient.

'Maybe women just don't want to get things wrong,' Goldin hypothesized. 'They don't want to walk around being a B-minus student in something. They want to find something they can be an A student in. They want something where the professor will pat them on the back and say "You're doing so well!"'

'Guys,' she added, 'don't seem to give two damns.'

Why are women in college moving away from harder degrees?"

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Kell on Thursday March 13 2014, @07:44AM

    by Kell (292) on Thursday March 13 2014, @07:44AM (#15755)

    Hi - tertiary engineering educator here. Hoo boy, believe me it is very hard to build assessment that is fair, balanced, and well-targeted for difficulty. When it comes to teaching the questions that keeps me up at night are "Have I made the project too hard?" and "Have I made the project too easy?" Either scenario is a disaster for the course.
    On the topic of bell-curves: they are a way of doing "automatic gain adjustment" on your marking scheme, and is usually a fairly robust technique given large, and fairly homogenous classes. Oddly, the major complaints about bell curves come from the good students who actually benefit from such a scheme - they know it's unfair, but generally if you're smart enough to recognise the issue, you're not the one on the bottom of the heap.
    That said, I don't use them either - I use competency-based assessment, which I feel is fairer to everybody, but it always difficult to design good assessment that doesn't break too many eggs (or not enough).

    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
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