Thursday, September 04, 2014
I’m writing this down not to inflame the usual wars on the interwebs -- I have no appetite for that at all, and I salute the brave souls who endure more hostility in a week than I do in a year -- but to remind myself to tell the kids about it when they’re older. It’s not about “guilt,” exactly; I have no guilt about trying to find my dog. It’s about taking that extra moment to stand back and notice. And then taking some extra moments to nudge positive change, somehow. At some level, I have to believe that starts by acknowledging reality, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Academically Adrift is mostly built around the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), a test of critical thinking. Based on Nelson's article it looks like its sequel is as well. I actually really liked Academically Adrift when I first read it. I liked it so much that I started making a series of assignments that emulated the CLA. This led me to their article, "Architecture of the CLA Tasks", where they revealed that their test of critical thinking is graded by a Pearson computer program. Take a moment to let that sink in.
They have an essay-based test that measures critical thinking.
It's graded by an algorithm.
That algorithm was developed by Pearson, makers of TestGen and the Mastering series.
To be fair, they didn't start using Pearson to grade the CLA until after Academically Adrift was published. But if your essay-based exam of critical thinking is being graded by a rubric that can be successfully emulated by a computer algorithm, we're either in The Matrix or your exam sucks monkey balls. And if you read the paper, their performance task for critical thinking is a simple correlation-is-not-causation problem with some bells and whistles.
You do have one irritating habit of trying to turn everything into a discussion of race, but otherwise everyone just likes you and would love to help. I hope you find TD soon.
He told the story with a wry smile, knowing it seemed incredible to those of us who grew up with the privilege of white skin but reflecting a daily reality for those who didn't.
I hate to say it but if your family were black, you might just have to give up on the dog because of the risk to yourselves in conducting the sort of search you've undertaken. You certainly wouldn't want to involve your tall pre-teen son.
Thank you for being a model for all of us in remaining conscious of our daily privileges.
I do so enjoy keeping up with your thoughts on the blog--I know I haven't kept up my end of the correspondence!
Best wishes, Kate
Perhaps a better analogy would be if the dog had been spotted in a tough inner city neighborhood and Dean Reed went door to door in his suit after work ... at night. Not much white privilege there.
PS - I was conflicted by the robo-text. One word lookd likr "fome", but I know it was really some in older English print that is suggested by the old font being used. Which version to enter?
As Edmund Dantes demonstrates, the answer is, obviously, "of course". There are two kinds of privilege -- the kind nobody should have, and the kind everybody should have. You're enjoying the kind everyone should have, and it shouldn't make you feel guilty or anything (since you, too, should have it), but yeah, awareness is good. Because we're white folks, but we don't have to be those kind of white folks.
Conservatives gotta conservative.