Outliers’ KFS … Spend your time off wisely

This is one of several posts extracting some key points from the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, 2008

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Gladwell’s Observation

Generally, people conclude that U.S. schools fail miserably.  That’s probably true, but Gladwell found an interesting twist. 

Some Baltimore elementary schools gave students a battery of standardized tests in September to set a baseline and June — to measure accumulative school year achievement.

The general conclusion: roughly equal progression (from different baselines) for all students — regardless of their family’s income level.

The twist: researchers looked at changes from the June scores to the September scores — to measure retention or development during the summer vacation period.

What they found: at best, low income kids scored the same in Sept as they did in June — suggested limited development during the summer.  In general, higher income kids scored higher in September than they did in June — suggesting that their summer activities (reading, camps, classes, family trips, etc.) were constructively developmental.

Bottom line: students from lower income families would do better with a longer school year or more structured summer activities

Takeaway: Don’t waste your time off … think of it as valuable development time.

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One Response to “Outliers’ KFS … Spend your time off wisely”

  1. Laj Says:

    Since school achievement is a racially sensitive topic, I won’t touch it too deeply. But Gladwell (and I would do the same in this particular case if I wanted to sell books) is taking a politically correct approach to a serious issue once more.

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