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Arizona State University, like many colleges across the United States, has a problem with students who enter their freshman year ill prepared in math. Though the school offers remedial classes, one-third of students earn less than a C, a key predictor that they will leave before getting a degree. To improve the dismal situation, ASU turned to adaptive-learning software by Knewton, a prominent edtech company. The result: Pass rates zipped up from 64% to 75% between 2009 and 2011, and dropout rates were cut in half.
But imagine the underside to this seeming success story. What if the data collected by the software never disappeared and the fact that one had needed to take remedial classes became part of a student’s permanent record, accessible decades later? Consider if the technical system made predictions that tried to improve the school’s success rate not by pushing students to excel, but by pushing them out, in order to inflate the overall grade average of students who remained.
These sorts of scenarios are extremely possible.
Read more. [Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]
#Grade R Us!
zuky:George Crum (born George Speck (c. 1828 – July 22, 1914) was a mixed-race Native American trapper and guide in the Adirondacks, who became renowned for his culinary skills after becoming a cook and restaurant owner in Saratoga Springs, New York. By 1860 he owned Crum’s House, a popular lakeside restaurant in nearby Malta.
Every time a person crunches into a potato chip, he or she is enjoying the delicious taste of one of the world’s most famous snacks – a treat that might not exist without the contribution of inventor George Crum.
The son of an African-American father and a Native American mother, Crum was working as the chef in the summer of 1853 when he incidentally invented the chip. It all began when a patron who ordered a plate of French-fried potatoes sent them back to Crum’s kitchen because he felt they were too thick and soft.
To teach the picky patron a lesson, Crum sliced a new batch of potatoes as thin as he possibly could, and then fried them until they were hard and crunchy. Finally, to top them off, he added a generous heaping of salt. To Crum’s surprise, the dish ended up being a hit with the patron and a new snack was born.
Years later, Crum opened his own restaurant that had a basket of potato chips on every table. Though Crum never attempted to patent his invention, the snack was eventually mass-produced and sold in bags – providing thousands of jobs nationwide.
Read about George Crum: http://www.amazon.com/George-Crum-Saratoga-Gaylia-Taylor/dp/1600606563
Mountain trapper and innovative cook, my kind of guy. Thank you, George Crum, for the beauty of the potato chip.
Wow, who knew?
Unidentified man and woman, ca. 1900
Image courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History