Archive for February 27th, 2013

February 27, 2013

Quick Links – Why women talk more than men; only 1 in 5 passed AP tests; most think accuracy in textbooks is secondary to political correctness

by Grace

◊◊◊  Why Women Talk More Than Men: Language Protein Uncovered (Science World Report)

You know all the times that men complain about women talking too much? Apparently there’s a biological explanation for the reason why women are chattier than men. Scientists have discovered that women possess higher levels of a “language protein” in their brains, which could explain why females are so talkative.

Previous research has shown that women talk almost three times as much as men. In fact, an average woman notches up 20,000 words in a day, which is about 13,000 more than the average man. In addition, women generally speak more quickly and devote more brainpower to speaking. Yet before now, researchers haven’t been able to biologically explain why this is the case.

Now, they can. New findings conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published in The Journal of Neuroscience show that a certain protein may be the culprit.

◊◊◊  1 in 5 Passed Advanced Placement Tests (New York Times)

Nearly a third of the nation’s 2012 public high school graduates took at least one of the College Board’s Advanced Placement tests, according to the program’s annual report on Wednesday. Nearly one in five got a passing score — three or more, out of five — on one of the 34 subject exams. Last year was the first time in a decade that the average exam score increased from the previous year. The share of students earning at least a 3 also rose for the first time in that period, and the 14.2 percent earning a top score of five was also the highest in the decade.

This is not good news.  Schools are using precious resources to teach classes where only 20% of students get passing grades.  Apparently the course work is too demanding (or instruction is inadequate) for 80% of these students.  The other side to this argument is that it is a good thing to expose more students to the rigorous AP curriculum.

CORRECTION:  I misinterpreted the AP test article, which actually reports that 1 in 5 of all high school students (not just those who took the AP tests) got a passing score.  Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out!

◊◊◊  59% Think Most School Textbooks Put Political Correctness Ahead of Accuracy

Voters continue to believe that political correctness trumps accuracy in most school textbooks. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 16% of Likely U.S. Voters think most school textbooks are more concerned about accurately providing information. That’s down from 27% in March 2010. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think most textbooks are chiefly concerned with presenting information in a politically correct manner, consistent with attitudes for the past three years. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Count me among that 59%.

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