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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

That damned tuition

What's Mallard raving about today?


In other news, waterfowl who enjoy complaining about education failed a basic grammar and punctuation test:
  • Declaring that students aren't math "whizzes" yet offering help to the reader because of this fact
  • Offering the reader an "answer" to a question which has not yet been posed
  • Use of the interrobang
  • Use of the four dot ellipse
I would have marked points off for misuse of the ellipse, however I am not sure what the rules of grammar are for the four dot ellipse.


factinista said...

You use the four-dot ellipse at the end of a sentence. The first dot's a period. You'd think with how much he uses it, he'd know it doesn't belong at the beginning of a sentence placed by itself.

Also, a search on the Washington Times' website showed nothing related to this rant. What a surprise.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

So what is Dim-Bulb Duckie's point? That colleges charge too much? That Americans are inherently stupid? That universities aren't using Liberal Fascism and Slander for textbooks?

Yo, Tinny: maybe if public education wasn't the first, next, and last thing to be slashed every time your lot bawls about taxes, college students might perform better on your fantasy test.

My high school American History teacher was no liberal, by the way. He began each class bitching about hippies (...Did you know the Peace Symbol is anti-Christian because it's a broken cross? DID YOU?), and ended each class with lamentations about how "Hanoi Jane" and the media lost the war for us. Valuable information indeed.

That was a couple of decades ago; the idea that things may have since become worse at my old school makes me want to scream and puke.

exanonymous said...

Take the test, Tinsley.

Wait, I bet you did. It wasn't easy, was it? It reminded me of my APUS history test to some degree.

I did a lot better than the average freshman or senior at 3am. How about you, Bruce?

I find the test decidedly picky and therefore the results decidedly misleading. Even if everything was taught to students in the desired manner that the test giver wanted, you could still give such a test to these people 1 year down the road and get the same result.

For me, some of it just clicked, but for others, I knew I learned it, but since it had little bearing on life and the question was not worded as I learned it, it didn't click. It also sorely tempts me to ask the guy who made the test things like the radius of earth and the distance in km from the sun and the speed of light. And then mock him when he doesn't know the basic facts of the planet and space we live in.


john said...

"(...Did you know the Peace Symbol is anti-Christian because it's a broken cross? DID YOU?)"

I had heard that, but I never really believed until I was stridently questioned about it in all capital letters. After all, if some guy I don't know from the internet says his high school teacher told him it was true, then it's got to be true! Because, as the old saying goes, you should always believe everything you read.

Kaitlyn said...


At first I thought he meant *high school seniors* scored higher on the test, proving that college makes you dumber.

(Soooo not true, if not for college, I never would have learned that barf won't kill a laptop. And, er, other stuff.)

I went to the test - thanks for finding it, Ex! - and it was such a formatting nightmare I ran away. The first question was broken up over two pages *and* you can't click on the answer.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

After all, if some guy I don't know from the internet says his high school teacher told him it was true, then it's got to be true!

Um...I can't tell if you took the Peace Symbol bit literally or not. Just to clarify: I was mocking the guy who said that at least three times a school week. (Of course I can't prove such anecdotal stuff; take it or leave it.)

john said...

"Because, as the old saying goes, you should always believe everything you read."

lol, I thought that this would have given me away as just being silly, but I guess you can never be sure on the internet, what with some of the people out there!

Michael said...

No wonder the student isn't doing well, with a pencil like that.

So what's Mallard's solution, anyway? He calls our students ignorant (which may or may not be true), but it would be nice if he offered an alternative to the "21,000 tuition bucks a point."

Mallard changes color in this one. I think there was an oil spill. He should be outraged, and demand that the government lift regulations so that the oil company can more efficiently police itself.

Anonymous said...

Billyknowitall: Oh yes, just spend even more money on the schools - that's the one true answer. Even though countries spending far less have far higher achievement scores. What a dim bulb.

dlauthor said...

Cowardly testicle-challenged anonymous poster alert! Everyone point and laugh!

Matt Ramone said...

Oh man, Tinzanonymous is back!

Kaitlyn said...

It's not just that schools need more money, which they do, it's that the money shouldn't go to SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS.

(Most of the "jocks" I knew in high school were great people, but still.)

We had announcements over the intercom and banners in the main hall when a football player got a full scholarship for some school.

I got a full scholarship because of my ACT score and GPA. I couldn't have been the only one. But there was no, "hey! You're getting money because you're smart" thing.

I probably said this last time Mallard quoted a story about how dumb teenagers were - hello, we're all wiseasses, and that test looked hard.

factinista said...

Yes, anonymous, just keep right on with the argumentum ad hominem. That'll DEFINITELY make us listen to you.

rewinn said...

Well, I took the text. Most questions require conformity to the Washington Times ideology, rather than actual knowledge.


"60. The Federal government's largest pay out over the past twenty years..."

Notice the word "pay out" instead of "Expense" or "expenditure".

Military affairs and interest on the debt are the largest expenditures, but social security is the largest pay out.

Some of the questions are mere trivia (did women get the right to vote before or after 1925?) but quite a few are push polls.

rewinn said...

Oh BTW the link may've been moved. Try this:
Moonie Times Ideology Poll

Kaitlyn said...

What is Mallard talking about WRT to the $21K a point? The scores have a 1.7% difference, which adds up to $35,700 spent on tuition - but for what time span? All four years? The first 3? The two in between frosh and senior?

Not that everyone graduates after four years, more signs of stupidity, I guess.

But this still makes no sense - what is he mad about? How stupid kids today are? How colleges don't teach anything?

Okay, he's done that before - but why the stuff about tuition? College is an expensive waste of time?

Something else is bothering me - this should have been done over 4-5 years - and the same people should have been tested at the "end" of their college education. (Nevermind grad school.) Not students at the same school.

exanonymous said...


Outperformed at the highschool and elementary school level. It doesn't apply to universities.

17 of the top 20 ranked international schools are in the US. 2 are in the UK, the 3rd is in Japan.

These international rankings were not conducted by the US, and that was the 2007 report.

But ofcourse! You hear one thing that's bandied about for primary school and naturally it must apply to secondary school as well.

Scroll the list, see for yourself what our crappy inferior education ranks at.

Maybe we should put more money into education. That's a real business oppurtunity sitting there.

exanonymous said...

I should add that if it's about money...

Europe does spend more money on secondary education to ensure that it is provided to as many people as possible regardless of socio-economic status as possible. It's a larger part of their taxes, instead of say... IRAQ.

Their gradschool programs for international students cost similar to that of the US for in-state applicants taking into account the exchange rate.

I suppose in a way that actually proves that spending less money has resulted in better programs, but not in the way imagined by Tinsley&co.

But investing more money into something seen as successful by the rest of the world is by no means a stupid investment.

ianrey said...

The thing is, that is a pretty advanced test of very specific knowledge. Some of the questions involve matching philosophers with their tenets, analyzing the macroeconomic effects of government investment in bonds.

Furthermore, not all college students would study this. Do you expect physics majors, or theater majors, to take upper level political science or philosophy classes?

Finally, it's not at all clear that a 50-55% grade on this exam is an F. People who get an 800 on the SAT are not considered to have "failed"; it's a normative test, and it's expected that the test results will form a bell curve, with most people getting a score near the middle. I would wager that the general population wouldn't fare any better than the college kids, that some of this esoteric knowledge wouldn't be likely to be known by more than half the populace, or more than 20% of Mallard Fillmore readers, excepting those who read it through this blog just to snark on it. Snark snark snark.

ianrey said...

One last thing I neglected to say was, Tinz refers to this as a test on "basic history and government", when it is clearly not that, and really doesn't even seem it was even intended to be that. Straw man much, Tinz?

(Answer: Yes, you do straw man much.)

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Everyone's already torn Anonymous' argument apart for me (shame on you--using real-life facts to destroy his Newsmax-based rhetoric!), but I'd like to further point out that there's a difference between "just keep spending more" and "just stop cutting every time."

Maybe if they hadn't kept slashing the budget at your school, you'd be capable of comprehending that, Anonymoron.

Idiots. You can't control 'em, you can only hope to contain 'em.
--Edward Bruce Tinsley