"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Thou Shall Not Compare"

Sadly, we do. There are tons of advice out there even on posts on Facebook yet these words of wisdom are heard or read, but are not often practiced. Take for example, "Do not underestimate yourself by comparing yourself with others. It's our differences that make us unique and beautiful."

Above copied from Board of Wisdom

Apparently, there is even one quote from Hitler:

Above copied from GoodReads

Everyone wants to know how one is doing. Unfortunately, stand-alone benchmarks are frequently not available. Thus, we resort to comparing ourselves against others. Comparison seems unavoidable and inside classrooms, students do compare their own academic accomplishments with those of their classmates. Consequently, there is now a well established "Big Fish - Little Pond" effect (BFLPE).

Above copied from Educational Psychology Review

Closely examining PISA scores, Marsh has stumbled at another factor that affects academic self-concept: Relative Year in School Effect (RYiSE). In an article scheduled to be published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Marsh suggests "calling into question any simplistic conclusions that acceleration is “good” and retention is “bad.”" RYiSE affects academic performance through a student's self-concept as described in Marsh' figure below:

Above figure copied from
Marsh, H. W. (2015, July 20). Cross-Cultural Generalizability of Year in School Effects: Negative Effects of Acceleration and Positive Effects of Retention on Academic Self-Concept. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000059





What specifically caught my attention in this new paper is the following section:

Above figure copied from 
Marsh, H. W. (2015, July 20). Cross-Cultural Generalizability of Year in School Effects: Negative Effects of Acceleration and Positive Effects of Retention on Academic Self-Concept. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000059

The above strategies do sound promising. Sadly, as we are about to see from an upcoming publication from Marsh, there is no evidence out there that these actually work. Perhaps, this is one reason why in Finland, there are simply no yearly tests and grade reports.








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