Why Quality in Basic Education Is Important
|Above copied from GMA News Online|
|Above copied from Antonio Contreras' Facebook page|
7:47 pm - McCain's up by 15 in Virginia, with 6 percent reporting, mostly from southern rural counties.
8:06 pm - King's looking at Virginia. A lot of red. McCain's up by 13, with 19 percent reporting.
8:33 pm - Virginia seems to be tightening somewhat. McCain's lead has been reduced to 11, with 37 percent reporting.
10:39 pm - Obama has pulled ahead in Virginia. With 90 percent reporting, he's up 51-49.The above reversal is expected because election returns are not really transmitted randomly. In the state of Virginia, the northeast region always lags the rest of the state in transmitting results. Northern Virginia is heavily democratic.
The situation in the Philippines is in fact very similar to what happens in Virginia. Instead of plotting the actual lead held by a candidate as election returns are processed, one should look at the lead in terms of percentage of the votes processed, similar to the blogging illustrated above. Using the graph displayed by Contreras, the data can be presented in the following fashion.
With the above graph, it becomes clear that like McCain in Virginia's presidential election, Marcos starts with the lead but actually loses this lead in a monotonic fashion as votes are processed. Votes transmitted early are from regions in the Philippines that are known to be very supportive of Marcos. The data support this explanation as shown by Reina Reyes:
|The above are snapshots of VP Election Results (May 9-10, 2016)|
Is the above explanation enough to sway those who would prefer to believe in a conspiracy? Probably, not.
Confirmation bias is extremely challenging for educators. The challenge starts even in the early years of education. Children do not really enter schools with fully open minds. I am reminded of this paper published in The Arithmetic Teacher, "Do You Think You Might Be Wrong? Confirmation Bias in Problem Solving" by James E. Johnson where a lesson is nicely illustrated on how to help students confront confirmation bias. It is a simple lesson where students are supposed to determine a rule being used by a teacher with regard to three numbers. Students are asked to give three numbers and the teacher responds by stating whether the set of numbers conforms to the rule the teacher had in mind or not.
Here is a sample sequence provided by Johnson that demonstrates how a student may be thinking as he or she tries to discover the hidden rule of the teacher:
The sequence above shows that the line of thinking involves designing a trial that proves a hypothesis. It is perhaps seldom that we devise an experiment with the intention of disproving what we believe. By the way, in this example, the teacher's hidden rule is that the three numbers are simply arranged according to magnitude, from lowest to highest.
Science and mathematics are difficult disciplines because these really require that we confront our confirmation bias. Educating more scientists probably does not help if basic education remains poor in educating the public regarding what science and mathematics really are. For this reason, quality in basic education is very important.
On a side note, we also need open minds so that we do not miss the obvious. If there is indeed something wrong with Philippine elections, perhaps it is just there staring at us. In a country that aims to be governed by a majority, it is disconcerting that not one of the senatorial candidates needs a majority to win a seat in the senate.
|Above copied from GMA News Online|