Monday, February 01, 2016

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness and Firing Bad Teachers Is Bad - Except When It Isn't - What I am reading 2/1/2015

NBER - Teacher Turnover, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in DCPS -
Employing a quasi-experimental design based on data from the first year years of IMPACT, we find that, on average, DCPS replaced teachers who left with teachers who increased student achievement by 0.08 SD in math. When we isolate the effects of lower-performing teachers who were induced to leave DCPS for poor performance, we find that student achievement improves by larger and statistically significant amounts
It's an abstract only, but from that snippet it appears that using statistical data to identify low-performing teachers and replace them may actually work.  Who would have guessed?  (Well Everybody, why do you think the teachers unions are so up in arms)

Ars Technica - An Equation That Debunks Conspiracy Theories -

For some, rejection of the human role in climate change reduces to a conspiracy: the world’s climate scientists are part of a socialist cabal falsifying research to justify energy regulations. Someone who has never met a climate scientist or looked closely at published studies can simply hold onto this idea rather than deal with the mountain of scientific evidence. Of course, it is patently ridiculous. The conspiracy would include an incredible number of scientists around the world, perfectly coordinating for decades, with nary a leak to give the game away—and that's before getting into all the socialists who would have to be involved.
In a recent paper, Oxford physicist and cancer researcher David Robert Grimes decided to try to create a mathematical measure for just how stupidly implausible that idea is—a sort of conspiracy probability equation. 
It takes an astonishingly short period of time for conspiracies to fall apart.

Dark Reading - Wendy's Could Become Test Case For New EMV Liability Rules -

If fast-food chain Wendy’s has suffered a data breach as reports this week suggest, the company could become a test case of how liability for such incidents is assessed in the midst of the ongoing migration of the US payments industry to the EMV smartcard standard.
Basically, new EMV smartcards issued in the US will continue to work on old magnetic stripe-based point of sale systems for some time, even though the October deadline has passed. But if a smartcard that is swiped at an old POS system gets compromised, it is the merchant that will be held responsible for costs associated with recalling and reissuing new cards.
Similarly, if a card that ends up getting compromised is not EMV-capable, the issuing bank will bear the costs of replacing the card.
I went thru the drive-thru at Wendy's a few days ago, they are still using the magnetic stripe readers.

Techdirt - French Politicians Pushing To Ban Linking To Any Website Without Permission -

Apparently two French Parliament Members are on a mission to ban linking to websites, unless you first have permission.
But it's really yet another attempt at punishing Google. Similar to efforts in Germany, Spain and even the European Parliament, very, very shortsighted Google haters think that a way to "punish" Google is to make it pay money to sites that it links to (mainly when it comes to news aggregation). 

 Just remember this the next time someone starts telling you how enlightened Europeans are and how stupid Americans are.

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