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Comment Commentor says it all (Score 1) 629

From the comments section of the LA Times site linked in the OP:

Gerald Grow

Deriving teacher rankings from student test scores involves use of a complicated statistical methodology that has many critics. This controversial statistical method is the hidden link in discussions of teacher quality, and that methodology itself needs to be the subject of an investigative series. There is no straightforward way to use student test scores to measure a teacher's effectiveness. Far too many other factors intervene.

The original and probably most widely used value-added methodology is proprietary -- meaning you have to pay to use it, and its methods are secret. This methodology has been widely sold to decision-makers as if it were not controversial.

Which methodology did the LATimes use? Have they discussed it with statisticians who have doubts about whether so many multiple regressions can produce a meaningful result?

I worry that the effort to tie teacher performance to student test scores will result in huge sums being diverted from the classroom and spent on more standardized tests, given to more students, in more grades, and to the cost of analyzing these and improving those scores.

Please follow up with experts who can analyze whether this approach to eduction reform can ever become cost-effective, or whether it will always divert more funds away from schools than the value of the results it produces.

Schools arrived at this externally imposed method of evaluation because they failed to initiate ways to prove that they produce results that are worth what they cost. Too bad. A great opportunity was missed there for bottom-up improvement.

Comment Make it count (Score 1) 325

I did three IT internships at the turn of the century; one for a family member's business in the Midwest, and two in Silicon Valley - the first for a big red-logo'd company, and the second for a Big Blue one. Admittedly, the most valuable parts of the experiences were the knowledge learned, and the networking connections I was able to make (the third internship was a direct result of a contact made at the previous one, and was originally offered as a full-time position). That being said, I must echo the general surprise and commentary that your pay rate seems remarkably low considering your certification status and that you will be at a "major" laptop manufacturer. Is the staffing company taking a portion of your pay for their "service"?

In my experience, the advice I'm about to give is applicable not only to IT, but to most professions:

Firstly, know what you are worth and expect as much. That's not to say that you should be arrogant and make salary demands, but do you honestly feel that the work you'll be doing is worth $8 /hr? If not, perhaps you should look into the college credit option mentioned by Stuckey above, or look elsewhere for an opportunity that will pay you not only in experience, but in dollars (or your local currency). Your college/university should have a Career Office or somesuch that will have leads and contacts to help you find an internship without having to go through a staffing company.

Secondly, never stop learning. Read books. Build relationships with those who know more than you, and ask questions. Don't be afraid to spend some (but not all) of your free time furthering your knowledge about something you love.

But most of all, just make it count. Ensure that whatever you get paid, and whatever projects/tasks you work on will help you take the next steps on your career path. The whole point of an internship is that it should benefit YOU the most - not so that ABC Company can get cheap labor.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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