[FoRK] Re: [3%] 20-year grade inflation stat

Corinna corinna.schultz at gmail.com
Sun Jan 15 07:41:56 PST 2006

"Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote in message
>There have been a number of papers about realism vs. optimism. Optimism is 
>less realistic but often being realistic is less important than an 
>improvement in performance. In other words, it doesn't matter that you 
>thought you would do 10 rather than expecting 1 if you tend to get 3 rather 
>than 2 as a result.

I have read that male freshmen computer science students have a 
higher-than-warranted estimate of their abilities, and female cs students 
have a lower-than-warranted estimate.  More females drop out of cs than 
males do.  Thus, you have more males succeeding.

Now, of course there's more to the issue, but certainly one's view of 
oneself definitely does factor in to the question of success.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather have a realistic view of myself so that 
I'd know exactly where I stood and exactly what I needed to do to increase 
my skill, and so I'd have realistic (attainable) goals. For me, confidence 
problems ensue when I *don't* know if my estimates of myself are realistic. 
And knowing that grades are inflated makes me feel as though my grades don't 
really tell me anything about how good I am. So grade inflation increases 
(or at least doesn't decrease) my anxiety about whether I'm good enough.  So 
then I'm left in the position of effectively saying, it doesn't matter what 
other people think, it only matters if I'm living up to my own standards --  
which is good in a way, but leaves me divorced from the reality out in the 
real world.  Maybe among mediocre people I'm really, really good, but among 
"hackers" I'm pretty pathetic? I don't know...   I'm currently working with 
"mediocre people", and I seem to be pretty good in comparison... :)


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