Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

I Think You Can == Good Pedagogy

Via Slashdot,

A huge study at Indiana University, led by Elizabeth Canning, finds that the attitudes of instructors affect the grades their students earned in classes. [Note: Link didn’t work for me, article may not be generally available yet.] The researchers conducted their study by sending out a simple survey to all the instructors of STEM courses at Indiana University, asking whether professors felt that a student’s intelligence is fixed and unchanging or whether they thought it could be developed. Then, the researchers were given access to two years’ worth of students’ grades in those instructors’ classes, covering a total of 15,000 students.

Via Ars Technica:

The results showed a surprising difference between the professors who agreed that intelligence is fixed and those who disagreed (referred to as “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” professors). In classes taught by fixed mindset instructors, Latino, African-American, and Native American students averaged grades 0.19 grade points (out of four) lower than white and Asian-American students. But in classes taught by “growth mindset” instructors, the gap dropped to just 0.10 grade points. No other factor the researchers analyzed showed a statistically significant difference among classes — not the instructors’ experience, tenure status, gender, specific department, or even ethnicity. Yet their belief about whether a students’ intelligence is fixed seems to have had a sizable effect.

The students’ course evaluations contain possible clues. Students reported less “motivation to do their best work” in the classes taught by fixed mindset professors, and they also gave lower ratings for a question about whether their professor “emphasize[d] learning and development.” Students were less likely to say they’d recommend the professor to others, as well. Is it possible that the fixed mindset professors just happen to teach the hardest classes? The student evaluations also include a question about how much time the course required — the average answer was slightly higher for fixed mindset professors, but the difference was not statistically significant. Instead, the researchers think the data suggests that — in any number of small ways — instructors who think their students’ intelligence is fixed don’t keep their students as motivated, and perhaps don’t focus as much on teaching techniques that can encourage growth. And while this affects all students, it seems to have an extra impact on underrepresented minority students.

I wonder how this applies in law schools?

Posted in Law School | Leave a comment

More Later

I’m really busy, so this is just a tease, and device to force me to write more later.

1730s-1740s
1790s-1840s/50s
1850s-1900s
c. 1966-c. 1974

Most people probably don’t know what those dates signify. In a future post or posts I will have two things to say about them. One is utterly unoriginal, but quite important, and concerns the gap between the first line and the second. The second is utterly speculative, and concerns a fifth line in the sequence above.

Back to work.

Posted in Politics: US | Leave a comment

Useful Blog: The Vetting Room

I’ve just discovered The Vetting Room, which looks like a very useful blog offering short descriptions of the qualifications of, and potential controversies about, nominees to the federal judiciary.

Or, as they put it,

The Vetting Room is a legal blog dedicated to discussing, examining, and analyzing judicial nominations.  Specifically, we research the records of President Trump’s judicial nominees, condense the important issues, and present it for public use.  All of our investigations are conducted by volunteer attorneys who are committed to an independent and thorough review.  Our posts are the product of multiple rounds of research and editing, and sometimes include the contributions of multiple attorneys.

The Vetting Room is not formally affiliated with any partisan or nonpartisan groups, and maintains the primary goal of improving public engagement with the federal judicial confirmation process.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Politics: US | Leave a comment

Real or Onion?

Guess before clicking.

Florida School Hires 2 Former Combat Veterans to Take Down Active Shooters

I guessed wrong.  It really is getting harder to tell.

Posted in Onion/Not-Onion | Leave a comment

Panic Stations

Level of CO2 in the atmosphere: 413.69ppm

12 months ago: 407ppm

250 years ago, est: 250ppm

Posted in Global Warming | Leave a comment

Short Notes

I’ve been busy, so some short notes of things I wish I had time to write full posts about:

  • We’ve got some terrific speakers at We Robot 2019, and are assembling a powerhouse set of discussants to go with them.  See the preliminary We Robot program, and the preliminary pre-conference Workshop program, and register now!  I’ll post the whole program here when it’s more final. And remember – it’s time to pitch a poster, which gets you in free.
  • The Gables Stage production of Indecent is first-rate.  Great play, great production.  You see it coming and it’s still harrowing.  It closes in a couple of weeks, but they’ve added some performances recently so there are still tickets.  I’ve been a season ticket holder for many years, and this is as good as anything they’ve done.
  • Depending on what rules the AIs used, this looks like it might be an important paper to more than one field: Emilio Calvano, Giacomo Calzolari, Vincenzo Denicolò, Sergio Pastorello, Artificial intelligence, algorithmic pricing, and collusion, VOX (Feb. 03, 2019).  I found the link to the the summary of the summary on Naked Capitalism. I’ve asked my library to get the paper for me.  The claim is that,

     [W]e experiment with pricing algorithms powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in controlled environments (computer simulations), studying the interaction among a number of Q-learning algorithms in a workhorse oligopoly model of price competition with Logit demand and constant marginal costs. In this setting the algorithms consistently learn to charge supra-competitive prices, without communicating with one another. The high prices are sustained by classical collusive strategies with a finite phase of punishment followed by a gradual return to cooperation. This finding is robust to asymmetries in cost or demand and to changes in the number of players.

  • Some USB device on my desktop computer is causing crashes after (or when?) it boots up automatically in the morning.  Of course the Windows 7 (deprecation coming soon…) error messages don’t tell you which.  Never happens when I start it up manually or am using it.
Posted in Linkorama | Leave a comment