Monday, May 24, 2010

Numbers out of Context

Journalists are always finding new ways to cite numbers out of context. This article from the St. Pete Times explains that:
At the University of Florida, a score of 3 out of 5 in art history could earn a student three college credits, while a score of 4 or 5 could bring six college credits. . . . But an incoming Harvard student must earn a score of 5 out of 5 to get any college credit at all. Even that only awards the student a half to one full credit, depending on the subject.
This conveys two main ideas: (1) Florida has low standards, at least relative to Harvard and (2) Florida hands out a ton of credit for AP tests. But is the 3-6 credits vs. 0.5-1 credit giving an accurate impression of the difference?

No. 3 credits is one class's worth, 6 credits is 2 classes. The average UF student probably earns 11-14 credits per semester. Harvard's credits on the other hand are, I believe, 1 per course. But, more importantly, I believe Harvard only uses AP classes for "Advanced Standing," in their horrible convoluted set of requirements. Those Harvard credits aren't the same kinds of credits the UF students get.

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