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(Wall Street Journal)   Math, science popular until students realize they're hard   (blogs.wsj.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, University of Western Ontario, liberal arts colleges, social sciences, Berea College, GPA  
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4750 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2013 at 7:55 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



129 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2013-07-10 07:57:49 AM  
Just put on some nerdy glasses and you'll do fine!
 
2013-07-10 07:58:22 AM  
early science and math education is key to success in a collegiate environment? you don't say!
 
2013-07-10 07:58:23 AM  
You can always hold one of those giant math or science books in front of your crotch, if you're worried.
 
2013-07-10 07:58:27 AM  
Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.
 
2013-07-10 08:01:00 AM  
All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off. Yes, math is important. Yes, science needs some math. But these science programs go way overboard with the amount of math they try to cram into every nook and cranny of the subject.

Compare Sloan to Wharton. Sloan's curriculum is chock full of math while Wharton's is more focused on the implementation and strategy of business. Sloan produces some really great quants, but Wharton produces entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Math is important, but it's not so important as to drown out the actual things being studied. That's the main problem with most science curricula in today's universities.
 
2013-07-10 08:01:19 AM  
surveyed 655 students entering Berea College, a private liberal arts college located in Kentucky


I'm not saying that's a small sample size in hillbilly town, but that's a small sample size in hillbilly town.
 
2013-07-10 08:01:30 AM  
lim     science and engineering = business
gpa->0


And then those business majors will eventually think that somehow they understand science better actual scientists.
 
2013-07-10 08:04:59 AM  
Most of my college science courses were titled "____________ for Educators." That didn't stop me from becoming a software engineer. Coding is closer to language affinity than it is to hard science. OK, logic helps. But the fact is that you don't "have" to go through the BS grind to acquire the skills necessary to perform.
 
2013-07-10 08:05:13 AM  
What's wrong with something being hard?

/that means two things
 
2013-07-10 08:05:45 AM  
Of course they are hard, that's why for my new team company, I just signed a $2.3 million signing bonus, $500K reporting to work on time bonus. $6.7 million/year for a 5 year contract.
 
2013-07-10 08:05:58 AM  

The_Original_Roxtar: early science and math education is key to success in a collegiate environment? you don't say!


I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.

Student A :  This is hard, I will have to work harder and bust my balls
Student B : This is hard, maybe I will manage in Cinema History.

15 years later

Student A : The project is on schedule, looks like I will be getting a bonus.
Student B : Would you like cream and sugar in that? Don't forget to tip, I am still paying my student loans!
 
2013-07-10 08:07:58 AM  
If at first you don't succeed quit and go straight for the art history degree. You can't let homework interfere with your boozing and cruising. Most companies provide on the job training. Like how to say, "Want fries with that?"
 
2013-07-10 08:09:25 AM  
My roommate in first year was in Engineering.  I would wake up and he would be studying.  I would come back from hanging out with the guys in the evening to find him studying.  In second year he switched to business like me.

redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.


Psychology?
 
2013-07-10 08:13:42 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Compare Sloan to Wharton. Sloan's curriculum is chock full of math while Wharton's is more focused on the implementation and strategy of business. Sloan produces some really great quants, but Wharton produces entrepreneurs and CEOs.


So that's why Supply Side bullshiat never goes away.
 
2013-07-10 08:14:32 AM  
I learned math and science and didn't even.go.to.college. so Muah. Also, screw the wsj
 
2013-07-10 08:14:54 AM  
some people have no comitment
 
2013-07-10 08:15:35 AM  
I always found writing harder, or at least good writing.  At least with math there are definite correct answers to work towards*.

*may not apply to PhD Math type Math.  I only took grubby utilitarian engineering math.
 
2013-07-10 08:17:24 AM  
Or that they can deny both because Jesus.
 
2013-07-10 08:17:30 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off.


Uh, what? The phrase "using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off" is giving me problems. Care to explain?
 
2013-07-10 08:20:14 AM  

you have pee hands: I always found writing harder, or at least good writing.  At least with math there are definite correct answers to work towards*.

*may not apply to PhD Math type Math.  I only took grubby utilitarian engineering math.


There are definite, correct answers in writing.
 
2013-07-10 08:20:48 AM  
2000-2001? WTF? I got my first cell phone in 2001.

Old research is old.
 
2013-07-10 08:21:25 AM  
Math and science wouldn't be so hard if you weren't so stupid.
 
2013-07-10 08:21:35 AM  
Many people don't appreciate the everyday usefulness of advanced math. I used calculus and geometry on my taxes this year, and the IRS decided to do my taxes for me. Not just this year, but the seven previous years as well! Who needs H&R Block?
 
2013-07-10 08:22:18 AM  

redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.


BS and BA in what?
 
2013-07-10 08:22:59 AM  
The fact is that the actual knowledge isn't any more difficult once you actually understand it than underwater basket weaving.  The classes are hard because we like them hard.  Wouldn't actually want more people passing.
 
2013-07-10 08:23:01 AM  
I've got an MBA with a concentration in Finance.  People always wonder why my IT projects are approved instead of theirs.
 
2013-07-10 08:23:35 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off. Yes, math is important. Yes, science needs some math. But these science programs go way overboard with the amount of math they try to cram into every nook and cranny of the subject.

Compare Sloan to Wharton. Sloan's curriculum is chock full of math while Wharton's is more focused on the implementation and strategy of business. Sloan produces some really great quants, but Wharton produces entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Math is important, but it's not so important as to drown out the actual things being studied. That's the main problem with most science curricula in today's universities.


The troll so troll it is not a troll.
 
2013-07-10 08:24:36 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Math is important, but it's not so important as to drown out the actual things being studied. That's the main problem with most science curricula in today's universities.


When you get to the theoretical details it is ALL math.  Physics is not your high school experiment sticking toothpicks into gumdrops to make a cage around an egg that you can drop off the roof without breaking.  Yes, you can get the general gist of it by browsing through the science section at the bookstore, but without the math you will have zero practical working knowledge.

That's the main problem with general American populace.  "This is too hard and makes me feel stupid, so I'm just going to quit and do something easier."  Yeah, have fun flipping those burgers with that awesome business degree.
 
2013-07-10 08:24:57 AM  

Nurglitch: AverageAmericanGuy: All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off.

Uh, what? The phrase "using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off" is giving me problems. Care to explain?


Like when your douche-bag professor only uses his own book to teach from. Meaning you have to buy his crappy, indecipherable book. Which is meant for someone studying statistics on a higher level, and not just some biology student who needs to know what make-up statistics to smear over ridicolously low samples-sizes.
And don't get me started on his black turtlenecks!
 
2013-07-10 08:27:09 AM  

SpectroBoy: The_Original_Roxtar: early science and math education is key to success in a collegiate environment? you don't say!

I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.

Student A :  This is hard, I will have to work harder and bust my balls
Student B : This is hard, maybe I will manage in Cinema History.

15 years later

Student A : The project is on schedule, looks like I will be getting a bonus.
Student B : Would you like cream and sugar in that? Don't forget to tip, I am still paying my student loans!


If only. The more likely 15 years later scenario:

Student A: The project is on schedule, looks like I will be getting a bonus.
Student B: "Student A, I've got some new requirements for that project. They're small, shouldn't affect the deadline. Make sure you've got the results on my desk by the end of day Friday or I'm going to have to ask you to come in on Saturday."
 
2013-07-10 08:27:14 AM  

JasonOfOrillia: My roommate in first year was in Engineering.  I would wake up and he would be studying.  I would come back from hanging out with the guys in the evening to find him studying.  In second year he switched to business like me.

redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

Psychology?


I earned a BA in Psychology, took two semesters of calculus and took three science courses with a lab. (Four, but only three were required). I also took 15 hours of statistics, but only 6 were required.

College graduates should have even better exposure to math, statistics, and the sciences than I did. The humanities are excellent, really, but they are not the sum total of an education.
 
2013-07-10 08:27:58 AM  

phamwaa: Most of my college science courses were titled "____________ for Educators." That didn't stop me from becoming a software engineer. Coding is closer to language affinity than it is to hard science. OK, logic helps. But the fact is that you don't "have" to go through the BS grind to acquire the skills necessary to perform.


On technicality if one has the aptitude, you don't have to go through a B in any farking thing to learn something.

On most levels, college is nothing more than a class separation to prevent the masses from upward mobility. Most professions could be taught like trades and this includes many in the science field, despite what graduates would have you think. Healthcare is the worst about this class system with doctors still having the ancient practice of residency requirements when the fact of the matter is that most nurse practitioners who have no requirement like this and are trade like a trade skill can out doctor half the farking general practitioners out there.

Our out dated thinking that high skill positions require college is ancient and needs a complete over haul.
 
2013-07-10 08:27:59 AM  

phamwaa: Most of my college science courses were titled "____________ for Educators." That didn't stop me from becoming a software engineer. Coding is closer to language affinity than it is to hard science. OK, logic helps. But the fact is that you don't "have" to go through the BS grind to acquire the skills necessary to perform.


Um, I don't get your point.  Science-for-educators courses sound like a good way to get a non-major's understanding of some basic natural sciences.  You then went on to work in a field not directly related to any of the natural sciences--unless the software you write is specifically to one the natural sciences, in which case it might be a good idea to take at least a few undergraduate courses in that subject.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-07-10 08:28:12 AM  
Looking at other undergrad homework, three stood out as hard.

1. Chemical engineering, because it's nasty thermo plus fluid dynamics.

2. Macroeconomics, because I didn't have any clue what the answer might be. (Macroeconomics is the kind people make jokes about, taxes and government spending and interest rates and such.)

3. Advanced math (number theory and the like, not math for engineers, which I took).

The rest of the science and engineering subjects I either understood or thought I could understand if I studied.  Show me a diagram of a cell with labeled blobs and I could read up on the blobs. But I don't think right to do theoretical mathematics.
 
2013-07-10 08:28:58 AM  

SpectroBoy:

I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.

Student A :  This is hard, I will have to work harder and bust my balls
Student B : This is hard, maybe I will manage in Cinema History.



OscarTamerz: If at first you don't succeed quit and go straight for the art history degree. You can't let homework interfere with your boozing and cruising.


Uhuh.

The survey results also showed that the students who dropped out didn't do so because they discovered an unexpected amount of the work. In fact, students who expressed interest initially anticipated more work than other majors.
 
2013-07-10 08:29:03 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off.t.

science is applied math in essence and logic is math so if  my logic is correct your statement makes no sense

 
2013-07-10 08:30:15 AM  

Public Savant: Nurglitch: AverageAmericanGuy: All the emphasis on the nitty gritty details of each equation and the proving of theorems using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off.

Uh, what? The phrase "using math rather than logic make science a huge turn off" is giving me problems. Care to explain?

Like when your douche-bag professor only uses his own book to teach from. Meaning you have to buy his crappy, indecipherable book. Which is meant for someone studying statistics on a higher level, and not just some biology student who needs to know what make-up statistics to smear over ridicolously low samples-sizes.
And don't get me started on his black turtlenecks!


Wait I want to hear more about the turtlenecks.
 
2013-07-10 08:30:42 AM  

miscreant: SpectroBoy: The_Original_Roxtar: early science and math education is key to success in a collegiate environment? you don't say!

I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.

Student A :  This is hard, I will have to work harder and bust my balls
Student B : This is hard, maybe I will manage in Cinema History.

15 years later

Student A : The project is on schedule, looks like I will be getting a bonus.
Student B : Would you like cream and sugar in that? Don't forget to tip, I am still paying my student loans!

If only. The more likely 15 years later scenario:

Student A: The project is on schedule, looks like I will be getting a bonus.
Student B: "Student A, I've got some new requirements for that project. They're small, shouldn't affect the deadline. Make sure you've got the results on my desk by the end of day Friday or I'm going to have to ask you to come in on Saturday."


so true
 
2013-07-10 08:31:17 AM  

IdBeCrazyIf: Our out dated thinking that high skill positions require college is ancient and needs a complete over haul.


We have more people who want nice jobs than there are nice jobs. Credentials serve make job selection for those hiring easier - sometimes, future workers even learn something along the way.

What's the problem?
 
2013-07-10 08:31:59 AM  

Ilmarinen: SpectroBoy:

I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.

Student A :  This is hard, I will have to work harder and bust my balls
Student B : This is hard, maybe I will manage in Cinema History.


OscarTamerz: If at first you don't succeed quit and go straight for the art history degree. You can't let homework interfere with your boozing and cruising.

Uhuh.

The survey results also showed that the students who dropped out didn't do so because they discovered an unexpected amount of the work. In fact, students who expressed interest initially anticipated more work than other majors.


You should have kept reading. Was it too hard?
 
2013-07-10 08:32:42 AM  

ph0rk: We have more people who want nice jobs than there are nice jobs. Credentials serve make job selection for those hiring easier - sometimes, future workers even learn something along the way.

What's the problem?


I am not saying get rid of credentials, what I am saying is that the forced education requirement of 4 to 8 years when really it could be done in 2 to 3 years is idiotic especially when we constantly complain of the cost of said education.
 
2013-07-10 08:33:07 AM  

JasonOfOrillia: redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

Psychology?


flondrix: redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

BS and BA in what?


BS in Informatics (more or less Info systems) and BA in German

Maybe I'm fudging it a little bit and excluding programming and databases from a substantive science class, but I was under the impression the article was referencing the physical sciences.
 
2013-07-10 08:34:30 AM  

ph0rk: JasonOfOrillia: My roommate in first year was in Engineering.  I would wake up and he would be studying.  I would come back from hanging out with the guys in the evening to find him studying.  In second year he switched to business like me.

redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

Psychology?

I earned a BA in Psychology, took two semesters of calculus and took three science courses with a lab. (Four, but only three were required). I also took 15 hours of statistics, but only 6 were required.

College graduates should have even better exposure to math, statistics, and the sciences than I did. The humanities are excellent, really, but they are not the sum total of an education.


Try switching from psychology in undergrad to neuropharmacology in grad school. Was not prepared for the real sciences and definitely had a mini melt down early in the first semester.
 
2013-07-10 08:35:15 AM  

SpectroBoy: I think being willing to muscle through hard classes is probably the REAL key here.


An ounce of understanding can make a pound of hard work, uh, less hard.  Or at the very least, less soul-crushing.
An exposure to chemistry, biology, or geology at the primary school level, taught by a good teacher, could make all the difference in the world when tossed into a college course to sink or swim.
 
2013-07-10 08:36:27 AM  
FTFA: The students switched out because they were dissatisfied with their grades. "Students knew science was hard to begin with, but for a lot of them it turned out to be much worse than what they expected," said Todd R. Stinebrickner, one of the paper's authors. "What they didn't expect is that even if they work hard, they still won't do well."

Something they need to realize that engineering degree with a 2.5 GPA will take you further than a lot of "easier" degrees with a 4.0 GPA. After your first year on the job your GPA will not even matter. Also the real hard stuff that brought your grades down are stuff you usually never encounter, and you usually migrate to a job where you specialize in the parts that you were good at.  Also employers respect the "C" student who clawed their way through without quitting or moving on to something easier in order to pad their GPA.
 
2013-07-10 08:36:30 AM  

redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.


Congratulations on your ignorance?
 
2013-07-10 08:37:02 AM  

Monkeyhouse Zendo: redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

Congratulations on your ignorance?


Here's an internet dollar. Let the adults finish talking.
 
2013-07-10 08:39:24 AM  

redmid17: JasonOfOrillia: redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

Psychology?

flondrix: redmid17: Somehow I managed to earn a BS and a BA without having to take calculus or a substantive science class. I'm okay with this.

BS and BA in what?

BS in Informatics (more or less Info systems) and BA in German

Maybe I'm fudging it a little bit and excluding programming and databases from a substantive science class, but I was under the impression the article was referencing the physical sciences.


I agree that in your case, a statistics course would be a lot more useful than a calculus course would have been.
Any BA/BS program that does not include calculus should include statistics.
 
2013-07-10 08:40:20 AM  
People at a small liberal arts school in Western Kentucky aren't good at math or science? What a surprise!

Really though, pure undergraduate majors in math and the hard sciences have roughly the same earning potential as someone who took the 'easy' path through the business school. The money in those degrees comes from having a Master's or Doctorate followed by lifelong careers in academia doing research and instructing, none of which you'll be able to do if you find out that you suck during undergrad. And even then, careers as a doctor or in engineering will still pay better (which is why most of the people who are good at math and science pursue engineering degrees).
 
2013-07-10 08:40:39 AM  
Math, Science popular until students realize none of their professors are fluent in English.
 
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