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Showing posts from June, 2009

Switching Back to Kubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"

About a week ago I replaced my well-worn installation of Kubntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" with the sleeker, newer, Kubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope." I hadn't made the jump to Kubuntu 8.10, the first to include KDE 4, because there were plenty of reports about bugs and incomplete features. After waiting through another release cycle, I figured it was time to stop falling behind the tech curve and upgrade. Surely I had been missing something.

Instead of finding a bunch of new indispensable features and conveniences, I'm afraid KDE 4.2 is still not ready for my desktop. My biggest gripe? File management. It's not so much a debate between Konqueror and Dolphin, but frankly neither are doing what I want them to do. In KDE 3, I could hover over the icon of a picture, and a pop-up would give me all sorts of good information: date, owner, filesize, image dimensions, and a little bit of EXIF data. Neither Konqueror or Dolphin do that now, although I've read t…

The Myth of the Slipping Math Student?

I've been teaching in Colorado for six years, and there's always been a troubling pattern in our state standardized math scores. As students progress from 3rd to 10th grade, the percentage that score proficient and advanced declines dramatically. Here are the percentages of students scoring proficient and advanced by grade level, averaged over all the years the test has been given (typically 2002-2008):

GradeAvg. % P+A

The easiest explanation (and the one I've tended to believe) is that students' abilities are, in fact, slipping as they got older. That would be a good assumption if the test at each grade level was equally difficult. But what if the test questions were, on average (and adjusted for grade level), more difficult as students got older? Is it fair to assume a test with increasingly difficult questions would result in lower scores, even with sophisticated score scaling systems that take question difficulty into account?

Fortunately, th…