The Most Important Factor in a College Student’s Success
Fascinating findings from McKinsey’s managing director, Dom Barton:
The new analysis found that “mind-set”—a student’s sense of social belonging or grit, for example—is a stronger predictor of whether a student is likely to graduate than previously believed. So powerful, in fact, that it counts even more than external factors like standardized tests scores, income levels and whether the student’s parents are college graduates.
Why we fall for bogus academic research
Even when you have a larger sample, however, the groups are not going to match the average of the whole population every time; by blind luck, sometimes the group will be exceptionally tall, sometimes exceptionally short. Statisticians understand this. But journal editors and journalists do not necessarily exercise appropriate caution. That’s not because journal editors are dumb and don’t get statistics, but because scientific journals are looking for novel and interesting results, not “We did a study and look, we found exactly what you’d have expected before you’d plowed through our four pages of analysis.” This “publication bias” means that journals are basically selecting for outliers. In other words, they are in the business of publishing papers that, for no failure of method but simply from sheer dumb luck, happened to get an unusual sample. They are going to select for those papers more than they should – especially in fields that study humans, who are expensive and reluctant to sit still for your experiment, rather than something like bacteria, which can be studied in numbers ending in lots of zeroes.
The sell-outs and the self-righteous
I don’t agree with all of this article, but there are some really good bits on the constant criticism directed towards wannabe bankers and consultants.