the overrated undergrad degree, foggy autumn, your lying e-mail

America’s Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor’s Degree

* I have a hard time telling such people the killer statistic: Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and a half years later.

* Such students are not aberrations. Today, amazingly, a majority of the students whom colleges admit are grossly underprepared. Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading, and science.

* Colleges are quick to argue that a college education is more about enlightenment than employment. That may be the biggest deception of all.

* A 2006 study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below “proficient” levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.

Mr. Nemko also presents some inclusive, but compelling evidence that those that come from modest backgrounds and only do moderately well academically make more money then a non-college grad. The ones skewing the statistics are college grads from well off families that have tons of connections who would have made huge salaries as corporate executives yu middle- age even if they had not taken any college level course work.

Nemko might be in a state that doesn’t require it, but his push for tests to measure student success in college – like the no child left behind tests, is administered to college students in some states. Its called the CLAST. You have to take it after earning enough credits to be considered having finished sophomore level work in order to continue to junior/senior level courses. if you don’t pass, you have to retake it until you do.

Four year degrees aren’t for everyone. probably true, but I disagree that having a bachelors doesn’t have some impact on your knowledge of the world. Imagine those students who graduated and still can’t find Iraq on a map or not being able to understand credit card interest rates without a college education – would they be better off left in blissful ignorance. The associates degree with a emphasis on job skills training with some liberal arts is probably a better educational avenue for forty percent of college students, but business and society has to get over looking down, at least somewhat on those degrees. The current financial crisis might well push culture in that direction – get the job skills along with some extra history and math – then go back for the four year degree if you decide that’s what you want. I still take an occasional night class – one, just because I want to, but also because technology and business is constantly changing and it  looks like lifelong education is the only way to keep up.

foggy autumn

Workers more prone to lie in e-mail

Looking for an opportunity to explain whether a shared sense of identity reduces an e-mailer’s impulse to lie, Belkin and her colleagues set up a second, related study of 69 full-time MBA students. The results of that study indicated that the more familiar e-mailers are with each other, the less deceptive their lies would be.

Bu they would still lie, regardless of how well they identified with each other.

In recent years, researchers who have compared e-mail to other modes of communication have found it to be associated with such unattractive behaviors as lower interpersonal trust, more negative attitudes, and, perhaps most notoriously, a greater penchant for “flaming”—sending messages that are offensive, embarrassing, or rude.

But in trying to account for the difference between two communication modes that appear similar, the researchers surmise in their report that people may “feel written documents carry stronger legal consequences than do e-mails, which feel fleeting in nature, despite the fact that they are actually harder to erase or contain. Thus, deception may be viewed differently in these two environments.”

People lie more through e-mail then they do written notes, but just as remarkable Kurtzberg and Naquin said that people don’t seem to get that their non-verbal cues are not going to be understood in the e-mail. Unless you’re an exceptional e-mail writer you’re not putting in the sly smile, the look of regret or whatever. This leaves the reader lots of room for interpretation. If the receiver takes offense it also allows for an element of deceptiveness from the sender. Or the receiver can twist the phrasing around to feign offense.

final exit – a phrase left for interpretation without the picture.