Thursday, April 17, 2008

We students is dumb?

My friend Alicia wrote on my Facebook wall today:

I sincerely hope there will be some sort of GW blogspot entry about the "GW has less intelligent students" hatchet story. Worst. Headline. Ever.

I couldn't agree more. While the headline is actually "Intelligent students decrease," problems still remain:

1. The headline does not tell anything about the story - the headline has nothing to do with the decline of National Merit students at GW or the allocation of scholarships and resources for more advanced students, which is what the story is about.

2. The headline is misleading - fewer National Merit students doesn't mean fewer intelligent students. As one professor once put it in one of my classes, having an advanced degree doesn't necessarily mean you're smarter than someone who doesn't. The same principle applies - quantifying the "intelligence" of a college student by a test is inaccurate and, well, unintelligent.

3. The headline paints GW in a bad light - while I know it isn't The Hatchet's job to defend the school, and while I recognize the subject was a necessary and important one to cover, is that really the headline we want prospective students to see when they come for April visits?

Granted, this is all a matter of semantics. But still, perhaps a better choice of words would have been, "Fewer National Merit students coming to GW," or "Does GW value smart students?" Both of these address the topic of the article, and are truthful, without making it seem that GW students are growing stupider by the year.

PS - Alicia, who suggested I blog about this, is studying abroad in Prague, which just goes to show how these perceptions and critiques don't stop at the boundaries of campus.

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