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As It Turns Out, Oklahoma High School Students Aren’t That Dumb After All

by @ 6:27 pm on November 10, 2009. Filed under Education

Back in September, I wrote about what seemed like a rather depressing survey contending that, among other things, only 11% of surveyed Oklahoma high school students knew who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Well, it turns out that may not have been all that accurate:

Oklahoma State Representative Ed] Cannaday therefore had little difficulty setting up an experiment: he arranged to have all the seniors in the 10 secondary schools in his district take the Strategic Vision/OCPA survey. Cannaday tried to replicate the Strategic Vision survey to the greatest extent possible. The same exact questions were used, and as in the case of the original survey, the answers were open-ended rather than multiple choice. The survey was administered to a total of 325 seniors, including special education students.

Cannaday’s survey however, found his students doing just fine: They answered an average of 7.8 out of the 10 questions correctly. By comparison, the high school students that were purportedly surveyed by Strategic Vision had gotten just 2.8 out of the items correct. 98 percent of the students on Cannaday’s survey — not 23 percent — knew that George Washington was the first President. 81 percent — not 14 percent — knew that Thomas Jefferson had written the Declaration of Independence. 95 percent — not 43 percent — knew that the Democrats and Republicans are the major political parties. There was just no comparison between the two.

[...]

There is no reason to think, in other words, that the students in House District 15 should have gotten such profoundly superior results to the “students” in Strategic Vision’s survey. Nor could Strategic Vision’s results have been the result of any sort of mathematical or methodological oddity. Consider their claim that literally none of the 1,000 students they surveyed were able to answer more than 7 of the 10 questions correctly — lower than the average score achieved in Cannaday’s test.

There are, rather, only two possibilities. Either the Strategic Vision survey was entirely fabricated — or Cannaday’s was.

I would put every dollar to my name on Cannaday, who has kept the surveys and is happy to show them to them to anyone who comes asking.

This comes from Nate Silver who has been uncovering anomalies bordering on fraud with regard to Strategic Vision’s polling practices.

So, the next time you see a poll like this, consider the source.

H/T: Alex Knapp

One Response to “As It Turns Out, Oklahoma High School Students Aren’t That Dumb After All”

  1. John says:

    Great results from the survey.

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