Computer education lags in schools, survey finds


This is a typical report of a survey which leaves unanswered many questions that the statistically literate would like to ask.

How was the poll conducted? Since the article refers to 'readers' one suspects this is a voluntary response poll that readers send in if they are sufficiently motivated to do so.

How were the questions composed? Were they slanted to a view consistent with the philosophy of the Computer Living magazine? Ninety four percent supporting a motherhood question like, "Should schools offer more computer courses?", is not surprising for readers interested enough to buy Computer Living. 'One of the respondents' sounds more like a supposed learned expert (perhaps a real one could not be found) and we must ask what evidence can by given in support of the statement.

The comments of the NSW minister are not at all surprising although one might ask for a confirmation of her judgment that NSW is leading the country - and whether this is still sufficient funding to meet education needs. It is surprising (or perhaps worrying) that so much space in a newspaper is devoted to such an unreliable survey. The headline itself is disturbing in that 'survey finds' seems to lend credibility to the rest of the headline.

Students, regardless of their personal views on the topic, should be very sceptical of this report.


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