Re: authenticity

Darlene Sybert (c557506@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 10:45:12 -0500

On Fri, 23 Aug 1996, Nick Carbone wrote:
> researcher Karen Arnold found after tracking 46 women and 35 men who were
> the top of their high school classes when they graduated in 1981. By age
32, few
> of the valecdictorians, Arnold found, had turned out to be outstanding in
> their fields or had taken unconventional paths. "They're extremely

Doesn't sound like a very conclusive sampling to me: 81 valedictorians of
all the thousands that graduate each year and all from one year? Were
they all from the same geographic area or how WERE they chosen?

1981 graduates, of course would be only about 33 years old--and if they
secured graduate degrees, they would have only been in the job market
for two or three years. Even if they only got a BA, that's less than
ten years to succeed. Can we really
decide when a person is 33 if they are successful in their
career? and as to the women who dropped out of the career rat race to
have a family, my intuition (or something) tells me they'll be back
pursuing careers in a few years when those children are settled in
jr. hi. Just seems to me like conclusions based on faulty premises:

if 81 high school valedictorians aren't a professional success in 15 years,
that proves there is no correlation between high grades in school and
success as a professional. Pretty shaky...

Your post and the book you speak of seem to assume that the
objective of all validictoians is to become a professional. You
know the reason they made those good grades in high school was
because something motivated them to do so. If a person doesn't WANT
to be a doctor, lawyer, merchant or chief, then not becoming one can
not be a measure of failure.

and, after all is said and done, grades are a measure of
PAST achievement not a prophecy or promise of future success, aren't
they? Because if we are supposed to be giving grades on the basis of how
successful we think students will be in their after-life, that changes a
lot of things...

Darlene Sybert
University of Missouri at Columbia (English)