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    #196479 - 07/15/14 05:08 AM How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent
    By BENEDICT CAREY
    New York Times
    JULY 14, 2014

    Quote:
    The value-of-practice debate has reached a stalemate. In a landmark 1993 study of musicians, a research team led by K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist now at Florida State University, found that practice time explained almost all the difference (about 80 percent) between elite performers and committed amateurs. The finding rippled quickly through the popular culture, perhaps most visibly as the apparent inspiration for the “10,000-hour rule” in Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling “Outliers” — a rough average of the amount of practice time required for expert performance.

    The new paper, the most comprehensive review of relevant research to date, comes to a different conclusion. Compiling results from 88 studies across a wide range of skills, it estimates that practice time explains about 20 percent to 25 percent of the difference in performance in music, sports and games like chess. In academics, the number is much lower — 4 percent — in part because it’s hard to assess the effect of previous knowledge, the authors wrote.

    “We found that, yes, practice is important, and of course it’s absolutely necessary to achieve expertise,” said Zach Hambrick, a psychologist at Michigan State University and a co-author of the paper, with Brooke Macnamara, now at Case Western Reserve University, and Frederick Oswald of Rice University. “But it’s not as important as many people have been saying” compared to inborn gifts.

    Here is the paper being discussed:

    Deliberate Practice and Performance in M...A Meta-Analysis
    Quote:
    Abstract
    More than 20 years ago, researchers proposed that individual differences in performance in such domains as music, sports, and games largely reflect individual differences in amount of deliberate practice, which was defined as engagement in structured activities created specifically to improve performance in a domain. This view is a frequent topic of popular-science writing—but is it supported by empirical evidence? To answer this question, we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated. We found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.

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    #196481 - 07/15/14 07:43 AM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    Quote:
    To answer this question, we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated. We found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.
    Unfortunately what is true, and what is true in a particular classroom/school/district may be two different things. Some parents may be aware of schools in which specific practice programs are being implemented and tested with messaging that it is a foregone conclusion that these programs will succeed.

    The performance of children in the practice programs may be compared with that of a control group. The control group may consist of children who were eligible for the practice program but declined to participate. The control group may consist of children identified as gifted, who may then be actively and systematically thwarted and dissuaded from achieving their goals*.

    Therefore some schools may report that they've changed their culture to one in which the average student outperforms the gifted student due to practice-practice-practice, as evidenced by higher GPA*, higher rates of induction into national honor society*, and other elements which the school may control*. What may be lacking is corraborating outside evidence such as commensurately high performance on SAT/ACT/AP exams, and similar noteworthy involvement in other outside activities.

    * How might children identified as gifted be actively and systematically thwarted from achieving their goals?
    Teachers/schools/districts may thwart students identified as gifted by impacting GPA, withholding in-school opportunities, and being negative and discouraging during required college-planning sessions with an assigned guidance counselor. These incidents may encourage underachievement, and a fixed mindset.

    * How may a school impact GPA?
    A school may impact GPA through differentiated task demands which are not transparent or reported; They are secret, making it appear that students had disparate performance on identical tasks, with identical task demands. Specifically, students identified as gifted may receive tremendously more difficult and/or time consuming task demands with more constraints than what is assigned to "average" students in the practice group.

    * How may a school impact induction into national honor society?
    According to the NHS website, students with qualifying GPA are not automatically admitted; schools may engage in a selection process. Criteria may not be transparent, or may be nebulous.

    * What other elements may a school control?
    Other elements which a school may control include granting or withholding the nomination of a student for in-school leadership opportunities and scholarships, information placed on the permanent educational record of the student on a shared database, and the writing or withholding of a recommendation letter for a student, as well as the tone of a recommendation letter which may range from whole-hearted endorsement to lukewarm or even grudging acknowledgement of a student's accomplishments.


    The roundup of practices described in this post may be an example of closing an achievement gap or excellence gap by capping growth of the students at the top, utilizing policies which lack transparency. Some may view this as a positive means of achieving equal outcomes for all, while others may find this to be a war on gifted. This article about tulips and poppies has been around for over a decade; the situation is prevalent. When gifted students face these or similar no-win circumstances, and changing schools may not be an option, what are some possible strategies to provide an antidote or counter-balance? Some families have found that maintaining a growth mindset, engaging in outside activities, participating in academic courses from colleges or other providers, and substantiating knowledge with SAT/ACT/AP exams may acknowledge developed gifts and talents, and work to minimize the message from a high school or district intent on stating that its average students outperform students identified as gifted.

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    #197374 - 07/29/14 01:08 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1528
    You can never be great without practice. You can be very, very good with practice. But you cannot be great without talent.
    That David & Goliath book talks about how MG kids who hot house themselves into a top school have a nervous breakdown in the first year because they find themselves with the uber smart and everything is going so fast, other kids get it fast and they are out of their league. I know one such kid. Got into Princeton and by January had to take year off, wasn't going to class. Back at Princeton after a year but with an easier course load.

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    #197380 - 07/29/14 02:33 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Wren]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Really, it's pretty obvious that talented people in any field learn faster and go farther than their average peers.

    I suspect that a lot of our society's romantic ideas about education and success stem from changes in our economy that leave many people behind. Western society is becoming increasingly technological, and if you want to get a decent job, you have to have a decent amount of education. Many of the skilled and semi-skilled jobs have gone overseas, and salaries for many of the ones that remain behind haven't kept pace with their levels forty years ago.

    So if you pretend that practice is far more important than talent, you can tell people that they have more control over their futures than they actually do.

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    #197381 - 07/29/14 02:43 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Wren]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    That David & Goliath book talks about how MG kids who hot house themselves into a top school have a nervous breakdown in the first year because they find themselves with the uber smart and everything is going so fast, other kids get it fast and they are out of their league. I know one such kid. Got into Princeton and by January had to take year off, wasn't going to class. Back at Princeton after a year but with an easier course load.


    I call shenanigans!

    You don't have to attend class at Princeton.

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    #197383 - 07/29/14 03:45 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Val]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1528
    Originally Posted By: Val
    Really, it's pretty obvious that talented people in any field learn faster and go farther than their average peers.

    I suspect that a lot of our society's romantic ideas about education and success stem from changes in our economy that leave many people behind. Western society is becoming increasingly technological, and if you want to get a decent job, you have to have a decent amount of education. Many of the skilled and semi-skilled jobs have gone overseas, and salaries for many of the ones that remain behind haven't kept pace with their levels forty years ago.

    So if you pretend that practice is far more important than talent, you can tell people that they have more control over their futures than they actually do.



    But the problem is, what do you do with average people? No one wants to pay 2X or 3X for goods they buy from China.

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    #197384 - 07/29/14 03:47 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: JonLaw]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1528
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    That David & Goliath book talks about how MG kids who hot house themselves into a top school have a nervous breakdown in the first year because they find themselves with the uber smart and everything is going so fast, other kids get it fast and they are out of their league. I know one such kid. Got into Princeton and by January had to take year off, wasn't going to class. Back at Princeton after a year but with an easier course load.


    I call shenanigans!

    You don't have to attend class at Princeton.


    Maybe not for the uber brilliant.

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    #197386 - 07/29/14 03:52 PM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1528
    I finally watched The Social Network. Then I read up on it. This guy was a brilliant computer guy but he really stole the idea from those other guys who sued and got a bunch of stock and 20 mil.
    And he knew that he was stealing it because he led them on until he could launch before they found another techie.

    And then Sean Parker played him and took out the cofounder. So much for 10,000 hours or talent or opportunity. These guys were ruthless. 20 years old and ripping people off. And now they are billionaires.

    Off topic but just had time to see it, and it is a little related to the topic.

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    #197635 - 08/02/14 07:26 AM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Val]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    Quote:
    Really, it's pretty obvious that talented people in any field learn faster and go farther than their average peers.
    This may be true in a system which measures above ceilings and does not regard all who've achieved proficiency as having the same skill and ability.

    Quote:
    if you pretend that practice is far more important than talent, you can tell people that they have more control over their futures than they actually do.
    It may be that control resides with the particular system of measurements and rewards which is in place. The system can either reward talent or practice. The system is changing. Differentiation in task demands (as opposed to differentiation in instruction, curriculum, and pacing) for gifted pupils may be a part of changing the system. Parents may be wise to question differentiated task demands, not embrace them.

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    #197898 - 08/05/14 10:45 AM Re: How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent [Re: Bostonian]
    uppervalley Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/24/12
    Posts: 36
    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Practice may be very correlated with success at piano. But if talented people practice more (and untalented people, like me, quit, and semi-talented people become "committed amateurs"), then the correlation between success and practice is partly caused by the correlation between practice and talent.

    Practice and talent may be less correlated in other fields. Chess may be more enjoyable even if you are only semi-talented. So the practice-success correlation may be lower, even if the causal effects of practice and talent are the same.

    If you want to figure out the causal effects of practice and talent, you need a natural experiment that causes one to vary but not the other.

    This is a very basic social science point, and yet it is amazing how much "research" gets published that blatantly ignores it. Enough to fill many many Malcolm Gladwell books.

    (And as mentioned, the effects of practice and talent are likely complementary, adding further complexity that the simple correlative studies ignore).

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