Unintentional ease

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The most interesting thing I learned today was that the GRE vocabulary section produces bi-modal results for most French students. The GRE is a computer-adaptive test; it gets harder or easier based on how well you've done. It's meant to more accurately measure ability if fewer questions by reducing the number of very easy or very hard questions for each test taker (in other words, it reduces the questions that a student is almost certainly going to get right or almost certainly going to get wrong).

What my co-founder Nicolas said, though, is that the first few questions were relatively hard for French speakers, but then got progressively easier if they did well. The esoteric vocabulary words with obscure latin roots were just part of his normal French vocabulary! But, if he got the first few questions wrong, the test fed him progressively shorter, and generally Saxon words that were unfamiliar.

Probably not what the test-makers had in mind.


Eva November 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM  

Your cofounder? What are you working on? :)

Steve Davis November 22, 2010 at 9:40 AM  

Yeah! I joined these guys who are working on making cruises easier to book online. Its called Cruisewise. We're a little ways from launch still, but the minimalist site is at http://www.cruisewise.com .

The guys I'm working with are very good and I'm excited about it. On top of it, we got a grant from the Chilean government and are down in Santiago through the end of the year. Pretty exciting stuff.

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