## Monday, August 13, 2007

### Why children are clueless?

With a title like "Why children are clueless" I had to read the full article in Saturday's edition of the Express, except it doesn't answer that question it instead shows how little children know about history; well maybe. Here's how they presented the results:

Only 62 per cent of those questioned knew...one in 20 didn't know...Almost a third of those questioned didn't know...13 per cent knew...10 per cent were not aware...eight per cent didn't know...97 per cent knew...Almost one in 10 didn't know... another 14 per cent didn't know.
So mixing three different measuring systems and also switching between the number of know's and don't know's - that's a good way of putting across your point in the most efficient manner.

Let's try that again shall we

62% got the first question correct;
95% got the second question right;
66%+ got the third question;
13% the forth question;
90% for the fifth;
92% the sixth;
97% the seventh;
90%+ the eighth, and;
86% the last

Rearrange and we get 97%, 95%, 92%, 90%+, 90%, 86%, 66%+, 62% and 13%. Now call me picky but other then that 13% (Where did the Romans come from?) we're above 50% for the duration. In fact we know that at least 97% answered at least one question correctly, 92% two, 84% three, 74% four, 64% five, and we only drop to the half-way point with 50% for six. Again those are the minimums. In other words at least 50% answered at least six questions correctly out of nine.

Now we'd expect a standard power-law graph for the number of questions correctly answered and hey that's pretty much what we get. So what are they on about? The only way this would be a problem would if the questions were so simple you'd expect the 8-16 year olds to be able to answer every single one correctly.

So here you go try for yourself the percentages of correct answers follow the question.
1. What were the two main countries involved in the Second World War? (62%)

1. Spain,
2. Germany,
3. Great Britain,
4. Africa

2. Who is Margaret Thatcher? [No swearing please] (95%)

1. Former Queen of England,
2. A TV Presenter,
3. The UK's first female Prime Minister,
4. A singer

3. How many wives did Henry VIII have? (66%+)

1. 3,
2. 4,
3. 6,
4. 8

4. Where did the Romans come from? (13%)

1. Ireland,
2. Italy,
3. Africa,
4. Spain

5. Where did the Vikings come from? (90%)

1. Scandinavia,
2. France,
3. Spain,
4. Africa

6. Who built the pyramids? (92%)

1. The Ancient Greeks,
2. The Romans,
3. The Egyptians,
4. The Vikings

7. What was the Great Plague? (97%)

1. A rock band,
3. A play by William Shakespeare,
4. A war during Tudor Times

8. Who is Anne Frank? (90%+) [Surely "Who was..."]

1. A pop star,
2. A Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis,
3. A queen,
4. An explorer

9. What year did Elizabeth II become Queen? (86%)

1. 1932,
2. 1952,
3. 1972,
4. 1992
1. b and c,
2. c, [although you'll be forgiven for thinking 'a']
3. c, [or 'b' if you don't agree with the second divorce or 'd' 1 if you don't agree with the first divorce]
4. b, [unless like me you thing the answer is 'e' Rome]
5. a,
6. c, [aliens not allowed]
7. b, [although it would be a good name for a band]
8. b,
9. b
So how did you do?