Friday, May 11, 2007

The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall of American Society

This is pretty funny, and worth a full read:

The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society, by Mike Adams, Biology Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, The Connecticut Review, 1990: It has long been theorized that the week prior to an exam is an extremely dangerous time for the relatives of college students. [...]

The basic problem can be stated very simply: A student's grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam, than at any other time of year. [...]

The results presented in this report provide a chilling picture and should waken the profession and the general public to a serious health and sociological problem before it is too late.

As can be seen in Table 1, when no exam is imminent the family death rate per 100 students (FDR) is low and is not related to the student's grade in the class. The effect of an upcoming exam is unambiguous. The mean FDR jumps from 0.054 with no exam, to 0.574 with a mid-term, and to 1.042 with a final, representing increases of 10 fold and 19 fold respectively. Figure 1 shows that the changes are strongly grade dependent, with correlation coefficients of 0.974 for mid-terms and 0.988 for finals. Overall, a student who is failing a class and has a final coming up is more than 50 times more likely to lose a family member than an A student not facing any exams...

Via Economist's View


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Can't make the link work, but I am dubious that people know when or if their grandchildren are having tests etc.

May 13, 2007 3:36 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

It's a joke.

Link works for me; dunno the problem.

May 15, 2007 11:16 PM  

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