Monday, October 24, 2011

Self-Efficacy and the GED

This really happened.  Last week.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, my institution is going through some tough times, both philosophically and practically.  It's been a rough place to be as of late.

I recently told my wife, "I'm tired of this drama.  I'm going to resign my position and go get that PhD in Psychology that I've always wanted and be a psychologist."  I wanted to get my new name.

So I found a few of the premiere clinical psychology PhD programs in the country and I sent inquiry emails.  My main inquiry was that each of the programs required the GRE for admission.  Three important things about the GRE.  One, the GRE is an exam that is designed to gauge one's ability to do graduate level work.  I was hoping that by having a research PhD from a Research I institution, I would have already answered that question without some dumb exam.  Second,  I took the GRE around 10 years ago.  I didn't knock it out of the park, but I did enough to get into the program that I wanted.  Thus, I was hoping to bypass the 5-year requirement that states that only GRE scores taken within the past five-years are valid.  

Third, who remembers what in the world the Pythagorean Theorem is?  

In short, all of the programs said no.  I had to retake the GRE exam to be considered.

How lame, eh?

In talking through my dilemma with a colleague, he noted that he had taken it for fun a few years ago and received a score of 1400.  Naturally I believe that I was far smarter than he so I took a mini-practice exam.  As to be expected, I did very well on the verbal and tanked the math portion. In an effort to sharpen up my math skills, I googled "GRE math practice exam" and took the first exam that came up.

Ten questions.  I got 2 out of 10 correct and I guessed on one of them.  So for the sake of full disclosure, I received a 10%.


All day that bugged me.  Could I really be so dumb as to only get one right?  It says right on the exam that the math is high school level.  This gnawed and gnawed at me.

So that night, I googled GRE math practice exam again, determined to do better.

This time, the exam had 25 questions and I received a score of 72%.

And while still not great, it was an improvement of more than 60% - not too bad!

And then I realized that when I googled "GRE math practice exam" I had not registered the "R" while typing.  I had googled "GE math practice exam."  Naturally, it had given me a GED math practice exam. GED as in "I dropped out of highschool and I want a diploma."

I got a 72% on a practice high school math exam designed for dropouts.

Let that wash over you and you might be able to register a sliver of the shame I currently feel.

So...Educationalist it is.

~ Listening to silence.