EDEV_507 Week 4_1

Thanks for introducing a sense of levity into this week’s discussion. You titled the file upload ‘W’s attractiveness paper’. This seems to me to be a comment on your own attractiveness, but without a photo of you in a bikini, it’s hard to say.

In essence, the core argument of the paper (Lui & Tomasi, 2015) is that attractiveness leads to better learning. This should not be surprising. Attractiveness correlates with good health, and that is often the result of generations of stable familial financial strength. Aside from the occasional genetic quirk that sees an attractive individual spring from an impoverished family (and the corollary, an ugly rich kid), most attractive people are the result of intergenerational breeding. Furthermore, societal standards of beauty are often linked to the body and face types of the wealthier classes. Also, access to good nutrition over generations is correlated with access to education. The wealthy stay rich and beautiful at the same time. In other words, the Lui and Tomasi are tapping into what is now considered a very un-political correct, anti-democratic yet probably sociological true sentiment.

If they had made this argument, their paper would have been so much more satisfying—and challenging. Instead, they relied on some quite dubious operationalisations of their core constructs. I won’t expand on the details, but instead expand Wolfgang’s “inarguably arguable” (Aman, 2016) to include a question mark on the very premise of the paper itself: for without any information about actual learning outcomes, Lui and Tomasi’s work must necessarily remain in the realm of subjectivity. Subjectivity can have merit, but with the key evaluating statistic missing, much is dubious.

Unlike W, I wonder about the sample size. Overall, an N of 122 suggests that readers can have confidence, but the breakdown reveals that the youngest group is only n=20, a small sample at best. Also I am at a loss to know what the Cronbach’ alpha figures mean in the description of each measure. (I do, of course, know about Cronbach’s alpha as a reliability measure, but in this case, it is just appended to the end of a paragraph with no explanation.) Moreover, some of the terminology was confusing. Does the ‘M’ in ‘Mhigh=4.427’ mean ‘motivation’ or ‘mean’? (It is ‘mean’, but I found that information after reading the table and locating the 4.427 figure.)


Amann, W. (2016, October 30). RE: Week 4 – Quantitative data analysis. Message posted to https://elearning.uol.ohecampus.com/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?

Liu, J., & Tomasi, S. D. (2015). The effect of professor’s attractiveness on distance learning students. Journal Of Educators Online, 12(2), 142-165.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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