Thursday, December 3, 2009

In which I talk like a dork about math for a bit

So, those of you who know me know that I am a tricksy hobbit who landed my man by being a creative writing major and never talking about the maths in front of him until I had him locked down in holy matrimony and being Catholic he can't leave me now that he knows I know what a regression line is. You might also know that being a better at math than a history major is hardly a feather in my cap, particularly when you throw in the fact that the whole "mental math" thing so eludes me that I tend to go into panic attacks over calculating the tip for the delivery driver and just start throwing wads of cash at him until he runs away. Which is pretty much not until I'm out of money and start throwing cats instead.

Well, anyway, I'm all up in this PhD shiz now, as the kids are saying, and so far it's been really disappointing what with spending most of my time editing Theory of Action documents and interview protocols, and I was starting to think that having that Dr. before my name was going to result in me having to talk to people and squishy things like that, when all of a sudden today I got to meet with the student achievement data subteam, which is one person plus me, and this one person introduced me to a whole new level of awesomeness in data, which is being called HLM. Okay, so I knew about HLM before this, and in fact learning it might have been my major motivation for going back to school, but nonetheless it was pretty awesomely eye-opening what with the gammas and the random effects and the students nested within teachers, which is a really cute metaphor at the Kindergarten level and somewhat more disturbing when you apply it to high schoolers.

So, the point in the end is that a simple thing like a beta coefficient can really brighten my day, which is dorky beyond all measure, and also, in a deeper way, truly awesome.



  1. I'm going to see if I can get a deliver job in Nashville.

  2. YAY!!! You are my hero! You do the maths I dream of.

  3. Shine: That seems like a good idea until you realize I'm serious about the cats. And they're very sharp.

    Hedgehog: Once I learn all the equationy goodness behind this, maybe I'll teach you!