ST misleads with statistics, propaganda

Posted on 14 November 2012

The Straits Times thought it could fudge the numbers. But fails.

Here is The Straits Times feel-good headline on Nov. 13, 2012 front page: 4 in 10 at top primary schools live in HDB flats.

Wow! More good news from The Straits Times.

Sounds really good, doesn’t it?

The message? Even if you stay in a HDB dwelling, you can make it to the top schools.

Well, everyone ought to know that this is propaganda.

Because if you know the base rate, this headline — in reality — reflects poorly on those staying in HDB flats.

So what is the base rate: Very roughly, about 80 percent of the population reside in HDB flats. Only about 20 percent reside in private residences.

Therefore, if 4 in 10 at top primary schools live in HDB flats, that means 6 in 10 at top primary schools live in private residences.

It goes to show that more kids at top schools come from a smaller pool of the total population.

The question then is: Why didn’t ST present the statistics as such? Is this really hard to represent graphically?

In the same article, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat is quoted based on his written reply in parliament that this 4 in 10 figure “broadly reflects the mix of residential housing in the vicinity of these (top) schools”.

Can you see what’s so wrong about this? Well, even if you can’t it’s ok. We can just go straight to the conclusion.

Conclusion: There is a class divide that even the education system cannot heal. The end.

You should know that this is the real headline and story that ST avoided reporting on.

This post was written by:

- who has written 2589 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • sad

    aren’t you suppose to satire…
    This is sad… not funny….

  • http://twitter.com/zunamondin Ken Chew

    Maybe more children of school-going age live on private property. Or maybe, any school near private property benefits from tuition-going kids and thus becomes a ‘better’ school since its students produce better grades. There isn’t enough information from ST, and you’re making it worse by working with that lack of information.

    • KD

      I do not understand the point of this report, shouldn’t
      every school be a good school like MOE says. Looking at where majority of the
      “top” primary school
      or even secondary school or JC is located isn’t it weird that so many of them
      are congregating at the same area? Living in HDB does not mean one is poor,
      sometime people live in HDB while they rent out their private properties. The
      thing to look at its the net worth or the annual income of the parents of the
      students studying at these school and compared it to national established figures.

      Regarding sampling: Not all samples is representative of the population when
      the data variable is skewed in the first place. This sort of data is susceptible
      to type 1 error. The data represented by ST in statistical terms indicate
      nothing and yet amazingly they can still generate a report out of it.

  • dave

    Hey stupid shit. Its based on six primary schools not all the schools. moron. Should all the six schools be completely representative of the whole population? did you go to university?

    • ukulele

      Be cool & decompress , it about the feel good head line , i think ” You have miss by a mile” In a pique , with a style / have a nice day

    • New Nation

      Have you heard of sampling size, slow wank?

      • dave

        No moron. You are completely missing the point. Go read up Stats 101.

        Its six schools. They are located near private estates, except for Tao Nan which is in Marine Parade . Earlier phases are linked to alumni and location of residences, so obviously you would get a skewed sample.

        No wait, I bet you didn’t know that. Cos you er don’t bother to do background checks?

        GG and try again/

      • conradchek

        Erm, neber read second paragraph ah? Or is second paragraph considered “hiding” and “fudging”. Must make big big pie chart like new nation is it or else people cannot understand?

        As a side note: I appreciate the need to retaliate to name calling with name calling of your own. Always good to be the bigger man. But isn’t a slow wank quite a good thing? You don’t really need it to be fast unless you are still living with your parents. Wouldn’t it be more cutting to call him a fast wank? (Just a thought, but since this bit is in a second paragraph, you probably didn’t read it.)

    • youngupstart

      If it’s based on “all” schools, then “top” is pretty irrelevant and the statistic pointless. #justsaying

    • PAP lover

      Why are you calling the minister stupid shit for citing this study?

  • cheese

    The article also said that 35% of people who live in the designated planning areas for those schools lived in HDB flats….so it’s skewed, but not that much.

  • Gary Lum

    So how many top primary schools are there and how many are located near private estates/bungalows?

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  • ovaltine

    In the same article, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat is quoted based on his written reply in parliament that this 4 in 10 figure “broadly reflects the mix of residential housing in the vicinity of these (top) schools”.

    That’s directly interpreting the stats. The statistics show that at schools surrounded by private estates, a larger proportion of students live in private housing as compared to national averages. With the way primary school slots are allocated, it’s no real surprise.

    Really strange conclusions drawn by this author.

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