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Google Blogger: Vietnamese HS Students Excelling At CS 291

Posted by timothy
from the pho-great-justice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."
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Google Blogger: Vietnamese HS Students Excelling At CS

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  • One data point... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:51AM (#43267657)

    ...does not prove anything.

    he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag

    OK, repeat after me: Computer science is not about programming/scripting languages. It is about the methodology and theory of developing programs, applications, and computational systems. To tell you the truth, I don't cover HTML in my computer science curriculum (and yes, Texas has a full-blown CS curriculum), mainly because CS isn't web development.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:00AM (#43267677) Homepage

    I think the the HTML reference comes from several links deep, not specifically, but topically:

    Of the two classes described, neither teaches computer science. The first teaches keyboarding and use of Microsoft applications, while the second teaches website design. While the website design course claims to teach the use of "HTML programming code," this is a misuse of the term, as HTML is a markup language rather than a programming language and requires no understanding of algorithms or program design.

    http://blog.carolynworks.com/?p=572 [carolynworks.com]

    Which was summarized in the article like this:

    Teachers often refuse to teach real CS because more often than not they don't understand it. Instead, they end up teaching word processing and website construction, while calling it CS.

    http://neil.fraser.name/news/2013/03/16/ [fraser.name]

    So essentially he's saying that US CS curriculum is so bad, students can't even do html, which actually isn't programming anyway, it's just a kind of text formatting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:11AM (#43267723)

    I've gone through Google interviews before. Their questions are rather poor for identifying any true creativity or ability to learn new things, basically just testing with CS brain teasers and annoying algorithms. eBay was even worse - their Java architect asked moronic things like "name 15 Java keywords as fast as you can" and their C++ architect intentionally focused on way-too low level concepts like how compilers constructed vtables (which having worked on compilers I knew, but given his attitude of wanting to prove candidates wrong would never choose to work with him). Apple's was a lot more balanced, and I admit I bombed one question from misunderstanding what was asked; their loss.

    But in any case I'm so glad I didn't take a job at any of those now-bloated corporate workplaces. The startup I ended up at was bought a few years ago and I had enough stock to buy a house and live very comfortably in the Bay Area. Basically at this point Google might want to focus on 17 year old Vietnamese HS students, because the real talent has better options...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:24AM (#43267767)

    Yes, it's all gone away. There's AP classes for early college credit, honors classes for people who work a little harder, normal classes for everyone, and a couple of one-on-one type classes for people with learning disabilities.

    My high school used to have shop, sewing, cooking, programming, electronics, various art classes, etc..., and a partnership with a couple local business (consider this a vocational program with a low population limit). Slowly they've almost all gone away due to budget cuts. You can't cut the core classes, so everything else goes. You do well in your classes and try to get into college. That's the only thing that's pushed. I'm 26. Soon my peers will be in positions of leadership and they won't add back different tracks. They don't remember them.

  • fake, as always (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:55AM (#43267851)

    Vietnamese here, I have read that article a few days ago in my language. It is very likely that the school selected the best students in the whole school, put them in one 'class' for the test. It's commonly accepted here to do anything so you won't "lose face" and appear better than you really are. We have a proverb for that, "Show the beauty, hide the ugly".

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday March 25, 2013 @02:27AM (#43267945) Journal

    You guys can laugh at the Vietnamese

    Go ahead, have your laugh now

    In Great Britain, they do have "computer classes" in their high schools. But do you know what they teach?

    How to use Microsoft Words

    How to make a Powerpoint Presentation

  • by TitusC3v5 (608284) on Monday March 25, 2013 @05:53AM (#43268723) Homepage
    I'm a generation behind you (I'm 29), but even when I graduated HS the curriculum had been trimmed down drastically. There were approximately two shop classes, three AP classes, and the rest was only the basic core stuff - a single foreign language (Spanish), biology, algebra, trig, geometry, typing/basic CIS, and a smattering of other subjects.

    No psychology, no philosophy, no non-latin foreign languages, no math beyond pre-calculus (which was what we had labeled as AP Calculus), and even chemistry was missing from the curriculum. Granted, it's a school in a poor rural area, but there are a lot of poor rural areas in the US.

    Words can't express how far behind I felt when I finally hit university, despite graduating at the top of my class in HS with the most difficult curriculum I was able to piece together from the meager offerings.

    Education is heavily touted during election season, but unfortunately it's the first thing sent to the chopping block when budgets are tight.

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