Measuring the average

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Have you ever had a nagging feeling of doubt when looking at collated student surveys and test results? I sometimes think that it’s like the average patient temperature in a hospital, meaningless just because it doesn’t account for individual situations (someone could have a fever, another could be lying in a body bag). Todd Rose speaks about the same things – in fact, he has written a well-known book about it, and here is an interview with him on EdSurge  where he explains the three principles he suggests we use instead of counting averages: the “jaggedness principle” (which means that everyone has a jagged profile and cannot be reduced to a single dimension) ; the “context principle” (all data is meaningless if we don’t look at the situation); the “pathways principle” (different people will use different ways to reach the same goal, and their pace will be different as well).

Makes you rethink all those tests, doesn’t it?

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