The Average Student Doesn’t Exist

Temperatures Around the World – A Good Use of Average

Comparing average temperatures from around the world is useful if you want to compare this single attribute. It works because you are comparing a single entity across a large sample size.

The Average Student is a Myth

However, if you want to compare a particular student’s achievement against an average student, this is NOT very useful. Most importantly because of the complexity that makes up success. And because of this complexity, I argue that there really is no ‘average student’. Take a look at the chart to the right as an example. Comparing a single measure like knowledge or reading doesn’t take into account the entire learning profile. Each student is unique — each one with strengths and challenges.

The complex world of learning can’t be quantified by a simple average. There are think-tanks and critics who are quick to jump to a single measure to find a story that says we’re not succeeding or using a measure to compare one school against another. They use singular events like a one time FSA score or a provincial exam grade to compare students or schools against each other to make an argument about our educational demise.

Averages just don’t work that way.

What if Schools Didn’t Have Walls?

Sounds like a nice idea if we had great weather 365.

learning in nature.jpg
Not all great learning happens inside a classroom

I was actually asked this question during an interview a few years ago.  At first, I wasn’t sure where to go with it.  What did he mean ‘schools without walls’?  What’s holding up the roof?  What was he really asking me?

The Left-Handed Advantage

Being a southpaw, I loved writing this particular post. I had a smile on my face the entire time, so be warned — I’m riding a wave of superiority at the moment.

As great as left-handed people are — we have suffered in silence for a very long time. While we make up about 10% of the general population the world has been constructed for ‘righties’. We have had a rough ride:

I despised these desks in university
  • Scissors — Just try using your left hand. Go ahead and try — I dare you;
  • Door knobs — made to turn to the right which is physiologically easier for righties;
  • Automobile manual transmission gear shifts — unless you’re in England, Australia or a small number of other places;
  • 3-Ring Binders — impossible for lefties to write on the right side of the rings where most lined paper is designed because our wrist is actually hooked when we write;
  • Ball-point pens — don’t work well for lefties because we push the pen rather than pull it;
  • Computer keyboard number pad — always on the right side;
  • University theatre desks (see above) – arrgh!
  • Can openers – arrgh again!
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