Monday, January 10, 2011

Actual learning first, class average second

Recently I have had a conversation about class averages on a standardized exam.  The conversation made me remember a story I once read:

John was interviewed for job at a factory were the management consisted of Dave, his brother, and 6 relatives. The workforce consisted of 5 foremen, and 10 workers. Dave informed John that the pay was well here, with an average salary of $600 per week. After one week of work, John was upset as he only was paid $200. John stormed into Daves office, and accused Dave of lying. Dave, the magical mathematician, explained "Every week I get $4800, my brother gets $2000, my six relatives make $500, each foreman gets $400, and the ten workers get $200. Averaging to a salary of $600 per week."

Unless, we talk about mean, median, and mode, the AVERAGE, can be meaningless.

Also, what should be more important, the learning in the class or the class average?  When we start worrying about the marks students receive on an exam or diploma we lose sight of our actual goal.  Teaching to the test, inflating grades, or manipulating assessment practices is what teachers start to do, while changing pedagogy should be the answer.  The bottom line, however, class average should not be a concern to a teacher, where actual learning should be the first priority. 


  1. Please do not post any comments that Dave does not agree with or are off topic. He will immediately ban you and remove your comment-- just like in Nazi Germany. Maybe we should just ban all discussion of anything accept what what the 'party line' wants. The world would be much better off--don't you think?? Freedom of speech shall live or we will all perish.

  2. I would NEVER delete any post that I don't agree with, in fact I applaud anyone for disagreeing with me. This way I can extend my knowledge to other venues of education. I will, however, delete any comment that is OFF TOPIC from an educational sense. I would like to keep the comments to an Educational focus.

  3. If you want serious dialogue, talk about serious issues. If you want entertainment- It's what you are providing. If you want change see the big picture. Schools were designed for a purpose- To 'teach' the useless eaters not to think too much and it looks like you are the star of the class. Unless you attack the heart of the problem everything else is entertainment. Where would we be if Einstein, Voltair, and Mises all spent there genius on making "Dances with the Stars" the best TV show ever. It would probably be awesome, but who cares- DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN LIFE.
    That is what you are doing- It's a broken system, don't pretend to be an idealist who provide's wisdom. You are an entertainer- and that is fine- just realize it.