Fix 11: Don’t rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment
Good morning. I was feeling guilty because I wanted this done by the end of June, and darn it, it’s not looking optimistic. Oh well, good to do some professional development over the summer months. Thankfully this one is an easy one, so I will keep it short, and maybe (but don’t quote me) might even reflect on Fix 12 before 3:00. Fingers crossed.
The last time I calculated the mean for a class or a test was in 2011, and I had 62 students taking Science 10 in two blocks in Semester 1. The sample size was high; there was pretty good anonymity for top and bottom marks on the “tails” of my bell curve. Now I have 9 students taking Science 10, so mean was useless before and it is completely delusional now. Interestingly though, a sarcastic thanks MyEd, our district does it automatically for me. I don’t even look at that number at the bottom of my column of final grades; it is meaningless.
Great news, we are back to professional judgement, which is an amazing safety net for those that are wrapped up around numbers and accountability. Your doctor takes a few measurements and runs a few tests, but most of the time the doctors professional judgement had the diagnosis long before the numbers were run or the samples were sent away. You are a professional just like a doctor. Know what tests to run, and how often to run them based on the individual student. Trust your judgement, and as long as you continue to monitor the progress in your students in a timely and constructive manner you are good! Focus on the conversations with them, not having a high average or a narrow standard deviation. Students are people first, you can’t treat them like an algorithm.