Averaging Zero: Rethinking What We Measure

It's that time of year, again. Standardized test scores are in, and many teachers are reviewing grades while scrambling to make last-minute adjustments to final exams. 

With good intentions, most teachers will enter scores into grade books and use the mean to calculate a summary grade. There is nothing wrong with this approach as long as the input data have been carefully selected from assessments designed to produce accurate information. 

Averaging in this context is not necessarily damaging, unless it's the only way we determine summary grades reported on report cards. 

This TEDx  by L. Todd Rose has me thinking differently about the input data and the kinds of things we assess.