Smooth vs. Jagged

Submitted By:
Ted Graf, Headwaters School, Austin TX

The End of Average
by Todd Rose
HarperCollins, January 19, 2016

As our schools become more adept at using data, The End of Average lends a cautionary voice to the conversation. Interestingly, the data, when we really look at it, makes a compelling case for being more aware and accepting of each individual’s “jaggedness.” As Rose writes, “When we are able to appreciate the jaggedness of other people’s talents -- the jagged profile our children, our employees, our students -- we are more likely to recognize their untapped potential.” In short, The End of Average makes a powerful plea for us to be intentional and thoughtful as we use data and consider each individual child in our care. Additionally, by presenting powerful cases -- like the design of cockpits -- Rose asks us to challenge and question the notion and efficacy of “average.” Rose’s own story about his education, intricately woven into the book, is both familiar and inspiring, driving home the notion that designing systems for the “average” person leads such systems to fit no one. As we wrestle with how to measure our schools’ effectiveness and work hard to reach each student, The End of Average is an important book that deserves our attention.

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