πŸ“‘ Learning Science: The Problem With Data, And How You Can Measure Anything

Bookmarked Learning Science: The Problem With Data, And How You Can Measure Anything (Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog)

The qualitative to quantitative switch means that you can measure anything; how you feel about breakfast, the weight of your shoes, or the validity of democracy. But it does not mean that the scale of measurement you choose, or the mechanism of measurement, is valid. So measure anything, but do it with care. And be both wary and careful of the measurements that people give you to prove a point. Especially when they are charging you for it.

Julian Stodd provides a useful introduction to quantitative and qualitative data. It is interesting to think about measurement alongside Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swans:

Now, there are other themes arising from our blindness to the Black Swan: We focus on preselected segments of the seen and generalize from it to the unseen: the error of confirmation. We fool ourselves with stories that cater to our Platonic thirst for distinct patterns: the narrative fallacy. We behave as if the Black Swan does not exist: human nature is not programmed for Black Swans. What we see is not necessarily all that is there. History hides Black Swans from us and gives us a mistaken idea about the odds of these events: this is the distortion of silent evidence. We β€œtunnel”: that is, we focus on a few well-defined sources of uncertainty, on too specific a list of Black Swans.(Page 49)

Another book on the topic of measurement and education is Counting What Counts.

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